In 2019, the border town of Chula Vista, about 15 minutes from Tijuana, became California's first " Welcoming City ," highlighting the city's financial and educational opportunities for immigrants. It's also one of the nation's most surveilled cities, where the police department uses license plate readers, drones , and body cameras to track residents and has explored facial-recognition technology. Now, those distinctions are clashing, as residents and activists accuse city leaders of "betraying" immigrant residents by permitting federal immigration authorities to access data from license plate readers. That's sparked a citywide movement questioning the city's police department, its surveillance apparatus, and its relationship with residents and immigration enforcement. Since 2015, the Chula Vista Police Department has quietly amassed surveillance tools as part of a smart city approach to policing. The city has outfitted officers with body cameras, briefly tested Clearview AI's facial-recognition software in 2019, and the same year, began a partnership with Amazon Ring, the video doorbell device that lets homeowners share footage with police. Last summer, Chula Vista police started using drones , becoming the first city in the country to join a partnership between body camera maker Axon and drone maker Skydio. The department was granted unprecedented… Read full this story
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