From the FBI to the NYPD to small town police departments, law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting new technologies at a rapid pace. Tools including facial recognition software, algorithmically driven hotspot policing, and social media monitoring are now common policing tools for big and small departments alike. This technology is causing on-the-ground policing practices to race ahead of law, policy, and oversight. The policy guidance that does exist is often technology-specific, use-specific, or is narrowly responsive to concerns resulting from a particular incident or controversy. This policy space lacks flexible, forward-thinking guidance that can cut across multiple technologies and operate on a more holistic level.
The Stanford-Harvard Project on Technology and Policing (PTP) was created to fill the gaps in police technology policy. PTP is a collaborative effort of Stanford Law School’s Criminal Justice Center and Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program and Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. By bringing together law enforcement, state and local officials, lawyers, activists, technologists, community groups, and academics, we hope to identify issues affecting multiple technologies and jurisdictions and generate policy guidance that will be broadly useful for a variety of agencies, technologies, and communities.