Technopolice: tools for fighting back surveillance cities
In 2019, the French non-profit La Quadrature du Net launched Technopolice: a collaborative campaign to raise awareness, document, investigate and fight back against so-called "smart cities": really, the application to the physical world of the privacy-invading data-collection techniques first honed online. Facial recognition, "suspicious" sounds and behaviour, gait recognition, all the way to predictive policing (which has been described as automated racial profiling) all these technologies are sold by for-profit companies to security-obsessed local governments eager to answer the sirens' call.
In ways similar to open source projects, the campaign provides tools to help anyone participate and reclaim their city, in a decentralised approach. We will look at the success the campaign has had, how people not previously involved in open source or activism have picked up the tools and used them to organise locally, and what has worked and what hasn't.