Activists protest police spy center

June 14, 2013
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A small group of civil liberties activists staged a protest June 1 at Boston Police headquarters against a controversial anti-terrorism intelligence center based there.

The protest followed recent articles in the Jamaica Plain Gazette and DigBoston about how the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) overlooked the alleged Boston Marathon bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but kept secret files on legal activities of local peace activists, including a 2007 anti-war event at a Jamaica Plain church. BRIC is one of many state and local “fusion centers” that have been criticized as ineffective, wasteful and dangerous to civil liberties, including by a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigation last year.

The protest at BPD headquarters in Roxbury, billed as part of the “International Day of Privacy,” was staged by Digital Fourth, a Cambridge-based organization that opposes warrantless searches of personal digital information, and MassOps, a new civil liberties activist organization affiliated with the Anonymous movement. About eight protesters showed up, with a few drivers honking as they passed and a couple of passers-by listening in. There was no obvious response from the police.

“[BRIC] was too busy spying and labeling us to pass along info on the Boston bombers. Oops,” said a MassOps activist who goes by the name Kinetic Theorist, while wearing a kerchief to mask her face and speaking next to a man dressed in a prison jumpsuit and a black hood in the style of a Guantanamo prisoner.

The protesters described a wide range of civil liberties infringements from the “War on Terror,” but focused on violations of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Speakers also mentioned infringements of the constitutional rights of free speech, free assembly and the right to bear arms.

For more information, see warrantless.org and massops.weebly.com.

Kinetic Theorist of MassOps (second from right) speaks at the June 1 protest outside police headquarters while joined by (from left) Alex Marthews of Digital Fourth, Garret Kirkland of Defend the Fourth and a protester in prison garb. (Gazette Photo by John Ruch)

Kinetic Theorist of MassOps (second from right) speaks at the June 1 protest outside police headquarters while joined by (from left) Alex Marthews of Digital Fourth, Garret Kirkland of Defend the Fourth and a protester in prison garb. (Gazette Photo by John Ruch)

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