Lucy Parsons Labs spent 2018 providing critical transparency and oversight and are committed to continuing our efforts next year. We rely heavily on community donations to continue our work. The best way to support our work is to become a recurring donor in 2019. Your support has directly funded some of the work below.
In 2018, we sent over 500 public records requests. For example, we sent a request to the FBI for documents related to the infamous police commander Jon Burge who tortured hundreds of people while at the Chicago Police Department. We often have to sue for records: just last week we filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago for their “action plan” for their response to protests related to the Jason Van Dyke trial.
We also strongly believe in community outreach and education. We hosted three workshops to teach the public how to file their own public records requests. If you were unable to attend, slides are available on our website.
We joined a brief at the Illinois Supreme Court that would protect Illinois’ biometrics privacy law. We obtained a manual that described a surveillance company comparing its software to ‘broken windows’ policing. Furthermore, we were the only group in Chicago to sue for the City’s bid to lure Amazon, which would have offered Amazon billions of dollars in corporate welfare. Finally, we continue to work with our friends at the Chicago Community Bond Fund to launch their new website.
We exposed the use of Berkeley Police’s controversial tactic of posting anti-fascist protesters’ mugshots on social media, which lead to the community organizing and forcing the city to ban the practice. We organized with community groups to halt a bill that would have given police in Illinois warrantless surveillance powers with drones. Finally, we joined the community to offer a free digital security training at the Chicago Public Library, in addition to running several other digital security training events around Chicago.
We wrote about about a CIA-backed firm pitching social media surveillance of students to Evanston Police. We exposed Evanston Police Department’s secret drone policies in a city that had previously banned drones. And we described an Israeli lobbying group who monitors the far-right online with a history of monitoring left-wing groups.
(Image credit: Rachel Clarke.)