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Bay Area Lawmakers Demand End To Government Surveillance Of Peaceful Protesters

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A group of Democratic Bay Area lawmakers were among 35 members of Congress demanding Tuesday that federal agencies stop all illegal surveillance of peaceful protesters across the United States.

A letter co-led by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) and Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) was signed by the lawmakers and addressed to the heads of the FBI, the National Guard Bureau, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection.

The letter was motivated by recent evidence and media reports indicating that the agencies made use of aircraft equipped with surveillance tools during protests that followed the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

The equipment cited in the letter includes tools that can collect cellphone location data, "Stingrays" which have the ability to collect call, text and browsing data of nearby cellular devices, various facial recognition technology, automated license plate readers, and other surveillance technology.

In the letter, the representatives expressed "deep and profound concerns" over surveillance tactics that they said "are significantly chilling the First Amendment rights of Americans."

Other Bay Area lawmakers who signed onto the letter included Reps. Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, and Jerry McNerney,


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