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Spying on #blacklivesmatter

Spying on #blacklivesmatter

The Oregon Department of Justice Criminal Justice Division has been using software to conduct 'threat asssessments' on user of #Blacklivesmatter

ABQ FREE PRESS STAFF REPORT

The Oregon ACLU is charging that Oregon law enforcement officials wrongfully surveilled domains using the Twitter hashtag #blacklives matter.

The ACLU complained in a letter sent yesterday to Oregon Department of Justice that it is “improper, and potentially unlawful” for law enforcement officials to spy on people for expressing a political viewpoint.

“As recounted by our colleague, Urban League of Portland President Nkenge Harmon Johnson, and other sources, two weeks ago, her husband, the Director of Civil Rights for Oregon Department of Justice, Erious Johnson, was called to your office,” the Oregon ACLU wrote.

“At that meeting, it was revealed that the Oregon Department of Justice Criminal Justice Division has been using software to conduct “threat assessments.” The division searched the Twitter feeds of Oregonians who have used the hashtag “Black Lives Matter.”

“We are concerned that such unwarranted investigations are racially motivated, and create a chilling effect on social justice advocates, political activists and others who wish to engage in discourse about the issues of our time,” the ACLU wrote.

In the letter, the ACLU demands to know who instituted the practice, how long it has been going on, the extent of the personal information collected, and “your intentions and what has been done with this information.”

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she had no prior knowledge that an employee was monitoring the hashtag.

“I recently became aware that an employee of the Oregon DOJ Criminal Division was conducting a digital search of Twitter hashtags including #blacklivesmatter, that led him to the Twitter account of a close and trusted member of my inner circle staff, Erious Johnson Jr.,” Rosenblum wrote in a statement mailed to Oregon media.

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Sara MacNeil is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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