Celtics

Jaylen Brown implores public to contact representatives to help curb ‘racist surveillance’

"Often, technology misidentifies Black and brown people. We need regulation of this tech now!"

Jaylen Brown was named a Bostonian of the Year. Diana Levine for the Boston Globe

Jaylen Brown recently said he’s trying to become more engaged in the local community and help the Boston area thrive.

“I’ve been in Boston for five years, and I’m a Bostonian now in a sense,” Brown told reporters. “It’s a major time of my life I’ve spent in Boston now. I’m trying to be a part of the solutions and not the problems here.”

The 24-year-old Celtics star – who was honored earlier this month as one of six 2020 Bostonians of the Year – took action Monday night by imploring his Twitter followers to contact local representatives in support of racial justice and police accountability.

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His tweets come in response to Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to amend a police reform bill that would make major changes to law enforcement oversight. Legislators approved the 129-page bill earlier this month, and Baker has threatened to veto the bill if his recommendations are not taken up by the Legislature.

Brown believes Massachusetts has an historic opportunity to pass meaningful police reforms that limit the use of “racist surveillance” that Baker condones.

“Face surveillance is dangerous when it works and when it doesn’t,” Brown wrote. “Often, technology misidentifies Black and brown people. We need regulation of this tech now! Take a stand @speakerdeleo @KarenSpilka pass strong face surveillance regs in the police reform bill. @MassGovernor.”

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The ACLU Massachusetts supported Brown’s tweets by calling the technology racist and providing a link for people to get involved.

Baker’s amendments come in response to a larger police accountability bill. He believes facial recognition is an important tool to catch criminals, but those in opposition say the process harms people’s right to anonymity, privacy, and free speech.

“Gov. Baker’s amendments would severely weaken core racial justice provisions like regulations on face recognition technology-a dangerous, unregulated, and racially biased form of surveillance,” the ACLU wrote in a letter for those against Baker’s opinion to sign and send to state senators and representatives.

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Massachusetts would be the first state nationwide to restrict facial recognition if Baker were to accept the exact version of the reform bill, but it appears at this time that he has no intention of doing so.

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