Senators Call on DHS to Investigate Federal Funding of ShotSpotter

May 15, 2024

In a May 14 letter, Senators Ed Markey, Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Ayanna Pressley, called on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari to investigate DHS’s funding of ShotSpotter, including potential violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The letter cites EPIC’s petition to the Department of Justice (DOJ), urging DOJ to investigate potential Title VI violations in light of substantial evidence that the gunshot detection system, its deployment, and its effects raise civil rights concerns. The letter also comes amidst increasing scrutiny of federally funded surveillance technology, including recent letters from Senators on the Title VI implications of predictive policing tools and facial recognition technology.

EPIC regularly calls for increased transparency and oversight of automated decision-making and predictive policing. In September 2023, EPIC filed a petition urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate whether federal funding of acoustic gunshot detection tools, particularly ShotSpotter, complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

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