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Peace by Piece NOLA boosts anti-surveillance work with new staff member and fellow

Blair Minnard
Blair Minnard, AFSC Peace by Piece NOLA Program Associate
New Orleans Crime Camera Meeting
Peace by Piece and Eye on Surveillance lead meeting on crime cameras in New Orleans Photo: WDSU 6 News

Peace by Piece NOLA (PxP) has brought on full-time program associate Blair Minnard as well as David Paul Fellow Theo Thompson to expand community outreach and contribute to a coalition of anti-surveillance groups working to protect New Orleans neighborhoods.

New Orleans' Peace by Piece program (PxP) has continued to pursue sustainable alternative food sourcing in Hollygrove while helping organize opportunities through its Stop Watching NOLA campaign for community members to intervene in potential surveillance measures enacted by the City.

Stop Watching NOLA recently worked with the ACLU of Louisiana to present two community forums on crime cameras. As a result of these meetings and public forums, the Eye on Surveillance (EOS) coalition was created to focus on stopping the expansion of government surveillance tools and increase oversight of current surveillance methods; exploring evidence-based alternatives for improving public safety through community input; and protecting vulnerable communities from harm associated with government surveillance.

EOS is moving to ban the potential use of facial recognition and other pervasive monitoring technologies, creating a community oversight body for the City's surveillance practices and setting new limits on City data collection and data sharing with other agencies and private entities. The Coalition has been working with City Council members who are both for and against a new ordinance to inform the community about the details of the policy.

Leading up to a vote on the proposed ordinance this October, EOS has organized online virtual rallies and hosted phone zaps which produced hundreds of public comments to City Council in favor of the measure.

Ordinance 33,021 would put guardrails on New Orleans surveillance by:

  • Preventing the City from using four specific surveillance technologies/practices (facial recognition, cell site simulators, characteristic tracking software, predictive policing) that have been shown to disproportionately impact Black people. These technologies are not currently being used by the City. 
  • Making City Council approval the only obstacle to using most surveillance technology.
  • Requiring city entities to provide annual updates about how technology has been used.
  • Codifying the fact that the City should collect minimal personal information about residents and protect the information it does collect.
  • Adding protections for immigration status.

Supporters of the ordinance can sign up here to receive additional updates about how to fight the expansion of surveillance in New Orleans.

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