Oregon's Department of Justice Spied on State Residents Who Used #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter

Posted Nov. 18, 2015

MP3 Interview with Mat dos Santos, legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, conducted by Scott Harris


On Nov. 10, the Criminal Justice Division of the Oregon Department of Justice revealed that it had secretly spied on state residents who used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in their Twitter accounts. Among those surveilled was the state’s own director of civil rights, Erious Johnson.

In response to a letter signed by a number of Oregon groups, including the Urban League of Portland, the state AFL-CIO, the ACLU of Oregon and several chapters of the NAACP, Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum stated that she was shocked and appalled by the surveillance conducted by a Department of Justice investigator employed in the state's Criminal Justice division. The groups collectively expressed their outrage for what they said was "the improper, and potentially unlawful surveillance and investigations on an Oregonian merely for expressing a viewpoint, or for being a part of a social movement."

The ACLU of Oregon went further by characterizing state spying on legally protected political speech on Twitter as racial profiling, offensive and a serious threat to our democracy. Together, these progressive Oregon groups submitted a list of demands to the attorney general that included a call for an immediate halt to the surveillance, a thorough independent public investigation and an apology. The local chapter of the ACLU has filed records requests to state agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI seeking information on the extent of the surveillance, the technology used and who was profiled. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Mat dos Santos, legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, who talks about the many unanswered questions surrounding the surveillance, its motivation and the need for a full and transparent investigation into these activities

Find more information on the Oregon Department of Justice surveillance of state residents using #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter.

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