Mar 28 • 37M

Mapping Surveillance in Border Communities: A Conversation with Dave Maass

The U.S. government is doubling down on surveillance, but residents have little input or idea of how it impacts their privacy. Maass talks about EFF's new project to map the "virtual wall."

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Melissa del Bosque
The Border Chronicle podcast is hosted by Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller. Based in Tucson, Arizona, longtime journalists Melissa and Todd speak with fascinating fronterizos, community leaders, activists, artists and more at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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Dave Maass, director of investigations for EFF, at the border wall in Tijuana. (Photo courtesy of EFF)

The U.S. government is doubling down and expanding its surveillance technology in border communities. But many residents don’t know the extent to which they’re being watched, given that the government rarely seeks their input.


This month, the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation released new data and an interactive map of surveillance towers, which are part of the “virtual wall.” Melissa speaks with Dave Maass, EFF’s director of investigations, about his organization’s mapping and data project, which tracks the proliferation of surveillance tech at the southern border.

Contrary to public perception, the majority of these surveillance towers aren’t in the middle of nowhere, says Maass. “We hope to provide the evidence that really undermines that myth,” he says of the new project. “Many of [these towers] are in urban areas, residential communities and in the middle of public parks.”

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