Civil rights groups oppose Boston plan to comb social media

Features Associated Press

Several civil-rights groups are urging the city of Boston to withdraw a proposal to spend $1.4 million on high-tech software that would comb social media for criminal activity.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and 20 other groups sent a letter to Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans on Tuesday saying they're concerned the software would be used to target people of color. The groups say the money would be better spent on other safety programs.

The mayor's office deferred questions to the police department. Boston police Lt. Mike McCarthy said the department is still in the review process and no decisions have been made.

Evans has previously said that people of color would not be targeted and that the software could help prevent neighborhood violence and terrorism.