Spying on Dissent

The ability to publicly express beliefs and opinions and to associate is essential to democracy1. Protests2 are a central tool of public expression and engagement, often serving as the only avenue for advocacy seeking political, social or economic reforms. Despite the importance of protest to a free society, many states have failed to adequately protect protest and public speech. In fact, policing institutions overwhelmingly treat protests as security threats that should be discouraged and suppressed.
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