Reporting by DigBoston and BINJ helps delay snooping by surveillance cameras

Reporting by DigBoston and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism helped stave off a serious violation of civil liberties — at least for now.

Dan Atkinson reported on March 25 that “city officials are quietly looking to hire consultants to maintain a linked network of more than 1,000 video cameras across the Metro Boston area, with remote access shared across nine cities.”

The move came, Atkinson noted, even as Boston City Council members were pushing for greater oversight of surveillance technology.

On Friday, The Boston Globe reported that Acting Mayor Kim Janey will not move forward with the plan, though she declined to kill the proposal altogether. The Globe’s Danny McDonald quoted a Janey spokeswoman as saying that she “is directing her staff to take a fresh look at this request…. Mayor Janey remains committed to strengthening public safety, transparency and accountability for the City of Boston.”

So kudos to DigBoston, the city’s last alternative weekly, and BINJ. And if you’d like to get a better sense of how the two organizations work together, check out this story from November 2019 by Adrian Ma at WBUR.org.

The Globe’s shocking story on the Boston Police should be just the beginning

Photo (cc) 2019 by Jim.henderson

The Boston Globe’s report about a former police officer and union president accused of molesting multiple children is, to my mind, the most important and disturbing local story of at least the past several years.

According to the Globe’s Andrew Ryan, the Boston Police Department concluded in 1995 that Patrick Rose had most likely committed sexual assault against a 12-year-old boy, upholding the alleged victim’s complaint even though he ultimately decided against pressing charges. The information was covered up, and Rose went on to be accused of molesting six children between the ages of 7 and 16 — including the daughter of the original complainant.

Rose, who faces 33 criminal counts, was also allowed to respond to calls involving children who had been sexually abused. He was later elected president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.

The Globe’s shocking story should be just the beginning. Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh refused to release records that might shed light on the investigation into Rose’s behavior. If Acting Mayor Kim Janey is legally free to reverse Walsh’s decision, she should do so immediately.

And let’s hope that Ryan’s story is just the first blow. No doubt the Globe is going to push this as hard as they can. We also need an independent investigation, possibly by the federal government. It all has to come out.