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Is the Chicago Police Department Monitoring Occupy Chicago's Cell Phone Conversations?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 7, 2011 3:15PM

Image Credit: Occupy Chicago
Occupy Chicago protesters believe the Chicago Police Department is using surveillance equipment to intercept and listen in on their cell phone conversations.

An Occupy Chicago source told Gawker:

I don't really know what authority Chicago Police Department has to listen in to random people's cell phone calls, especially since Occupy Chicago has been particularly non-violent. Has been in place for 3 days, and witnesses reported that the poleman installing the gear looked way too happy to be installing this equipment.

The relationship between Occupy Chicago and Chicago Police has been civil but guarded during the 46 days the former has protested outside the Federal Reserve Building. Police have increased their presence near the protest site on a couple of occasions and the two sides have worked together to establish a rapport.

Image Credit: Occupy Chicago
The new equipment and what Occupy Chicago says is an increased presence in unmarked police cars could undo that. On the social media side of things, reports of increased police presence have taken on a life of their own, with supporters of the movement making interactions between the police and Occupy Chicago seem more serious than they are.

The increased presence and new equipment also lead to speculation that Chicago Police are testing out surveillance equipment for next May's G8 and NATO summits, which will take over much of downtown. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and his department has already begun planning for those two events.