Making the Super Bowl Super Authoritarian

by | Feb 2, 2016

Downtown San Francsco 11 Days Before Super Bowl – photo: Target Liberty

After months of preparation, national, state, and local police have rolled out a comprehensive mass surveillance effort in the San Francisco Bay Area as the Super Bowl approaches. If you happen to be in the area over the next few days, you can expect much high-tech gadgetry and police time will be used to watch, catalogue, and analyze your activities.

April Glaser provides the details in her new Wired article “If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard.” The Super Bowl stadium and the nearby cities, she explains, have been converted into a hyped-up mass surveillance zone in which surveillance technology — cell phone tracking devices; video cameras; facial recognition and other biometrics technology; automated license plate readers; and phone call, text and social media monitoring software — will be used with abandon on individuals who happen to be in the area. Glaser explains that the scooped up information will flow to, and be processed in, fusion centers where national, state, and local police work in coordination.

Say you just want the government not to invade your privacy, Glaser says the only option is to stay out of the Bay Area over the next few days:

If all this surveillance in the name of security makes you uncomfortable and you’d rather not have your face, car, and cell phone activity tracked across the Bay Area, you have only one option: Don’t go anywhere near the big game.

Exercising this option, however, will keep you free from only some of the surveillance, and only in the short term. Mass surveillance by all levels of government is expanding. What is happening in the San Francisco Bay Area is a practice run for what many people in government would like to see rolled out soon nationwide.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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