Report: Lead #BlackLivesMatter Organizers Singled Out As 'Threat Actors' By Cybersecurity Firm | Sojourners

Report: Lead #BlackLivesMatter Organizers Singled Out As 'Threat Actors' By Cybersecurity Firm

Government and Law Enforcement Officials Were Named for 'Protection'
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A "crisis management" report shows that a Baltimore cybersecurity startup, ZeroFox, singled out members of the Black Lives Matter movement as "threat actors" during the protests and rioting around Freddie Gray's death in April, Mother Jones reports

The report highlights two Black Lives Matter organizers, DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, terming their threat level "high" and "physical," urging "continuous monitoring." 

It also identifies Baltimore officials and law enforcement agencies for "asset protection," including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Baltimore Police Department Captain Eric Kowalczyk.  

According to Mother Jones

McKesson and Elzie both tell Mother Jones they were "not surprised" that they were being watched. "It confirms that us telling the truth about police violence is seen as a threat," McKesson says. Both activists say they do not know why they were identified as physical threats. McKesson and Elzie live in Missouri, where they helped organize the Ferguson protests. 

In a statement to the Baltimore Business Journal, ZeroFox's CEO said the firm assembled the crisis management report for the city pro-bono. "Our intent was to offer help and it was taken," he said. "We thought we could make a difference."

This follows on reports in late July that the Department of Homeland Security has been comprehensively monitoring Black Lives Matter activities in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and New York, N.Y since August 2014.

The Intercept found that DHS produced minute-by-minute reports on protestors' movements during marches and rallies, and expanded their surveillence to "ostensibly related events," including nationwide vigils of silence, funk music parades, and a walk to end breast cancer.

Writes The Intercept, 

"The tracking of domestic protest groups and peaceful gatherings raises questions over whether DHS is chilling the exercise of First Amendment rights, and over whether the department, created in large part to combat terrorism, has allowed its mission to creep beyond the bounds of useful security activities as its annual budget has grown beyond $60 billion."

Read more from Mother Jones here.