Help us keep an eye on the agencies watching you

Credit: Beacon Reader screen shot

At The Center for Investigative Reporting, we’re always looking for new ways to engage with our audience and make journalism sustainable. Today, we get to do both. With our inaugural campaign with Beacon Reader, we hope to fund the coverage of an issue of huge public importance: local surveillance.

Local governments and police forces are using funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and taxpayers to collect unprecedented amounts of information on ordinary Americans like you. Neighborhood agencies are using images from bridge crossings, GPS data, facial recognition, biometrics, license-plate readers, camera networks and other technology to improve regional surveillance efforts. And while all of these advancements could revolutionize policing, they also stand to affect our civil liberties.

We want to know more. CIR needs your help to fund our investigation into how law enforcement and the government are keeping tabs on our public and private lives.

Why Beacon?

Beacon Reader is a news site with a different approach to funding journalism: Readers personally donate to their favorite writers and by doing so get access to articles across the platform.

By launching Your Neighborhood NSA, our 30-day campaign, we’re tapping into a community that already cares about and is committed to great journalism, and the platform allows us to share this opportunity with our own audience as well as new readers.

The topic of surveillance and data collection is important in that it affects every American who walks, talks and uses a computer – and CIR is committed to finding out how.

Head over to Beacon to support our team of reporters and producers – Andrew Becker, Matt Drange, Amanda Pike, G.W. Schulz and Ali Winston – who are looking to blow the lid off this story. In addition to the rigorous reporting that will result from this campaign, we have great swag to reward your generosity.

With your help, CIR can provide sustainable reporting on a topic that few organizations are covering. Play a part in our search for the truth.

The surveillance state extends beyond the National Security Agency – in fact, it's closer to home than you might think.

Got thoughts? Join the conversation about local surveillance on our Reddit page.

Get in touch with Julia at or @juliachanb.

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