September 01, 2011

Miami - The following statement is from Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida, on today's announcement of a "If You See Something, Say Something" program:

“People should report criminal activity but encouraging Floridians to spy on our neighbors and report on their activities – even activities which may be normal and routine – is not a reliable law enforcement technique. Instead of turning up actual, reliable tips, this blunt approach pits neighbor against neighbor and citizen against citizen and increases suspicion and mistrust rather than building cooperation and understanding.

“These ‘turn in your neighbor’ programs produce unreliable information and are little more than a government sponsored invitation to view everyone as a potential criminal and act on racial and ethnic stereotypes.

“By unveiling this new program in the lead up to the anniversary of 9/11, the Governor and others don’t have to say what they really mean – that Floridians should keep an eye on people who look, act, speak or worship differently. By encouraging that kind of behavior the Governor is once again acting on disproven negative stereotypes that don’t enhance our security.”

More information on the work the ACLU has done to protect individual freedoms, due process rights and our system of checks and balances with regard to National Security programs is available here.

2011 Press Releases