What's in this dataset?

Spreadsheet of emails from 2014 to 2016 about social media surveillance by the Boston Police Departmentā€™s Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), including metadata (times, senders, recipients), subject, and text.

Download Data from GitHub
Number of Files1
File TypeCSV
Total File Size682 KB
Number of Rows1861
Number of Columns11


In December 2016, the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a public records request with the Boston Police Department to find out if BPD had used a social media surveillance system called Geofeedia. The responsive documents show that the Boston Police Departmentā€™s Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) used Geofeedia in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to monitor First Amendment protected speech and association. The documents reveal that analysts at BRIC collected thousands of social media posts about political and social activism, current events, religious issues, and personal matters totally irrelevant to law enforcement concerns. The BPD treated ordinary citizens discussing ordinary affairs as justifiable targets of surveillance.

The documents were received in the form of thousands of PDFs with similar content structure. These documents were first OCR’d, and then had text extracted from them. Then, using regular expressions, they the content of the emails were inserted into a spreadsheet for aggregate analysis.