Jan. 06, 2023
Best of the Week — First Winner
Police seize on COVID-19 tech to expand surveillance
An AP team of journalists around the globe disclosed that governments worldwide used the COVID-19 pandemic to build tools and collect data to help curtail the virus, but those tools and data are being repurposed for surveillance by police and intelligence services.
Fresh off a fellowship studying artificial intelligence at Stanford University, reporter Garance Burke returned to AP’s investigative team with an idea for a gripping global project: Could AP staff track how policing worldwide had changed since the pandemic began?
More than a year later, Burke and the cross-format, cross-border team she led produced a sweeping investigation revealing how law enforcement across the globe mobilized new mass surveillance tools during the pandemic for purposes entirely unrelated to COVID-19.
For using Burke’s newfound knowledge and keen interest in AI to bring forth a disturbing story on surveillance and policing with global ramifications, the team of Burke, Federman, Jain, Wu, McGuirk and Myers, supported by numerous other colleagues across the AP, share Best of the Week – First Winner.