The civil liberties organization Electronic Frontier Foundation has raised concerns about the system’s ability to record people’s voices. “It’s documented, and it highlights exactly what kinds of concerns we have. The capability of ShotSpotter to record voices should be a huge issue wherever it is deployed, and yet it is hardly discussed,” said Nadia Kayyali, a lawyer who works as part of the EFF’s activism team.
This feature triggered privacy alarms during a fatal shooting in Oakland, California. The incident, which happened in 2007, resulted in the conviction of Arliton Johnson, whose nickname was uttered in his victim’s dying words. “Oh, R,” the victim, Tyrone Lyles, said in the ShotSpotter recording. “Why you done me like that, R? R, why you do me like that, dude?” Johnson was found guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 64 years in prison.