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Police in the US city of Boston unjustly spied on thousands of social media posts and specifically targeted Muslims and African Americans for surveillance, a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has alleged.

The Boston Police Department (BPD) used an online surveillance system, Geofeedia, from 2014 to 2016 to monitor online comments on topics including politics and religion, the ACLU of Massachusetts said on Wednesday.

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“The BPD treated ordinary citizens discussing ordinary affairs as justifiable targets of surveillance,” the group said in a statement.

“What it did not do … was deter or help solve serious crimes.”

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