The ACLU of Massachusetts is pushing for greater limits on the use of surveillance software by the Boston Police Department, according to the group’s executive director.

Carol Rose joined Boston Public Radio to talk about what the introduction of the new software will mean for civil liberties in the Commonwealth.

She said part of the problem lies with scope, saying an individual officer scrolling through Facebook accounts is different than a software.

“What we need to do when these new technologies are coming in is to make sure the law keeps pace with the technology,” she said. “It’s different [if] they can do it with an algorithm and do millions of people at a time and create big dossiers and databases on everybody.”

The software will be able to search social media platforms as well as blogs and chatrooms. It will also be able to gather geographic data to search for posts made within a certain area.

Rose pointed out that the laws set regarding the new technology won't just affect the present.

“We’re making systems and rules for future people in office and in power,” she said. “It’s not just one given police department, it’s actually a system in place.”

The police department and other proponents of the software say it’s simply accessing public information that’s already available online.

But, the ACLU and other civil liberties organizations claim there was not enough transparency or public input involved in the selection of the software. Rose noted that there was not a “public bidding process.”

She stressed that access to information collected using the software stretches further than many people think.

“If we don’t have any limits, this stuff is automatically shared with the FBI, which may not bother people now, but it might bother you if you think that the FBI and the federal agents may do some of the stuff that happened during the [2016 presidential] campaign,” she said.

Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric has proliferated online posts about how people can protect themselves from government surveillance.

Rose emphasized that surveilling technology may be effective, but only if its operated within the law.

“If we stop and have a public conversation and set those limits, then it may be that some of this technology is okay,” she said.

To hear Carol Rose’s interview on BPR in its entirety, click on the audio link above.