First Amendment Audits have gone by many names over the years: Cop Blocks, Cop Watches, some have even taken to calling them employee conduct checks.
First Amendment Auditors have taken to conducting their audits in a few different ways. The most popular is to stand on public property or in a publicly accessible location and take video. In some cases, the auditor will stand in a public or publicly accessible location with a sign expressing an opinion or message of some sort with a video camera operating a short way away.
After a while of being in the area and taking the video, the Auditors then review any interactions they may have had, providing judgment on those who may have approached or even confronted the Auditor. Some use a Pass-Fail system, while some actually apply letter grades similar to those used in school.
In most cases, the Auditors want to use their experiences to educate the public and others, including law enforcement officers, on the rights confirmed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Both good and bad experiences can be found in these videos, showing how to and how not to approach a First Amendment Auditor or any member of the public performing photography or videography in public or from publicly accessible places.
Simply put, a First Amendment Audit is the act of performing activities that exercise the right to free speech, free religion, free press, free assembly, free petition of grievances to the government, or any combination thereof to gauge - not necessarily get - any reaction from the public or government employees and officials.
So, someone standing on a street corner holding a sign with a provocative message for the purpose of gauging reactions is performing a First Amendment Audit. Similarly, and more noticeably, a person standing in or walking through a city hall with a camera is likely performing a First Amendment Audit. Likewise, a person standing on the public easement or sidewalk in front of a private business or property to determine how the business or property owner reacts is engaged in an Audit.
A First Amendment Audit is an audit of the public and government employees and officials to determine and gauge their reaction to the exercise of rights covered under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.