Posts Tagged ‘Department of Homeland Security’

Fusion centers perpetuate racial profiling

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 8:50 am by

racialprofilingApril 10 saw protests, teach-ins and light brigade actions across the country as part of the national day of action against fusion centers. The Day of Action sparked an internet dialogue about fusion centers that shone much needed light on the centers which can often slip under the radar of the communities they operate in.

Like most threats to civil liberties, fusion centers endanger the constitutional rights guaranteed to all people, however their effect is most pronounced in politically vulnerable communities. These are most often communities of color, those with political beliefs outside the mainstream, or both.


Why fusion centers matter: FAQ

Monday, April 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm by

 Original commentary by Nadia Kayyali published April 7, 2014 on the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks blog

While Homeland-SecurityNSA surveillance has been front and center in the news recently, fusion centers are a part of the surveillance state that deserve close scrutiny.

Fusion centers are a local arm of the so-called “intelligence community,” the 17 intelligence agencies coordinated by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The government documentation around fusion centers is entirely focused on breaking down barriers between the various government agencies that collect and maintain criminal intelligence information.

Detention mandate keeps immigrants locked up and prison companies rich

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm by

21-immigrants-for-saleEvery single day, 34,000 beds need to be filled by immigrant detainees in the United States, not because there are 34,000 people who legitimately need to be detained, but because Congress mandates it. The immigration “detention bed mandate” comes from Congressional appropriations language referring to the budget for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Essentially, the language specifies how ICE has to use its detention budget, in this case requiring that the funding be used to “maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds.” This requirement is wildly expensive as it costs $120 a day to detain each individual, which comes out to $2 billion a year for the whole system.

Department of Homeland Security funding surveillance on the local level

Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 10:00 am by

All across the country, from Dallas to Las Vegas to Santa Cruz, communities are using funds from the Department of Homeland Security to implement dragnet surveillance on the local level. Federal funding for local surveillance typically buys equipment that allows local police to monitor and store information about all people, not just those suspected of committing a crime.

This could mean installing close-circuit security cameras around the city that record the actions of all passersby or using scanners to photograph the license plates of every car, storing that information indefinitely in a database. In two extreme examples, the city of Berkeley received a $200,000 from DHS to purchase an “Armored Response Counter Attack Truck” and Alameda County in California wanted to use $31,646 of grant funds to buy a drone.


News Digest 08/19/13

Monday, August 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

News Digest 07/23/13

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

News Digest 07/16/13

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm by

News Digest 07/15/13

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

News Digest 07/12/13

Friday, July 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

The drone tide continues to rise

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 9:48 am by

In the last couple of weeks, drones have been doing what they do best: surreptitiously showing up everywhere, from local law enforcement to the FBI.

As the NSA scandal continues to grow, compounded by the release of ever more documents that demonstrate the pervasive reach of surveillance on US soil, the significance of this should not be overlooked. Drones are part and parcel of the cancerous domestic surveillance state.

On June 19, on the tails of the first revelations of the NSA spying scandal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller came before the Senate Judiciary committee for an oversight hearing.

In his introduction to the hearing, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reminded the committee that the FBI needed to strike the balance between safety and civil liberties. The purpose of the hearing was to “review the broad intelligence authority Congress has granted the FBI” and to “ensure…that they do not violate the privacy rights and civil liberties of law-abiding Americans.”

It seems clear that the FBI is misusing that broad intelligence authority. During the hearing, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) questioned Director Mueller on whether the agency was using drones for domestic surveillance, based on his understanding from the Department of Justice that the DEA and ATF have drones.

The answer was yes, although the Director was quick to qualify that by saying “In a very, very minimal way, and very seldom.”