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Fusion Centers and Individual Privacy

What are fusion centers?

Surveillance by Jonathan McIntosh (Flickr)
A fusion center is a collaboration of federal (Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice), state, and local law enforcement agencies that seek to collect and analyze data from both public and private sources for counter-terrorism purposes. There are more than 70 fusion centers across America.

The immense amounts of data collected, stored, and shared by these fusion centers threatens the privacy of law-abiding Americans, and the People's Campaign for the Constitution's Legal Professionals Team is leading a project to shed light on fusion centers' unlawful surveillance efforts.

Fighting back against fusion centers

The People's Campaign for the Constitution's Legal Professionals Team is bringing light to fusion centers' activities by filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about their work. You can join this effort by submitting FOIA requests to federal, state, and regional fusion centers near you.

Model FOIA requests, which you can adapt for your requests, are presented below. They were developed by students at the Yale Law clinic.

Federal FOIA Request Models

FOIA request regarding databases

FOIA request regarding access to information

FOIA request regarding the Office of Information & Analysis

FOIA request to the DHS Undersecretary for Management

FOIA request to the DHS Undersecretary for Science & Technology

State FOIA Request Models

FOIA request regarding databases

FOIA request regarding access to information

FOIA request regarding the budget

 

Resources

Analysis of fusion centers

"A snapshot of our times" by George F. Will, Washington Post, January 18, 2012

"Calling all Governors: stop spying on ordinary Americans!" by Carol Rose, On Liberty, July 9, 2010

"Counterterrorism program under attack for failing mission" by Tom Meyer, WKYC, February 9, 2010

Platform for Prejudice, a 2010 report by Political Research Associates

What's Wrong with Fusion Centers, a December 2007 report by the American Civil Liberties Union

Fusion Center Update, a July 2008 update to the ACLU's 2007 report by Mike German and Jay Stanley

Information about fusion centers

Contact information for state and regional fusion centers (EPIC)

Who's spying in your neighborhood? Map (ACLU)

Questions to ask about fusion centers (ACLU)

What's wrong with fusion centers? (ACLU)

Information about FOIA litigation

Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws (EPIC)

OpenTheGovernment.org's FOIA resources