DHS Privacy Office Echoes ACLU’s Concerns With Fusion Centers

December 22, 2008 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — A privacy impact assessment issued by the Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office today officially validates concerns the ACLU raised last year about the dangers a network of intelligence “fusion centers” pose to privacy and civil liberties. An ACLU report entitled “What’s Wrong With Fusion Centers?” was published in November 2007 and updated earlier this year.The DHS privacy impact assessment released today echoes, sometimes word for word, the privacy concerns identified by the ACLU in these reports. The ACLU welcomes the findings of the assessment and hopes to assist the DHS privacy office improve privacy protections within these new institutions, which amount to nothing less than a full-fledged domestic intelligence system.

The following can be attributed Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Fusion centers remain a mysterious and troubling trend in local law enforcement. The more we know about fusion centers, the better off we’ll be. Police intelligence activities have a troubled history in the United States, so we’re glad to see the DHS privacy office shining a light on the privacy threats fusion centers pose.

“The use of data mining, participation by the private sector, ambiguous lines of authority and the general lack of transparency all pose hazards for Americans’ privacy.Given the fact that the DHS privacy office sees the same problems the ACLU does with fusion centers, it should be obvious that serious oversight is necessary.We look forward to working with the DHS to solve these problems.”

To read the ACLU’s reports on fusion centers, go to:

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