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surveillanceGovernment documents obtained by the ACLU show that nationwide programs that collect so-called “Suspicious Activity Reports” provide inadequate privacy safeguards and guidance on the definition of “suspicious activity,” leading to violations of Americans’ First Amendment and privacy rights, and to racial and religious profiling.

FOIA Lawsuit

In August 2011, the ACLU filed ACLU v. FBI, a lawsuit to enforce a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records about the FBI eGuardian program, a nationwide system of collecting and sharing so-called “suspicious activity reports” (“SARs”) from the public and law enforcement and intelligence officials across the country. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Security Agency (NSA) initially failed to release any records, and DOJ insisted it had no independent obligation to even search for information because eGuardian is run by the FBI. Although the FBI partially released a handful of records, they represented only a fraction of the FBI’s records about this nationwide program.

Through litigation, however, the ACLU secured additional agency searches for eGuardian records. As a result, DOJ identified 13,500 pages of records requiring review. Ultimately, between January 2012 and July 2013, the FBI, DOJ, NSA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence released in full or in part over 1,900 pages of records to the ACLU, and in August 2013 identified hundreds of additional eGuardian records these agencies sought to keep secret under exemptions to the FOIA.

Documents Reveal Inadequate Privacy Safeguards and Lack of Guidance Over Use of Suspicious Activity Reporting Systems

Although many of the released records are heavily or even entirely redacted, the documents shed important light on eGuardian, a competing suspicious activity reporting program known as the Information Sharing Environment Suspicious Activity Reporting (“ISE-SAR”) Shared Spaces, and the Department of Justice’s umbrella Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (“NSI”), of which both systems are a part.

suspiciousactivityreporting2The documents confirm that these programs give extremely broad discretion to law enforcement officials to monitor and collect information about innocent people engaged in commonplace activities, and to store data in criminal intelligence files without evidence of wrongdoing. They also demonstrate that several fusion centers and state and local law enforcement agencies have resisted using eGuardian because of concern over whether the system has an approved privacy policy, whether it is adequate in light of state and local laws protecting privacy, the general lack of guidance on the system, and the lengthy retention of data in eGuardian.

For example, in 2009, the New York State Intelligence Center indicated it “would not forward SARs to eGuardian” without confirmation that the system had a DOJ-approved privacy policy. In 2010, an official of the State of Iowa Intelligence Fusion Center complained about the “huge disconnect on how eGuardian is to work” and reported that the “local FBI field office” lacked “guidance on how or when to use eGuardian.” In 2011, a number of state and local law enforcement agencies stated they would share Suspicious Activity Reports with the FBI only after controlling “what gets shared consistent with local/state laws, privacy issue [sic] and local expectations of community standards.” Similarly, a 2012 email chain shows that the Minnesota Joint Analysis Center reported it would not send Suspicious Activity Reports to eGuardian at all, and that the New Jersey Fusion Center was sharing reports with the FBI only after first vetting reports itself. And a 2011 document demonstrates thatFusion Center concerns” about using eGuardian prompted the FBI to change the system’s data retention policy “from 30 years to 5 years (followed by a 5-year archive period).” Yet, a 2013 Government Accountability Office report recently confirmed that there is continuing cause for concern because even after Suspicious Activity Reports are deleted from eGuardian, the FBI retains the reports for at least an additional 30 years in another location.

The documents obtained by the ACLU further confirm that the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, eGuardian, and the Information Sharing Environment Suspicious Activity Reporting Shared Spaces use vague and expansive definitions for “suspicious activity” that have caused persistent confusion among federal, state, and local law enforcement. This confusion underscores the ACLU’s concern — shared by some state police departments — that Suspicious Activity Reports will be based on racial or religious profiling or the exercise of First Amendment rights, rather than evidence of wrongdoing.

For example, in 2009, the Boston Police Department “recommended that the appropriate threshold be clearly defined for entering a SAR into the ISE-SAR Shared Spaces,” cautioned against “the entry of information . . . that is not of value,” and emphasized the need to “avoid large volumes of information being ‘dumped’ into the system.” The Miami-Dade Police Department warned that “the NSI needs to stay focused on behaviors and not individuals,” suggesting that problems with guidance on what constitutes “suspicious activity” would result in inappropriate profiling. Such confusion over the definition of “suspicious activity” is hardly surprising in light of the government’s failure to make clear that 28 C.F.R. Part 23 — a regulation long applied to criminal intelligence information to safeguard privacy, civil rights and civil liberties — applies to nationwide suspicious activity reporting programs, requiring “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity to justify the collection, retention and dissemination of Suspicious Activity Reports about innocent people.

The documents obtained by the ACLU thus heighten concerns previously expressed by the ACLU and others that eGuardian, the Information Sharing Environment, and the broader Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative have opened the door to violations of civil rights and civil liberties across the country. The ACLU of California recently obtained summaries of SARs produced by California fusion centers that vindicate these concerns, showing that Suspicious Activity Reports contained no reasonable evidence of criminal activity but were primarily justified based on bias against racial and religious minorities and the exercise of First Amendment rights. Based on the reports obtained thus far, photography and videography are frequently reported without additional facts, rendering these constitutionally-protected activities inherently suspicious.

Additional information from specific documents follows the recommendations below.

Recommendations

The increasingly widespread use of eGuardian, as revealed by the documents, only underscores the serious need for reform. In 2010, the Department of Defense announced that it would participate in the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative through eGuardian. “As of February 2010, there were more than 560 Federal, state, local, and tribal member agencies with more than 1,800 individual eGuardian users who had reported and shared almost 3,000 incidents.” Just six months later, the number of Suspicious Activity Reports in eGuardian had jumped to 5,176. And press reports indicate that by December 2010, some 890 state and local agencies had submitted 7,197 reports for inclusion in eGuardian.

fbi eGuardianThe ACLU “urges each of the federal agencies” involved — the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Security Agency, and the Department of Defense — to make public the policy and guideline documents governing nationwide suspicious activity reporting programs, including the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, eGuardian, and the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) – Suspicious Activity Reporting Shared Spaces, and to reform these programs to:

  1. Require reasonable suspicion of specified criminal activity in order to collect, retain or disseminate SARs containing personally identifiable information, as required by federal regulation 28 CFR Part 23;
  2. Clearly and unequivocally prohibit the collection, retention, or dissemination of information about the First Amendment-protected political, religious or social views, associations, or activities of any individual or any group, association, corporation, business, partnership, or other organization unless that information directly relates to criminal activity and there is reasonable suspicion that the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal activity;
  3. Remove photography and other activities clearly protected by the First Amendment from inclusion in lists of categories of suspicious activity or other guidance criteria to prevent the unlawful stops, detention, and harassment of photographers; videographers, and journalists;
  4. Give agencies contributing Suspicious Activity Reports continuing control over the information in the federal suspicious activity reporting systems to modify, correct, update, and purge data according to state and local laws, regulations, and policies; and
  5. Require routine review and re-examination of stored Suspicious Activity Reports to purge any information that is misleading, obsolete, or otherwise unreliable; and require that all Suspicious Activity Reports be purged from all data systems “within five years” and that all recipient agencies by advised of such changes which involve errors or corrections. No data not leading to an investigation should remain in a suspicious activity reporting system or any other federal database for more than five years. [Why so long?]

Read the rest of the alert >>

INTEL CENTERS
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State Name of Fusion Center Mailing Address Physical Address Phone Number Email
Alabama Alabama Fusion Center Post Office Box 1511 Montgomery, AL 36102 201 S Union St Montgomery, AL 36104 (334) 517-2660 fusioncenter@afc.alacop.gov
Alaska Alaska Information and Analysis Center (AKIAC) 101 East Sixth Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 101 East Sixth Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 (907) 265-8123 akiac@alaska.gov
Arizona Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) Post Office Box 6638 Phoenix, AZ 85005 16212 N 28th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85053 (877) 272-8329 actic@azdps.gov
Arkansas Arkansas State Fusion Center 1 State Police Plaza Drive Little Rock, AR 72209 1 State Police Plaza Drive Little Rock, AR 72209 arfusioncenter@asp.arkansas.gov
California Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center 2644 Santiago Canyon Road Silverado, CA 92676-9791 2644 Santiago Canyon Road Silverado, CA 92676-9791 (714) 628-3024 ociac@ocsd.org
California Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center (LAJRIC) 12440 East Imperial Highway Norwalk, CA 90650 12440 East Imperial Highway Norwalk, CA 90650 (562) 345-1100 jric@lajric.gov
California Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) P.O. Box 36102 San Francisco, CA 94102 450 Golden Gate Ave., 14th Floor San Francisco, CA 94102 (866) 367-8847 dutyofficer@ncric.org
California Central California Intelligence Center/Sacramento Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center 3720 Dudley Blvd. McClellan, CA 95652 (888) 884-8383 sacrttac@sacsheriff.com
California State Terror Threat Assessment Center Post Office Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244 3741 Bleckley St. Mather, CA 95655 (916) 227-1280 ohsdutyanalyst@ohs.ca.gov
California San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center (SD-LECC) 4181 Ruffin Road San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 495-7200 rttac@sdrttac.org
Colorado Colorado Information Analysis Center 690 Kipling Street Lakewood, CO 80215 690 Kipling Street Lakewood, CO 80215 (877) 509-2422 ciac@ciac.co.gov
Connecticut Connecticut Intelligence Center (CTIC) 600 State Street New Haven, CT 06511 600 State Street New Haven, CT 06511 (203) 777-6311 ctic@nespin.riss.net
Delaware Delaware Information Analysis Center Post Office Box 430 Dover, DE 19904 1575 McKee Rd. Dover, DE 19904 (302) 739-5996 diac@state.de.us
District of Columbia Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center 2720 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20032 300 Indiana Ave NW Washington, DC 20001 (202) 481-3007 wrtac@dc.gov
Florida Florida Fusion Center P.O. Box 1489 Tallahassee, FL 32302 2331 Phillips Road Tallahassee, FL 32308 (850) 410-7645 floridafusioncenter@fdle.state.fl.us
Florida Miami Dade Fusion Center 11200 NW 20th St Doral, FL 33172 (305) 470-3880 ioc@mdpd.com
Florida Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX) PO Box 608423 Orlando, Florida 32860 6643 Hazeltine National Drive Orlando, FL 32860 ctic@fdle.state.fl.us
Georgia Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC) Post Office Box 29649 Atlanta, GA 30359 2635 Century Parkway, N.E. Atlanta, GA 39345 (404) 486-6420 generalinfo@gisac.gbi.ga.gov
Hawaii Pacific Regional Information Clearinghouse 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96813 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96813 (800) 952-5258 pacclear@hi.hidta.net
Idaho Idaho Criminal Intelligence Center 700 S Stratford Dr, Meridian, Ada, Idaho 83642 700 S Stratford Dr, Meridian, Ada, Idaho 83642 (208) 846-7676 icic@fusion.idaho.gov
Illinois Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center (STIC) 2100 S. Dirksen Parkway Springfield, IL 62703 2100 S. Dirksen Parkway Springfield, IL 62703 (877) 455-7842 stic@isp.state.il.us
Indiana Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center 302 W. Washington Street Room E243 Indianapolis, IN 46204 302 W. Washington Street Room E243 Indianapolis, IN 46204 (866) 400-4432 iifc@iifc.in.gov
Iowa Iowa Fusion Center 215 East 7th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319 215 East 7th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319 (800) 308-5983 inthsin@dps.state.ia.us
Kansas Kansas Threat Integration Center (KSTIC) 2722 Southwest Topeka Blvd Topeka, KS 66611 2722 Southwest Topeka Blvd Topeka, KS 66611 (785) 2741503 kstic@tag.ks.gov
Kentucky Kentucky Fusion Center Post Office Box 1757 Frankfort, KY 40602 200 Mero St Frankfort, KY 40622 (502) 564-2081 fusioncenter@ky.gov
Louisiana Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Exchange (LA-SAFE) 376A East Airport, Baton Rouge, LA 70806 376A East Airport, Baton Rouge, LA 70806 (225) 925-1978 lafusion.center@dps.la.gov
Maine Maine Intelligence Analysis Center 45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1 Augusta, ME 04330 164 State House Station Augusta, ME 04330 (207) 624-7280 miac@nespin.riss.net
Maryland Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) 7125 Ambassador Road Woodlawn, MD 21244 (800) 492-8477 mdwatch@leo.gov
Massachusetts Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) One Schroeder Plaza Roxbury, MA 2120 (617) 353-4328 bric.bpd@ci.boston.ma.us
Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Center 124 Acton Street, 2d Floor Maynard, MA 01754 124 Acton Street, 2d Floor Maynard, MA 01754 (978) 451-3700 fusion@pol.state.ma.us
Michigan Michigan Intelligence Operations Center 714 S. Harrison Road East Lansing, MI 48823 (877) 616-4677 mioc@michigan.gov
Michigan Detroit Southeast Michigan Information and Intelligence Center 28 Adams Ave E Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 976-4625
Minnesota Minnesota Joint Analytical Center Suite 820 111 Washington Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612) 373-2840 info@icefishx.org
Mississippi Mississippi Analysis and Information Center 1 MEMA Drive Pearl, MS 39208 1 MEMA Drive Pearl, MS 39208 (601) 933-7200 msaic@mdps.state.ms.us
Missouri KC Regional TEW 635 Woodland Ave., Suite 2105B Kansas City, MO 64106 635 Woodland Ave., Suite 2105B Kansas City, MO 64106 (816) 889-6130 KCTEW@kcpd.org
Missouri Missouri Information Analysis Center 2302 Militia Drive Jefferson City, MO 65101 (866) 362-6422 miac@mshp.dps.mo.gov
Missouri St. Louis Terrorism Early Warning Group 7900 Forsyth Blvd St. Louis, MO 63105 (314) 615-4839 info@sltew.org
Montana Montana All-Threat Intelligence Center (MATIC) Post Office Box 4789 Ft. Harrison, MT 59636 2225 11th Ave Helena, MT 59601 (406) 444-1330 dojintel@mt.gov
Nebraska Nebraska Information Analysis Center 3800 NW 12th St Lincoln, NE 68521 (402) 479-4099 nefusioncenter@nebraska.gov
Nevada Nevada Threat Analysis Center 555 Wright Way Carson City, NV 89711 2478 Fairview Drive Carson City, NV 89701 (775) 687-0450 ntac@dps.state.nv.us
Nevada Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center 6767 Spencer Street, Las Vegas Nevada 89119 6767 Spencer Street, Las Vegas Nevada (702) 828-2200 doc@lvmpd.com
New Hampshire New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center 110 Smokey Bear Blvd Concord, NH 03305 (603) 271-0300 NhspIntel@dos.nh.gov
New Jersey New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center Post Office Box 7068 West Trenton, NJ 08628-0068 2 Schwarzkopf Drive West Trenton, NJ 08628 (866) 472-3365 roic@gw.njsp.org
New Mexico New Mexico All Source Intelligence Center (NMASIC) PO Box 27111 87502 13 Bataan Blvd., Santa Fe, NM 87504 (505) 476-9600 intelligence.fusion@state.nm.us
New York New York State Intelligence Center 630 Columbia Street Extension Latham, NY 12110 630 Columbia Street Extension Latham, NY 12110 (866) 723-3697 ciu@nysic.ny.gov
North Carolina North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center 310 New Bern Ave. Raleigh, NC 27601 (888) 624-7222 ncisaac@ncdoj.gov
North Dakota North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center 400 Fraine Barracks Rd Bismarck, ND 58506 (866) 885-8295 ndslic@nd.gov
Ohio Cincinnati/Hamilton Regional Terrorism Early Warning Group 2000 Radcliff Drive Cincinnati, OH 45204 (513) 263-8000 saic@dps.state.oh.us
Ohio Strategic Analysis and Information Center 2855 West Dublin Grandville Road Columbus, OH 43235 2855 West Dublin Grandville Road Columbus, OH 43235 (614) 799-3555 saic@dps.state.oh.us
Oklahoma Oklahoma Information Fusion Center 6600 N Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73116 6600 N Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73116 (405) 848-6724 fusion@osbi.ok.gov
Oregon Terrorism Fusion Center (TITAN) 610 Hawthorne Ave., Suite 210 Salem, OR 97301 610 Hawthorne Ave., Suite 210 Salem, OR 97301 (503) 378-6347 oregonfusioncenter@doj.state.or.us
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center (PaCIC) 1800 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17110 1800 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17110 sp-intelligence@state.pa.us
Rhode Island Rhode Island State Fusion Center 10 Dorrance St Providence, RI 02903 (866) 490-8477 fusion@risp.dps.ri.gov
South Carolina South Carolina Intelligence and Information Center 1731 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29210 (866) 472-8477 sciic@sled.sc.gov
South Dakota South Dakota Fusion Center 1302 US 14 Pierre, SD 57501 (605) 773-3178 sdfusioncenter@state.sd.us
Tennessee Tennessee Regional Information Center 901 R.S. Gass Boulevard Nashville, TN 37243 (877) 250-2333 tfc@tn.gov
Texas Houston Regional Intelligence Service Center 5320 N. Shepherd Drive Houston, TX 77091 (713) 884-4710 cidcdu@leo.gov
Texas North Central Texas Fusion Center 4300 Community Avenue McKinney, TX 75071 4300 Community Avenue McKinney, TX 75071 (972) 548-5537 homelandsecurity@co.collin.tx.us
Texas Texas Intelligence Center 5805 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX 78752 (866) 786-5972 txdpsintelcenter@txdps.state.tx.us
Utah Statewide Information & Analysis Center (SIAC) 410 West 9800 South, Suite 370 Sandy, Utah 84070 410 West 9800 South, Suite 370 Sandy, Utah 84070 (801) 256-2360 saic@utah.gov
Vermont Vermont Fusion Center 188 Harvest Lane Williston, VT 09405 188 Harvest Lane Williston, VT 09405 (802) 872-6110 vtfusion@dps.state.vt.us
Virginia National Capital Region Intelligence Center 4100 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 212-4590 fcpd-ncric@fairfaxcounty.gov
Virginia Virginia Fusion Center 7700 Midlothian Turnpike Richmond, VA 23235 (804) 674-2196 vfc@vsp.virginia.gov
Washington Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC) Post Office Box 42600 Olympia, WA 98504 1110 Third Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 (877) 843-9522 wafusion@wsp.wa.gov
Wisconsin Southeastern Wisconsin Terrorism Alert Center 749 West State St Milwaukee, WI 53233 (414) 935-7767 ifc@milwaukee.gov
Wisconsin Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center Post Office Box 7857 Madison, WI 53707-7857 2445 Darwin Rd Madison, WI 53703 (608) 242-5393 wsic@doj.state.wi.us
Wyoming Wyoming Criminal Intelligence Center 316 West 22 Street Cheyenne, WY 82002 (307) 777-7181 klandm@dci.wyo.gov

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  3. Multiple Fusion Centers Request Removal of Documents from Public Intelligence
  4. Federal Highway Administration Fusion Center Information Sharing Guidebook
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  8. Philadelphia Fusion Update
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