One of our newest contributors, the Electronic Privacy Information Center ("EPIC"), is sharing some very Scoop-worthy filings, including the complaint it filed today seeking documents about the federal government’s role in an effort to limit accountability of state "Fusion Centers." According to EPIC, the Virginia Fusion Center is a database that collects detailed information on ordinary citizens. The Virginia legislature is considering a bill that would limit Virginia’s open government and privacy statutes, as well as Virginia’s common law right of privacy, for Virginia agencies connected to the Fusion Center – thereby shrouding it in secrecy.
EPIC had previously submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Virginia State Police for records relating to the Fusion Center. EPIC’s FOIA request focused on the possible role of the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Homeland Security in the development of the Virginia legislation. The Virginia State Police refused to comply with the request, apparently on the grounds that these documents (correspondence and communications between the Police Department and the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice about e.g. the Fusion Center’s funding and development) were "relevant to the identification of criminal activity" among other things.
Sign up to JD Supra’s RSS Feed for simultaneous access to new filings as this case progresses, and visit EPIC’s Information Fusion Centers and Privacy page to learn more about Fusion Centers and the work that EPIC is doing.