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Homeland Security

2012 National Fusion Center Privacy, Civil Rights, Civil Liberties Officer Workshop

On November 13-14, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis hosted the National Fusion Center Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties (P/CRCL) Officer Workshop, in coordination with the DHS Privacy Office, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) Program Management Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, in Nashville, Tennessee.  The purpose of this two-day workshop was to provide training for fusion center P/CRCL Officers, as well as to exchange best practices and lessons learned.  For fusion centers to engage in effective and meaningful information sharing, they must do so in a manner that protects individuals’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Fusion centers develop, implement, and enforce P/CRCL safeguards to protect constitutional rights and to ensure that they are addressing their ethical and legal obligations while engaged in the fusion process. Their commitment to these safeguards also builds trust with partners and the community, which in turn fosters increased information sharing, which is vital to executing the fusion process.  Fusion centers work to ensure that their personnel understand the importance of protecting P/CRCL and that intelligence systems are used in a manner that conforms to appropriate P/CRCL protection protocols and regulations.                                                                                                                                                                                  

This Workshop is an integral part of DHS’s overall approach to ensuring that fusion centers protect individual privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.  Specifically, the Workshop built upon existing resources and training efforts to support P/CRCL Officers’ efforts in strengthening their fusion center’s protection of P/CRCL, including the development and implementation of a P/CRCL policy determined to be at least as comprehensive as the Information Sharing Environment Privacy Guidelines, training staff annually on the policy, and implementing the policy throughout their fusion center’s operations.  Additionally, the workshop featured training and technical assistance on emerging P/CRCL topics, including the review of intelligence products, community engagement/outreach efforts, the use of social media, privacy policy compliance reviews and audits, and the protection of First Amendment protected activities.  The workshop also provided an opportunity for the P/CRCL Officers to engage with subject matter experts across government and to learn about best practices from their peers.

Workshop participants also had the opportunity to hear from national advocacy group leaders.  These P/CRCL advocates and the fusion center P/CRCL Officers held a discussion about recommendations for further implementing and enhancing P/CRCL protections at fusion centers.  In particular, recommendations from the recent report, Recommendations for Fusion Centers: Preserving Privacy & Civil Liberties while Protecting Against Crime & Terrorism, were discussed to encourage P/CRCL Officers to consider incorporating applicable recommendations from the report in their fusion center’s operations.  Additionally, participants discussed opportunities to leverage available resources, such as the Recommendations for First Amendment-Protected Events for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies and the Compliance Verification for the Intelligence EnterpriseThese resources assist P/CRCL Officers ensure their fusion center operations align with recommended practices and guidelines to protect P/CRCL.  

Last Published Date: July 30, 2015

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