19 December 2016

Twitter Cuts Off Fusion Spy Centers’ Access to Social Media Surveillance Tool

That's the headline for a report by Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of California, that was published on December 15, 2016 | 11:15 AM
As of this week, Twitter has made sure that federally funded fusion centers can no longer use a powerful social media monitoring tool to spy on users.
After the ACLU of California discovered the domestic
spy centers had access to this tool, provided by Dataminr (a company partly owned by Twitter), Dataminr was forced to comply with Twitter’s clear rule prohibiting use of data for surveillance.
Twitter sent a letter to the ACLU of California this week confirming that Dataminr has terminated access for all fusion center accounts.
The letter also makes clear that Dataminr will no longer provide social media surveillance tools to any local, state, or federal government customer.
We already know that government use of social media surveillance has expanded rapidly and has been used to target people of color and activists. Now Muslim and Latino community members are facing significant threats, important political and social activism is on the rise in areas across the country, and President-elect Trump is poised to hold the keys to the vast and powerful federal surveillance system. It has become more important than ever to protect against an expanding web of surveillance.
This Twitter and Dataminr announcement applies to all seventy-seven fusion centers (six in California alone) that are currently operating in states across the country. These domestic spy centers—local-state-federal partnerships that aim to collect and analyze vast amounts of information to connect the dots about “threats”—have a history of sweeping in constitutionally protected political, religious, and artistic activity . . .
Through a public records request, the ACLU of California discovered that the Los Angeles area fusion center, JRIC, was using Dataminr and had access to the company’s powerful Geospatial Analysis Application that enables keyword searches and location-based tracking. Settings in the Geospatial App even allowed the government to focus on monitoring journalists and organizations.
Using Dataminr, fusion centers like JRIC could search billions of real-time and historical public tweets and then potentially share information with the federal government.
Twitter’s action is an important step to protect users. But social media surveillance is just a piece of the surveillance puzzle. Companies and communities will need to take further steps in the months and years ahead to build in much stronger transparency, accountability, and oversight for government surveillance and make sure that rights are properly protected.
Read the entire article here
The Arizona Fusion Center, also known as the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC), is a joint effort between the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other participating agencies. 
To support the Arizona homeland security effort the Arizona Fusion Center was established and became operational in October of 2004. The Center operates on a 24/7 basis, providing both intelligence, investigative and technical support to state, local, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies as well as other agencies critical to Arizona and the country's homeland security efforts.
Website: http://www.azactic.gov/About/
Community Liaison Program (CLP) 
Mission of the ACTIC Community Liaison Program
- To provide a direct link between the state Counter Terrorism Information Center and the citizens, business community, and Tribal Nations in Arizona
- Establishing and enhancing intelligence gathering and dissemination by any and all means available will make Arizona the safest and most prepared state in the nation
The Community Liaison Program was established in April, 2006.  It created the public outreach section of ACTIC. The program focuses on: Training, Presentations, Liaison, and Tours for Business and Public Communities in Arizona.  This program supports Arizona's and the National Homeland Security Strategies of "Strengthening Information Sharing and Collaboration Capabilities."
More than 4,000 contact representatives from 300 private and public sector organizations participate in the Community Liaison Program.

Participating Partners
Religious groups
Block watches
Private security companies
Tourism industry
Financial groups
Utility companies
Public health organizations
Educational institutions
Community Groups
And Many More...

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