The report is called “Mass Extraction: The Widespread Power of U.S. Law Enforcement to Search Mobile Phones.” Over 2,000 FOIA requests, Upturn discovered that police departments in all 50 states and also Washington D.C. have purchased mobile device forensic tools (MDFTs).
The sale highlights the issue of law enforcement agencies buying information, and in particular location data, that they would ordinarily need a warrant or court order to obtain.Other documents obtained as part of the same FOIA request detail the Secret Service's purchase of Babel Street's open source intelligence product.
“It’s clear from already public information that all of the agencies we’re targeting in our FOIA lawsuit engage in manual and automated surveillance of social media users and their speech, and it’s unacceptable for the government to withhold details about this domestic spying,” Cagle and Handeyside said.
Indeed, in its letter responding to our FOIA request, the FBI said that simply acknowledging its use of social media surveillance would “risk circumvention of the law.” The bureau seems to be saying that if people knew that the government is monitoring what they’re saying on social media, they’d be less likely to say it.
Appeals Court: IRS 'Misunderstands' FOIA Obligations in EPIC Case, but Trump's Tax Returns Still Withheld The D.C. Circuit ruled today that the IRS "misunderstands its FOIA disclosure obligations" in EPIC v. IRS, EPIC's Freedom of Information Act case to obtain public release of President Trump's tax returns.
But according to documents obtained by the Guardian through a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) lawsuit, the file on the Iowa protesters was part of a larger effort by the FBI to assess the danger posed by the climate change activist group 350.org in the run-up to a series of actions that were part of the Break Free from Fossil Fuels campaign.
While the ACLU has been able to confirm that under Trump, government departments like the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security are accelerating domestic social media surveillance in relation to anticipated anti-Trump protest incidents, these FOIA requests have not revealed the technologies being deployed to do so.
EPIC has appealed a federal district court decision for the release of a "Predictive Analytics Report." The district court backed the Department of Justice when the agency claimed the "presidential communications privilege." But neither the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nor the Supreme Court has ever permitted a federal agency to invoke that privilege in a FOIA case.