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    News8 Austin: Commission sends Fusion Center recommendation to council

    News8 in Austin, Texas, reports on controversy over a proposed fusion center and its lack of a privacy policy. Fusion centers are state and local programs to gather domestic intelligence. Fusion centers have raised privacy and civil liberties questions, in part because of the lack of information about them — about who is in charge of what and what exactly is happening in these fusion centers. Read more here.

    News8 reports:

    The fusion Center will allow Austin law enforcement to share information with other agencies and, according to APD, will only use information connected with criminal investigations.

    Some contend that the commission’s vote to move forward with the agreement before hammering out the privacy policy could spell trouble. […]

    “We don’t have a beef with catching bad guys,” spokesperson with Texans for Accountable Government Chuck Young said. “What we’re concerned about is, in pursuit of a public safety mission, the Austin Regional Intelligence Center could conceivably gather data on just regular people.” […]

    But Matt Lauderdale with Austin Public Safety Commission said even though they’ve approved the agreement, the privacy policy will be a living document.

    “We feel that we are properly engaged with the individuals that are running the fusion center, and we will be properly engaged with the privacy policy. [The] privacy policy [is] extraordinarily important,” he said. […]

    The fusion center will be housed in a Department of Public Safety building on the agency campus in North Austin. It could be up and running as soon as this summer.

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