EFF Sues for Information on Electronic Surveillance Systems
FBI Withholds Records on Tools to Intercept Personal Communications
Kansas City infoZine | October 4 2006
The FLAG Project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed its first lawsuit against the Department of Justice Tuesday after the FBI failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records concerning DCS-3000 and Red Hook -- tools the FBI has spent millions of dollars developing for electronic surveillance.
DCS-3000 is an interception system that apparently evolved out of "Carnivore," a controversial surveillance system the FBI used several years ago to monitor online traffic through Internet service providers. One Department of Justice report said DCS-3000 was developed to "intercept personal communication services delivered via emerging digital technologies" and that it was used "as carriers continue to introduce new features and services." According to the same report, Red Hook is a system to "collect voice and data calls and then process and display the intercepted information."
The FLAG Project first filed its FOIA request for information about the surveillance systems on August 11, 2006. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the request, but the agency has not responded within the time limit required by law.
"Recent allegations of domestic spying by the U.S. government already have both lawmakers and the general public up in arms. Americans have a right to know whether the FBI is using new technology to further violate their privacy," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "The Department of Justice needs to abide by the law and publicly release information about these surveillance tools."
EFF's FLAG Project, launched last month, uses FOIA requests and litigation to expose the government's expanding use of technologies that invade privacy.
"Transparency is critical to the functioning of our democracy, especially when the government seeks to hide activities that affect the rights of citizens," EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel, who directs the FLAG Project. "We have recently seen numerous instances where federal agencies have sought to conceal surveillance activities that raise serious legal issues."
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