So called "Fusion" centers built after the 2001 terrorist attacks are intended to connect various police agencies and objectives. They are places for local, state and federal law enforcement to gather, share, and store intelligence. A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union alleges Illinois' two fusion centers lack appropriate privacy safeguards. ACLU attorney Adam Schwartz says centers in other states targeted individuals based on their political views. He says there's no proof of abuse in Illinois, but he also says it's hard to know because they're so secret.
"It's a large institution that is processing thousands of names and gathering information of the most sensitive nature about people. Uhm, and it's very secretive and so, and we view it as insufficiently regulated. So, uhm we cannot say there have been no problems but we don't have as evidence of problems."
Schwartz says both the Terrorism Center in Springfield operated by the State Police, and a fusion center run by the Chicago police department, need stronger privacy guidelines. He says law enforcement should be required to verify intelligence is accurate before they spread it to other agencies. A State Police spokeswoman says they follow federal Justice Department guidelines. She says law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to assess and evaluate threats.
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