Post-September 11 Open Records Requests Submitted

(as of March 16, 2001)

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Washington, DC


FOIA Request Challenging Secrecy of Post-9/11 Detentions

In response to the government's refusal to disclose details of more than 1000 detentions and arrests that have been made in the post-September 11 investigation, a coalition of civil liberties and human rights organizations filed a FOIA suit challenging the unprecedented secrecy of these detentions. EPIC is participating as co-plaintiff and co-counsel.

AAMVA's National ID Plan

Open records requests were initiated under state law to learn more about the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) proposal to establish "authenticated" drivers licenses. AAMVA is a non-profit organization that has been developing biometric and information storage standards for state driver's licenses. The requests were submitted to officials who are working with AAMVA, but also hold positions in state motor vehicle agencies. The requests were sent to Texas and New York officials.


DC Driver's License Readers

EPIC filed an open records request under District of Columbia law to learn more about identity card readers that the local police are using to check the validity of driver's licenses. The machine used by police can scan the bar codes and magnetic stripes of licenses from many states and capture the card holder's personal information.


Military Use of Biometrics for Identification

FOIA requests were submitted to the Department of Defense, NIST, NSA, and Army for documents relating to military "multi-function" smart cards that could be used in the general population as a national ID. Additionally, through a biometric working group, these agencies are considering the incorporation of fingerprint, iris, retina, facial geometry, and voice recognition biometrics for identity cards.


Bush Administration Influence on European Privacy Law

FOIA requests were submitted to the Department of Justice and the State Department to learn more about President Bush's efforts to weaken European Privacy protections. President Bush requested in a letter that European officials allow government greater access to telephone calls and records left from Internet communications.


Foreign Monitoring of Phone Networks

EPIC filed FOIA requests with the FBI, DEA, DOJ, FCC, and NSA to learn more about two Israeli companies that have reportedly spied on American telecommunications. The companies, Amdocs Ltd. and Comverse Infosystems, perform billing and CALEA compliance services. Both companies, through contracts with exchange carriers and with the government, have access to the public telephone network.


Weaknesses in CALEA Wiretapping System

EPIC filed FOIA requests with the DOJ and FBI to learn more about a letter that was delivered to senior officials alleging that law enforcement's ability to tap phone networks have been compromised by a CALEA compliance company, Comverse Infosystems. The computer surveillance systems that Comverse has installed on the phone networks apparently can be accessed by unauthorized parties.


Trusted Passenger ID Cards

EPIC filed a FOIA request with the Department of Transportation to learn more about identity cards that the agency was producing in order to secure airport facilities. Issuance of the cards involves a background check and the collection of a biometric identifier. The agency plans to issue the cards first to airport personnel, and then to "trusted passengers."


Transportation Profiling Systems

EPIC filed a FOIA request with the Department of Transportation after several news agencies reported that the agency was developing an extensive traveler profiling system. The system will integrate financial records and other databases to create profiles on travelers.


The DC Surveillance Camera Network

EPIC filed an open records request under District of Columbia law and FOIA requests to the Secret Service, Amtrak, and the Department of Defense to learn more about an extensive surveillance camera network. The network has a command center in Washington, DC that has been used to monitor people during public protests. Since the FBI recently issued a warning for citizens to be on high alert, the DC command center has been operating continuously.


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