Last Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced
the release of guidance for awarding grants for 2010. That Friday, the DHS Privacy Office publicly highlighted a provision of the guidance
for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) grant program that relates to fusion centers. The grant program requires fusion centers to certify compliance with the privacy and civil liberties guidelines
of the Information Sharing Environment (ISE).
Under the DHS grant guidelines, fusion centers must certify that their privacy and civil liberties protections are as comprehensive as the ISE Guidelines within six months of the grant award. To make this certification, the fusion centers must have had their privacy policies reviewed and on file with the ISE Privacy Guidelines Committee. Otherwise, the grant funds for fusion centers may be used only to develop the fusion centers’ privacy protections.
Fusion centers and other domestic intelligence agencies have been the subject of several high-profile civil liberties controversies within the past year.
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