Privacy SOS

The Audit by the the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General on its information sharing system and SARs analysis in fusion centers found the following systemic problems:

• Sharing still relied on the strength of personnel relationships in various agencies.

• There was a delay – often of many months – in getting “finished” intelligence reports, and it can take nearly a year before information is disseminated.

• Fusion center analysts sometimes turned to the FBI to share information because the DHS process was so cumbersome.

• The DHS did not always give fusion centers the opportunity to contribute to “finished” intelligence products.

• Tens of thousands of people had accounts to enter the various security levels of the Homeland Security Information Network but many never logged in. 

• Fusion center analysts tended to rely on email and phone calls for “situational awareness” and intelligence sharing because the DHS systems were so difficult to navigate and search and had limited useful content.

• Users complained that there were too many federal information-sharing systems; they were redundant; it was hard to maintain separate names and passwords for each; different portals for sharing information were not integrated; finding time to access multiple systems was a challenge.

© 2020 ACLU of Massachusetts.