Facing EPIC Lawsuit, DHS Suspends Media Monitoring Program
July 11, 2019
As the result of an EPIC lawsuit, the Department of Homeland Security has suspended a controversial effort to track journalists, news outlets, and social media accounts. The "Media Monitoring Services" platform would have included an "unlimited" database of personal information from journalists and media influencers, including location data, contact information, employer affiliations, and past content. EPIC filed suit last year to block the program, arguing that the DHS had failed to complete required Privacy Impact Assessments. In a settlement with EPIC, the agency acknowledged that it was not using the proposed system and agreed to complete required Privacy Impact Assessments before collecting personal data in the future. EPIC also obtained records showing that the DHS ignored the harms that media monitoring would have caused to privacy and press freedoms.