Wednesday, February 13, 2002
EPIC FILES FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUESTS
ON VIDEO SPY SYSTEM IN NATION's CAPITAL
WASHINGTON, DC - The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
today filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests with
federal agencies and the District of Columbia to uncover details
about a new system of video surveillance in the Nation's capital.
Marc Rotenberg, the Executive Director of EPIC, said, "We are
going to find out everything we can about this system: Who is the
contractor? What is the cost? What data will be collected and who
will have access to it? This system implicates the freedoms of DC
residents, visitors to our nation's capital, and the words inscribed
in many of our national monuments."
According to the DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, the
Washington, DC metropolitan area hosted 17.6 million domestic
visitors and 1.6 million international visitors in 2000.
FOIA requests went to the Washington Metropolitan Police Department,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and the
Department of Defense. Subsequent requests may be sent to other
federal and state agencies.
Mr. Rotenberg said that the creation of a system of public
surveillance in the city that has been the site of historic
political rallies, the civil rights marches of the 1960s,
Presidential addresses, and Martin Luther's King's I Have a Dream
speech should not be tolerated.
"Washington is a city that has welcomed public protest and debate.
That should not change. The capital of the United States should not
become the crucible for hi-tech surveillance," said Rotenberg.
EPIC has pursued many successful requests for public records held by
government agencies. In one case, EPIC obtained records that
disclosed the technical capability of the Carnivore surveillance
system. Another request revealed the Secret Service's involvement in
the development of face recognition technology.
Information about the most recent EPIC FOIA request is available at
the EPIC web site - www.epic.org.