Although NSA spying remains the most high-profile violation of privacy, state & federal governments work together to conduct surveillance in many ways. As a result, efforts to protect privacy at the state and local level have a significant spillover effect.
While most of these state bills focus exclusively on state and local activities, and do not apply directly federal agencies, the legislation throws a high hurdle in front of some federal programs.
Much of the funding for surveillance programs at the state and local level comes from the federal government. In return, federal agencies tap into the information gathered by state and local law enforcement through fusion centers and a federal program known as the information sharing environment.
According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators… have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant.
The federal government encourages and funds a network of spy at the state and local level across the U.S., thereby gaining access to a massive data pool on Americans without having to expend the resources to collect the information itself.
In a nutshell, without state & local cooperation, the feds have a much more difficult time gathering information. This represents a major blow to the surveillance state and a win for privacy.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your state rep AND senator – give them the model legislation below (you can download each as pdf), and urge them to introduce the best one for your state. Find your legislators’ contact info at this link.