Thomas Kitchin

Hi. Today I went to the store, which is right across the street from where a local municipal “Taste of <redacted>“, an annual summer eating event, is taking place.

I notice a large white shed on pneumatic scaffolding which elevates it 70-80 feet in the air, branded with a Homeland Security logo, and covered in cameras in the store parking lot. First thing after all this I noticed is that there was a large camera aimed at the entrance to the store. The camera and I exchanged looks in fact: until I realized just what the hell I was doing and quickly turned around and got inside.

This bothers me deeply. Since when has all this surveillance made us safer from anything? Are these not the same people who are claiming they can predict whether a subject under surveillance will commit a crime, when the algorithms are themselves discredited pseudo-s ience on the same level as phrenology?

I want to know everything: why they were there, who agreed to it, what surveillance tech they were using, how much it cost, everything. How should I approach this? Which agencies should I FOIA? What should I ask for?

Jack R-W

I’d suggest working on the local angle first. Local police and the city definitely had some sort of contact with DHS before this device was setup. Request all emails between your local agencies and @dhs.gov emails, then use the information you learn from the emails to send a request to the DHS.

Michael Morisy

Jack’s suggestion is a good starting point. I’d also look at documents from nearby Fusion Centers. A lot of times this kind of equipment is overseen by these state-managed entities rather than DHS itself, and they’re often easier to get documents out of.

This guide on [FOIA and protests](https://www.muckrock.com/project/after-the-dust-settles-a-guide-to-protest-and-foia-104/) tackles slightly different subject matter but theres probably a lot of overlap in what you’re looking for.

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