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surveillance

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Street Level Surveillance: Biometrics FOIA Campaign

Police departments are increasingly tracking your face, your fingerprints, your tattoos — and even your DNA. Help the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock uncover how local agencies are tracking you and bring some much-needed transparency to the murky world of biometric surveillance.

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The Spy In Your Pocket

Cell phone surveillance technology has outpaced policy and public awareness. MuckRock is investigating precisely how law enforcement across the country use cell phones to locate and track individuals.

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CVE Watch

The programs being designed and implemented across the country under the auspices of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) have drawn fire from Muslim community members and civil rights activists. They are criticized for unfairly targeting Muslims, being used for surveillance under the pretext of community outreach, and being based on an unfounded theory of radicalization. Despite the heavy criticism CVE has been subjected to, there remain lingering questions about precisely which communities are targeted, what research (and which experts) agencies are relying on for their approaches, how (or if) government agencies are planning to safeguard civil liberties, which community leaders are being supported and for what reasons, etc. By making the relevant government documents public, we hope to help answer some of these questions.

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Cell Site Simulator Census

A nationwide census of cellphone surveillance equipment use and policy.

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FBI file shows just how easy it was for governments to listen in each other's phone calls in the '50s

FBI file shows just how easy it was for governments to listen in each other’s phone calls in the ‘50s

A heavily redacted section of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file on Technical Security Surveys shows just how easy it was for embassies to tap government phones in the mid-’50s. After discovering that the French were listening in on the White House, the FBI to uncovered dozens of phone lines belonging to the governments of American allies that were vulnerable to Communist governments. While securing these lines, a phone tap on the Soviet United Nations delegation had to be pulled - leaving the Bureau with no choice but to go through the Italian embassy.

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The interagency CACTUS program served as the conduit between CIA’s Operation CHAOS and FBI’s COINTELPRO

The interagency CACTUS program served as the conduit between CIA’s Operation CHAOS and FBI’s COINTELPRO

A little known but extremely important part of the history of domestic surveillance by intelligence agencies is the CACTUS program. CACTUS was a highly classified channel used by agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to transmit information about “the New Left, Black Militants and related matters.” This channel was never disclosed in the Church Committee reports, even when the reports discuss information that was transmitted through CACTUS.

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Thanks to FOIA, you can (kinda) play the CIA's collectible card game

Thanks to FOIA, you can (kinda) play the CIA’s collectible card game

Earlier this year, the Central Intelligence Agency hosted a panel at South by Southwest about the agency’s use of board games as a training exercise. Intrigued, MuckRock’s Mitchell Kotler filed a FOIA for materials used to play Collection Deck, a collectible card game shown in the presentation. Those materials just came in, and while there’s nothing to stop you from printing them out and playing, there just one tiny snag: several of the cards are redacted as a matter of national security.

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Five reasons Harpo Marx is my FBI file crush

Five reasons Harpo Marx is my FBI file crush

As part of an ongoing series on MuckRock staff’s infatuation with figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation file project, Caitlin Russell lists five reasons why Bureau surveillance records shows there’s room for just one Marx in her life. Well, two.

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Revisiting the Cell Site Simulator Census

Revisiting the Cell Site Simulator Census

With a New York Judge upgrading the warrant requirement for a cell site simulator from probable cause to eavesdropping, it is important to take a look back at our census and the data researchers have compiled about these invasive surveillance tools.

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