Noting that the Illinois State Police (ISP) are not responding to lawful requests for documents under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois today asked a state court in Chicago to compel the police agency to turn over records about the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center (STIC). STIC is Illinois' "fusion center," an entity that integrates the gathering, storage, sharing, and analysis of information about suspected criminal activity among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in Illinois. Fusion centers have been a focal point for controversy because they collect and share massive amounts of personal information about members of the public, often without adequate safeguards, oversight, and transparency.
"It is dangerous when government – at any level – operates in secret," said Adam Schwartz, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Illinois. "It is more dangerous here since the activities of fusion centers around the nation raise serious concerns about centralizing unchecked authority in a single agency. Combining unchecked authority with secrecy is bound to lead to abuse."