The ACLU's Privacy SOS presented a great article about why "it's time to pull the plug on fusion centers!" While it's well-known that Microsoft has a great and long-standing relationship with government, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies, Privacy SOS pointed out the interesting tidbit that Microsoft helps pay for fusions centers. Fusion Centers, in turn, give out grants to police departments for new surveillance technologies.
A bipartisan Senate investigation and report previously found that fusion centers are basically 'useless' in countering terrorism, but 'troubling' when it came to violating the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. citizens. DHS did not want to share a 2010 assessment of fusion centers with the Senate Subcommittee, reported Privacy SOS, but "did so after the DHS obtained the 'consent' of a 'private, non-governmental organization, the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA), which supposedly had the authority to represent the 68 centers subject to review'."
When the Domain Awareness System launched in August, you may recall that Microsoft helped the NYPD launch the crime and terrorism prevention system that was compared to being like Minority Report and an all-seeing Big Brother. In fact, at that time, it was revealed that Microsoft has been quietly becoming one of the world's largest intelligence solution providers. In light of the Privacy SOS revelations about Microsoft providing funds to fusion centers, which don't provide actionable intelligence to combat terrorism, but do violate civil liberties, Microsoft's favorite quote to me, "your privacy is very important to us," seems especially hard to swallow. That is unless you buy into the theory that America is overrun with potential terrorists or believe all the ridiculous you-might-be-a-terrorist-if lists of innocent behaviors actually being so dangerous? It's very aggravating that pro-surveillance people claim that anyone complaining about it is basically against stopping terrorists or other criminals. That's a bunch of BS...