Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher issued a long-awaited directive March 7 to clarify the agency's use-of-force policy. Don't fire weapons at moving vehicles or in response to rock-throwing, the directive (.pdf) says – not unless there's grounds for believing that "an immediate danger of death of serious injury" exists.
The Homeland Security Department finalized a rule Friday to prevent sexual abuse in its detention facilities by adding training for officers who work in detention facilities and boosting audit standards.
Technology has allowed law enforcement and intelligence to expand surveillance not just because it has lowered costs but because they encounter less resistance from judges and companies, Christopher Soghoian of the American Civil Liberties Union said.
A component of the Homeland Security Department wants the private sector to build a nationwide database of license plates and zoomed-out photos of their cars, shows a Feb. 12 solicitation notice.
Civil libertarians had two technology case court setbacks in late December, with separate federal judges dismissing constitutional challenges to the National Security Agency telephony metadata program and to suspicionless searches of electronic devices at border crossings.
Plaintiffs who challenged an Alabama immigration law reached a settlement with the state Oct. 29 that permanently blocks parts of the law. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found several provisions unconstitutional in two rulings in August 2012. The law, known as HB 56, was signed into law in 2011.
A bill introduced Oct. 29 in the House and the Senate would restrict intelligence community data collection and storage, although intelligence officials that same day continued their defense of the status quo, with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warning a House panel of "potential negative long-term impact of overcorrecting the authorizations granted to the intelligence community."
Police body cameras could serve as a check against police abuse of powers as long as privacy policies are put in place, an Oct. 9 American Civil Liberties Union paper says. When a New York judge found that the NYPD's stop and frisk tactics violated the constitution, one of the remedies was for the department to begin testing wearable police cameras.
A special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is set to begin work Nov. 1. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that Paul Lewis, currently the minority general counsel for the House Armed Services Committee, was chosen for the role. One hundred sixty-four prisoners remain at Guantanamo Bay, some of whom have been cleared for release since the mid-2000s.
On Sept. 25, CBP announced a range of actions it has begun to take or plans to take to address use-of-force issues. Video cameras on Border Patrol agents and expanded basic training are among the possibilities. Eventually, CBP plans to pilot the use of cameras mounted on its agents and their vehicles to reduce use of force and also protect employees against false allegations.