1. Policy Development

1. Policy Development 2. Policy Implementation 3. Operations
4. Compliance
5. Oversight 6. Redress
7. Outreach 8. Coordination 9. SME
  10. Training  

Develop, review, and update P/CRCL Policy

Fusion centers receiving federal financial assistance through the Homeland Security Grant Program must maintain a privacy policy that is at least as comprehensive as the ISE Privacy Guidelines. DHS developed the Fusion Center Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Policy Template (62pp | 1.4mb | PDF) to guide the initial development and subsequent updating of the privacy policy.

The ISE Privacy Guidelines Implementation Manual and DHS Privacy Policy Guidance provide excellent guidance to fusion centers who receive federal funding. Global's Implementing Privacy Policy in Justice Information Sharing (118pp | 2.3mb | PDF) provides a technical framework from which to view your fusion center's P/CRCL Policy. The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (41pp | 1.35mb | PDF) provides much of the basis of the major guidance documents that apply to fusion centers. In addition, the Department of Justice is developing the Justice Entity Guidelines, which will provide additional information on the core functions of P/CRCL Officers in Justice Entities.

A solid foundation in fusion center requirements will assist in developing a strong P/CRCL Policy. The Fusion Center Guidelines (104pp | 4mb | PDF) and Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers (70pp | 5.4mb | PDF) are a good starting point. In addition, short spotlights and lessons learned documents on specific issues related to fusion center operations and policies can be found on the Lessons Learned Information Sharing page.

Global Privacy Resources (16pp | 4.4mb | PDF) provides excellent in-depth documents that fusion centers can utilize in developing their policies and procedures. The Criminal Intelligence Resources Guide (24pp | 2.7mb | PDF) provides a fairly comprehensive list of guidance documents related to fusion centers. Another source of in-depth studies on fusion centers, privacy concerns, and other issues in the ISE is the Naval Postgraduate Academy's thesis depository.

Update P/CRCL Policy

Periodically review and revise your fusion center's privacy policy to reflect changes in the legal environment. To assist, utilize the annual review section of the Policy Review Checklist (40pp | 2mb | PDF).

Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Policy Development Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Justice Entities (194pp | 13mb | PDF), Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Policy Development Template for State, Local, and Tribal Justice Entities (48pp | 1.2mb | PDF), and 7 Steps to a Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Policy (2pp | 855kb | PDF), are practical, hands-on tools for drafting a privacy policy and may provide insight in how to ensure that your fusion center's privacy policy reflects your operational needs.

Once the policy is updated, revisit the resources listed in each stage of the Privacy Program Cycle to ensure that systems and individuals comply with the most current protections established in your privacy policy.

An online repository of current fusion center privacy policies is available from the National Fusion Center Association.


Each fusion center and its governance process is unique. Your fusion center may require policies and procedures to be approved by a governance board. For example, some fusion centers have a P/CRCL subcommittee that will be involved in the development and approval of P/CRCL policies and procedures. To start the conversation about the importance of P/CRCL issues to members of the governance board, the Executive Summary for Justice Decision Makers Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Program Development (4pp | 1.2mb | PDF) document provides a solid primer.

For general information on governance issues in the ISE, the PM-ISE Building Blocks provides a good baseline. DHS also coordinates two federal governance bodies (2pp | 1.2mb | PDF) that provide federal support to fusion centers. While the P/CRCL Officer will likely not directly interact with these governance bodies they may come across guidance that applies to fusion centers.

Monitor Changes in P/CRCL laws

Consult the Justice Information Sharing website for the latest information sharing news, along with sources and analysis related to privacy and civil liberties.

Another excellent mechanism for keeping abreast of new developments in P/CRCL issues is to follow the various Congressional Committees that have oversight over DHS and P/CRCL issues.

Development of Guidance

Opportunities exist for you to share your knowledge and expertise to advance the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. Serving as a mentor to less experienced P/CRCL Officers is one way to increase the capacity of not just another fusion center, but of the entire National Network.

Consider contributing to the work of the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative or connecting with your colleagues through the National Fusion Center Association. Other peer collaboration opportunities exist through the Justice Information Sharing Practitioners network, the Fusion Center Exchange Program (2pp | 2.7mb | PDF), and dozens of groups specializing in training and technical assistance.

Participation in the Annual Fusion Center Assessment and Gap Mitigation Activities help us collectively assess the state of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections in the fusion center enterprise and identify gaps where additional guidance and standards could be helpful.

Source: The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DHS Privacy Office.
Last date page updated: 08/13/13 (CRCL)

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