City Hall Hustle: Confusion Center
Oh, the devil's in the details of collecting regional intelligence
As proposed, the data-crunching clearinghouse is supposed to be less intrusive than some of its siblings around the country. Fusion failures elsewhere include the North Central Texas Fusion System, which singled out for scrutiny anti-war protesters and Muslim civil rights orgs, and the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which pointed to Ron Paul bumper stickers and beliefs in the discredited NAFTA "superhighway" conspiracy theory as signs of potential trouble. (Uninformed? Decidedly. Dangerous? Probably not.) By contrast, ARIC proponents, including Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo, have repeatedly claimed there must be a "criminal predicate" for information to appear in our center: arrests and incident reports, with no private data-mining of purchases, travel, and the like. But while that's all well and good, a discrepancy between an interlocal agreement among fusion center agencies and a policy to prevent privacy abuses has some wondering whether the ARIC's promises are worth the paper they're printed on.
Ko "would probably say it's 50% done, and others would say it's 90% done," Shade says. "In any case, it's not done yet."
Council's meeting this week is canceled; it next convenes on May 27. For more council copy, visit the Daily Hustle at austinchronicle.com/tdh.