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NARA Responds to Controversial ICE Records Destruction Request

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Source:  libraryjournal.com

by Lisa Peet

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has requested that National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Records Management sign off on a records retention schedule that would potentially destroy detainee records in 11 item categories, including accounts of solitary confinement, assault, sexual abuse, and investigations into deaths in ICE custody. Proposed retention periods ranged from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for solitary confinement reports; this means that records dating back to ICE’s founding in 2003 could be destroyed as early as 2023.

All federal agencies periodically propose a retention schedule for a series of records to NARA, to determine which must be retained permanently in the National Archives and which can be considered temporary—and how long temporary records must be retained before they can be destroyed. NARA staff reviews each submission, typically meeting with agency subject matter experts, before the records schedule is approved by the Archivist of the United States.

In addition to deciding which records have lasting historical or research value and warrant permanent retention, NARA reviews the retention periods proposed for temporary records to ensure that those spans protect the legal rights of both the Government and private parties. Public input on the proposed schedules is mandated by law, and is solicited through comments on a notice posted to the Federal Register.

ICE’s proposed schedule DAA-0567-2015-0013, submitted in October 2015, represented a new request for the disposition of unscheduled records, rather than a change to an existing schedule. Since it was posted to the Federal Register on July 14, 2017, it has garnered an unprecedented number of comments, received substantial attention in the media, and raised concerns among archivists, historians, and civil liberties organizations.

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5 Ways DHS Violates the Constitution with Website Domain Seizures

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David Makarewicz, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Last week, Bryan McCarthy, the 32 year old operator of ChannelSurfing.net, was arrested on charges of criminal copyright infringement.  ChannelSurfing.net was one of the streaming sports sites that had its domain seized by federal authorities shortly before the Super Bowl as part of the “In Our Sites” program, run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Prior to the seizure, McCarthy reportedly made more than $90,000 from advertisements on his site.

This arrest has once again raised questions about the In Our Sites program, in which the Government has seized thousands of domains accused, but not convicted, of copyright infringement, illegal streaming of sporting events, selling black market goods and distributing child pornography.  Critics ranging from bloggers to individual rights advocates to Senators have questioned the constitutionality of these seizures.

The most serious constitutional issues arise because the Government does not provide any notice to the domain owners prior to seizing them.  One moment, their normal site is up at their web address, the next moment, all that is up at their web address is a DHS/ICE seal.  Without knowing what they have been accused of or having the opportunity to defend their site, the Government has repurposed the owners’ private property.

In order to seize the domain names without notice to the owners, the Government uses a procedure that permits it to bring an action directly against a piece of property used in the commission of a crime–in this case the domain name–rather than the owner.  This type of action (called an “In Rem” forfeiture) is not new.  In the past, the government has used In Rem actions for purposes such as an action against an automobile used to transport bootleg whiskey. READ FULL ARTICLE

DHS Seizes Websites for Merely LINKING to Copyrighted Material

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Eric Blair
Activist Post

Apparently the Department of Homeland Security is now authorized to rewrite and enforce copyright infringement laws.  In a stunning precedent, the recent round of domain seizures to shut down websites that allowed illegal streaming of the Super Bowl also included a few other websites that were seized simply for linking to infringing content. More

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