On August 11, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in their latest effort to force the U.S. government to reveal information about a cellphone shutdown policy, also known as a “kill switch”.
EPIC has fought for records related to the program since July 2011, when it was revealed that Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials in San Franscico shut down cellular networks during a protest of a murdered homeless man. BART denies blocking cell networks. In July 2012, EPIC submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security to find out more about the procedures governing such actions.
The DHS initially claimed that they were “unable to locate or identify any responsive records.” However, on November 12, 2013, a District Court ruled that the DHS improperly withheld information, specifically information regarding something known as Standard Operating Procedure 303 or SOP 303. The DHS appealed this decision and was once again allowed to withhold records. Now EPIC is taking the fight to the Supreme Court.