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A federal judge ruled that the government cannot hide whether it uses social media surveillance tools.

The ACLU sued the DOJ in early 2019, arguing that after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the FBI wrongfully hid information on whether the government has social media surveillance records. Because acknowledging the use of social media surveillance would not reveal specific means of surveillance nor risk national security, Judge Chen ruled against the government, saying this should have been included in the information release. Several other agencies, including USCIS, ICE, and the State Department, have also acknowledged using social media surveillance. The ACLU emphasized that it is important to know the extent and capability of government surveillance, since being unable to speak freely harms immigrants and people of color in particular.

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