University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement IM-DC-0047
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-00797-CKK ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On April 9, 2018, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed this complaint against defendant U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). EPIC alleged that ICE had failed to timely respond to its FOIA request for records concerning "ICE’ ... read more >
On April 9, 2018, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed this complaint against defendant U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). EPIC alleged that ICE had failed to timely respond to its FOIA request for records concerning "ICE’s purchase and use of mobile forensics devices and technology." EPIC sought injunctive relief under FOIA so as to have the responsive records released. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

EPIC argued that one of ICE's law enforcement activities was "conducting warrantless electronic device searches 'without individualized suspicion,'" and that such searches have increased at the border. EPIC contended that such searches included text messages, private emails, contact lists, photographs, and other personal information. In order to conduct such searches, the complaint stated that ICE entered into contracts with mobile forensic technology providers, such as Cellebrite, which provided the technology for accessing the desired information on electronic devices. EPIC argued that "ICE’s data retrieval techniques for mobile devices pose significant threats to privacy" by allowing ICE to gather personal information without suspicion or a warrant. Further, EPIC argued, it was not clear what happens to this gathered information after it was in ICE's possession.

A joint status report filed on July 12, 2018 indicated that the government would start producing records on a rolling basis within a month. A September status report indicated that the production and its review were ongoing. A November status report indicated the production was complete and that EPIC was reviewing it.

The case is ongoing.

Virginia Weeks - 05/30/2018
Virginia Weeks - 11/15/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Immigration/Border
Border police
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a nonprofit organization that has a goal of highlighting for the public issues related to privacy and civil rights. EPIC's work includes oversight and analysis of government activities.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-797 (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0047-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/13/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0047-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (D.D.C., FISC)
IM-DC-0047-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Butler, Alan (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0047-0001 | IM-DC-0047-9000
Rotenberg, Marc (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0047-0001 | IM-DC-0047-9000
Scott, Jeramie D. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0047-0001 | IM-DC-0047-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Rogers, Joshua L (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0047-9000

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