University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
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 March 2019 joint status report stated that EPIC had identified several issues in dispute, to which ICE agreed to review the withholdings to resolve or narrow the issues in dispute. After ICE provided the requested documents, EPIC notified it that there were still issues in dispute.

As of the November 2019 status report, ICE had provided EPIC with 60 pages of reprocessed documents that were representative of the issues in dispute. The parties continued to work to resolve issues in the document production without court intervention. In February 2020, the parties notified the court that they had resolved all outstanding issues with the document production and were working towards a settlement on attorneys' fees and costs.

The parties reached an agreement on attorneys' fees and costs in early June 2020. On June 23, 2020, the parties filed a joint stipulation of dismissal, and the court dismissed the case. The documents produced by ICE can be found on EPIC's site, here. This case is closed.

Virginia Weeks - 05/30/2018
Virginia Weeks - 11/15/2018
Aaron Gurley - 11/21/2019
Emily Kempa - 03/05/2021


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
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 Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Document/information produced
Attorneys fees
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 04/09/2018
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  EPIC v. ICE (Mobile Forensics)
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Date: Mar. 19, 2019
By: Electronic Privacy Information Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
06/23/2020
1:18-cv-797
IM-DC-0047-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
04/09/2018
Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0047-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Butler, Alan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-0001 | IM-DC-0047-9000
Rotenberg, Marc (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-0001 | IM-DC-0047-9000
Scott, Jeramie D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-0001 | IM-DC-0047-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chang, William (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-9000
Coles-Huff, Doris Denise (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-9000
Rogers, Joshua L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0047-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -