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LAPD agrees to change terrorism database amid complaints

May 18, 2012 |  2:22 pm

Responding to concerns over possible privacy invasions, the Los Angeles Police Department has agreed to change the way it collects information on suspected terrorist activity.

The department, after coming under fire from civil-liberties and community groups, will no longer keep so-called Suspicious Activity Reports once the department's counter-terrorism unit determines the incident in question was harmless.

Until now, the department was storing the innocuous reports in a database for a year. That gave rise to worries among critics of the reporting program that personal information about people who had done nothing wrong could be entered inappropriately into the federal government's vast network of counter-terrorism databases and watch lists.

"It was a legitimate point,"  said Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who oversees the LAPD's  counter-terrorism operation.

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--Joel Rubin

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