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Central Texas to get police intel center

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Police agencies in Central Texas will routinely exchange data about crimes and suspects with the coming of a "fusion center," officials say.

A federally funded, multimillion-dollar intelligence center will be established in Austin, Texas, one of dozens of such centers across the nation, the Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday.

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Under the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, criminal investigators will gain more access to confidential information about suspects or criminal organizations, with the ability to read reports from neighboring departments showing any involvement suspects may have had with police there, the newspaper said.

Critics, however, say some of the regional intelligence centers violate people's civil rights, such as in Maryland, where such intelligence sharing was used to spy on peace activists and anti-death penalty protesters, documents show.

"Clearly not all fusion centers are engaging in improper intelligence activities and not all fusion center operations raise civil liberties or privacy concerns," an American Civil Liberties Union report on the centers said. "But some do."

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