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Standard Operating Procedure 303

The federal government must release documents explaining how, when and why it might decide to shut down the nation’s wireless networks because of a “national crisis,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled last week. His ruling came in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in February 2013.

EPIC filed its FOIA request with DHS in July 2012, asking for the full text of Standard Operating Procedure 303, a document approved in March 2006 by the National Communications System (now the Office of Emergency Communications) that codifies “a shutdown and restoration process for use by commercial and private wireless networks during national crises”, but was never released to the public. EPIC also requested the text of the pre-determined “series of questions” that determines if a shutdown is necessary and other supporting documents.


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