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    DHS Privacy Office Releases 2011 Datamining Report to Congress

    The Department of Homeland Security has released the “2011 Data Mining Report to Congress” (pdf). In a news release, the DHS Privacy Office said, “The Federal Agency Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007 requires DHS to report annually to Congress on DHS activities that meet the Act’s definition of data mining. For each identified activity, the Act requires DHS to provide 1) a thorough description of the activity; 2) the technology and methodology used; 3) the sources of data used; 4) an analysis of the activity’s efficacy; 5) the legal authorities supporting the activity; and 6) an analysis of the activity’s impact on privacy and the protections in place to protect privacy.”

    Here’s information from the executive summary:

    In the 2010 DHS Data Mining Report, the DHS Privacy Office discussed three DHS programs that engage in activities that meet the Data Mining Reporting Act’s definition of data mining: 1) the Automated Targeting System (ATS) Inbound (now called ATS-N), Outbound (now called ATS-AT), and Passenger (ATS-P) modules administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); 2) the Data Analysis and Research for Trade Transparency System (DARTTS) administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and 3) the Freight Assessment System (FAS) administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

    This year’s report, covering the period December 2010 through November 2011, presents the complete descriptions of ATS-N, ATS-AT, and ATS-P, and DARTTS provided in the 2010 DHS Data Mining Report, with updates on modifications, additions, or other developments that have occurred in the current reporting year. This year’s report also includes a new section on the Land module of ATS (ATS-Land), which now uses vehicle licensing information and ATS risk-based rules to assess the risk posed by vehicles and their occupants at U.S. land borders, and a brief summary of CBP’s Analytical Framework for Intelligence (AFI), a strategic intelligence program currently in development.

    The DHS Privacy Office has also identified three new uses of ATS by DHS Components in conjunction with CBP that are discussed below: the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) pilot (a joint effort of CBP and TSA); the DHS Overstay Initiative Pilot (involving ICE, the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT), and CBP); and TSA’s Secure Flight Program’s use of ATS-P. Additional information on Secure Flight is being provided to Congress in a separate annex to this report that contains Sensitive Security Information.

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