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    DHS Privacy Office Releases Annual Datamining Report

    The Department of Homeland Security has released the “2012 Data Mining Report to Congress” (pdf). The DHS Privacy Office said, “The Federal Agency Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ee-3, 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 the following: (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 more from the report’s executive summary:

    In the 2011 DHS Data Mining Report, the DHS Privacy Office discussed the following Department programs that engage in data mining, as defined by the Data Mining Reporting Act:

    (1) The Automated Targeting System (ATS), which is administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and includes modules for inbound (ATS-N) and outbound (ATS- AT) cargo, land border crossings (ATS-L), and passengers (ATS-P); and

    (2) The Data Analysis and Research for Trade Transparency System (DARTTS), which is administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    This year’s report, covering the period December 2011 through December 2012, presents the complete descriptions of ATS-N, ATS-AT, ATS-L, ATS-P, and DARTTS provided in the 2011 DHS Data Mining Report, with updates on modifications, additions, and other developments that have occurred in the current reporting year, including use of ATS by DHS components other than CBP. In addition, the DHS Privacy Office has identified two new uses of ATS that are discussed below: the vetting of non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications in ATS-P for the U.S. Department of State; and the United States Coast Guard’s Interagency Operations Center ATS-Enhanced Watchkeeper System. The 2011 Report included a brief summary of CBP’s Analytical Framework for Intelligence (AFI), which was then in development. This year’s report includes a detailed description of AFI as an operational system. Additional information on DARTTS and on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight Program’s use of ATS is being provided separately to Congress in two annexes to this report that contain Law Enforcement Sensitive Information and Sensitive Security Information, respectively.

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