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    DHS Privacy Office Releases Latest Quarterly Report (FY 2013)

    The Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office has released its “First Quarter Fiscal Year 2013 Report to Congress” (pdf). The report covers activities from Sept. 1, 2012 to Nov. 30, 2012. The quarterly report is required under Section 803 of the “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Commission Act).” The report includes:

    • Number and types of privacy reviews of Department actions undertaken;
    • Type of advice provided and the response given to such advice; and
    • Number and nature of privacy complaints received by DHS for alleged violations along with a summary of the disposition of such complaints.

    In addition, we include information and data on privacy training and awareness activities conducted by the Department to help prevent privacy incidents.

    The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will provide a separate report regarding civil liberties.

    The privacy reviews, which number 199 for the quarter, include:

    • Privacy Threshold Analyses (PTA), the DHS foundational mechanism for reviewing IT systems, programs, and other activities for privacy protection issues to determine whether a more comprehensive analysis is necessary through the Privacy Impact Assessment process;
    • Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA), as required under the E-Government Act, the Homeland Security Act, and DHS policy;
    • System of Records Notices (SORN), as required under the Privacy Act8 and associated Privacy Act exemptions;
    • Privacy Act Statements, as required under the Privacy Act10 to provide notice to individuals at the point of collection;
    • Computer Matching Agreements, as required under the Privacy Act;
    • Data Mining Reports, as required by Section 804 of the 9/11 Commission Act;
    • Privacy Compliance Reviews, per the authority granted to the DHS Chief Privacy Officer by the Homeland Security Act.

    Among the Privacy Impact Assessments are ones on: “the Rapid Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) System to meet a need stated by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify family relationships (kinship) in refugee immigration processes”; “The Beyond the Border entry/exit program will expand the sharing of border crossing information with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) by exchanging biographic, travel document, and other border crossing information collected from individuals entering the United States from Canada and, vice versa, at land ports of entry;” and DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the State of Oklahoma’s “Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) project to test and evaluate Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) for potential use by the first responder community and DHS operational components. SUAS includes small aircraft that are operated using a wireless ground control station (GCS). These aircraft are equipped with sensors and cameras that can capture images and transmit them to a ground control system to provide aerial views of emergency situations and for situational awareness.”

    Read the full report (pdf).

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