December 4, 2006 | By David Sobel

DHS "Targeting" Program Attracts Scrutiny -- Comment Period Still Open!

The Department of Homeland Security's attempt to quietly assign "risk assessment" scores to tens of milions of law-abiding American citizens (not to mention foreign nationals) may be approaching a roadblock. According to an Associated Press article:

Incoming Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont pledged greater scrutiny of such government database-mining projects after reading that during the past four years millions of Americans have been evaluated without their knowledge to assess the risks that they are terrorists or criminals.

"Data banks like this are overdue for oversight," said Leahy, who will take over Judiciary in January. "That is going to change in the new Congress."

EFF sounded the alarm on the Automated Targeting System last week, in a press release and formal comments submitted to DHS. The system has now drawn strong criticism from a number of quarters, including the ACLU and the Business Travel Coalition.

Comments can still be submitted to DHS until midnight ET on December 4 at To submit comments, you must enter the appropriate "keyword or ID," which is DHS-2006-0060-0001 (no, they don't make this easy).

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