November 2, 2006 | By David Sobel

Homeland Security to "Target" Millions in Data-Mining System

The Department of Homeland Security today published a notice in the Federal Register disclosing the existence of a "new system of records" -- the Automated Targeting System (ATS) -- that assigns "risk assessments" to millions of U.S. citizens who seek "to enter or exit the United States" or whose work involves international trade. The system appears to involve the data-mining of massive amounts of information derived from a wide variety of sources, including Passenger Name Record (PNR) data obtained from commercial air carriers.

The "risk assessments" generated by the system will be retained for "up to forty years," according to DHS, in order to "cover the potential lifespan of individuals associated with terrorism or other criminal activity." But wait -- just because you're currently innocent, that doesn't mean you get a free pass. As the notice goes on to explain,

All risk assessments need to be maintained because the risk assessment for individuals who are deemed low risk will be relevant if their risk profile changes in the future, for example, if terrorist associations are identified.

DHS has exempted all of the data contained in the ATS from the "access" and "correction" requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, which means that citizens have no right to learn about their own "risk assessments" or to challenge them. Franz Kafka, call your office . . .


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

In Portland, Oregon? Come meet EFF staffers @amullionaire and @j4cob for a panel discussion TONIGHT

Sign up here: https://www.meetup.com/Portla...

Mar 26 @ 3:04pm

Join @the_zeroth_law, @doctorow, @dane, and David Segal for an AMA on the FCC's privacy rules, Monday at 9am PDT. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA...

Mar 25 @ 6:31pm

EFF brings lessons from its comprehensive Surveillance Self-Defense guide to the San Francisco Public Library. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks...

Mar 25 @ 1:26pm
JavaScript license information