The Lady Speaks

Welcome to BushWorld

“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…”

“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

— George Orwell, 1984

From the Washington Post and Associated Press, in the Seattle Times:

Privacy advocates and business travelers Friday called on the federal government to scrap a Department of Homeland Security data-mining program that creates terrorism-risk assessments for every traveler entering or leaving the United States.

[…]

The Automated Targeting System (ATS), which has evaluated millions of Americans without their knowledge, began as a means of screening cargo but quietly was expanded in recent years to screen travelers and create risk profiles that will be retained for 40 years.

Customs officials say the program is necessary to protect the American public.

Travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, and some or all data in the system can be shared with state, local and foreign governments for use in hiring, contracting and licensing decisions. Courts and even private contractors can obtain data under certain circumstances.

[…]

The program, which singles out travelers for extra attention by customs officials, first was revealed days before the Nov. 7 elections in a Washington Post story published by The Seattle Times, after a notice describing it appeared in the Federal Register. Reaction was muted until The Associated Press reported on the issue Thursday.

Air passengers have been scrutinized for risks for 10 years, while assessments of some land-border crossers have been conducted for about two years, a Customs and Border Protection official said.

[…]

Government officials asserted that creating a vast database over time on travelers — including those who are law-abiding — will help analysts build models of normal and suspicious behavior. Ahern said there are 309 million land and sea border crossings and 87 million air border crossings each year — more than 95 percent for lawful reasons.

From the Privacy Impact Assessment for the Automated Targeting System:

Section 7.0 Individual Access, Redress and Correction

The following questions are directed at an individual’s ability to ensure the accuracy of the information collected about them.

7.1 What are the procedures which allow individuals to gain access to their own information?

Procedures for individuals to gain access to data maintained in source systems that provide data used by ATS would be covered by the respective SORNs for the source systems. In addition, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552) provides a means of access to information, including PNR data, for all persons, irrespective of the individual’s status under the Privacy Act.

With respect to data for which ATS is the actual source system (e.g., PNR), the applicable SORN is published at Volume 71, Federal Register 64543 (November 2, 2006). FOIA requests for access to information for which ATS is the source system may be directed to CBP in the manner prescribed by regulations at Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 103. With respect to the data that ATS creates, i.e., the risk assessment for an individual, the risk assessment is for official law enforcement use only and is not communicated outside of CBP staff, nor is it subject to access under the Privacy Act. ATS is a system that supports CBP law enforcement activities, as such an individual might not be aware of the reason additional scrutiny is taking place, nor should he or she as this may compromise the means and methods of how CBP came to require further scrutiny. Additional screening may occur because of a heightened risk assessment, or because of other concerns by the CBP officer, or on a random basis. If a reviewing officer determines that a person is not a match to a record or the record is determined to not be accurate, CBP has a policy in place which permits the officer to promptly initiate corrective action with regard to that record to avoid that person being identified for examination during future entry or exit processing based on that erroneous information.

7.2 What are the procedures for correcting erroneous information?

CBP has created a Customer Satisfaction Unit in its Office of Field Operations to provide redress with respect to inaccurate information collected or maintained by its electronic systems, which include ATS, TECS, IBIS, and APIS). Inquiries to the Customer Satisfaction Unit should be addressed to: Customer Satisfaction Unit, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Room 5.5C, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229. Individuals making inquiries should provide sufficient information to identify the record at issue. [all emphasis mine]

You aren’t allowed to know what your file contains or the “score” you generated – or even whether or not you have a file and/or a score – so just how in the hell are you supposed to write to the “Customer Satisfaction Unit” [I love the Orwellian name] and ask them to correct the erroneous information they have about you???

Face it folks. We’re all in Guantanamo now.

What information is the ATS program collecting about you? Read the list at the Huffington Post.

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December 2, 2006 - Posted by | America, Books, Bush, Constitution, Domestic Spying, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence

4 Comments »

  1. Attention Comrade,
    Please visit http://ministryoflove.wordpress.com to learn more about our creative protest of the Military Commissions Act. We are sending a copy of 1984 to every Congressperson who voted for it.
    Regards,
    O’Brien

    Comment by ministryoflove | December 3, 2006 | Reply

  2. Personally, I dont understand how people dont get this but thats another story

    Comment by free master | December 17, 2006 | Reply

  3. I wont blog about this anylonger. I am so tired of the war, the holidays, the government and real estate. Its a no win. I need a lexapro i think hahaha. I mean seriously. How much more can we take. My insurance went up over 120% this year by itself. My mortgage alone jumped 400 per month. Heck, I was already working hard to ccover it before the increases. Geeeeesh….

    I have to have faith that charlie christ will help as out new governor.

    Comment by mcclow | December 18, 2006 | Reply

  4. You have a nice blog. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks!

    Britney

    Comment by Britney | April 4, 2007 | Reply


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