Chet Edwards (US Dist 17) Voted for Automated Tracking System, Part of HR 1684Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Chet Edwards (US Dist 17) Voted for Automated Tracking System, Part of HR 1684

13 May 2007 at 5:12:25 PM

Already know that Edwards is all for biometrics, but didn't know what ATS is.

6. Automated Tracking System: Voted, 264-160, to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to employ the Automated Tracking System at all monitored entry points into the United States. The vote occurred during debate on HR 1684 (above). The system is a database of personal travel data that assesses whether travelers, including American citizens, pose a terrorist threat. A yes vote backed the ATS. (Edwards voted yes)

So what exactly is it? From Wikipedia.

The Automated Targeting System or ATS is a United States Department of Homeland Security computerized system that for every person who crosses U.S. borders scrutinizes a large volume of data related to that person (see below), and then automatically assigns a rating for which the expectation is that it helps gauge whether this person may be placed within a risk group of terrorists or other criminals.

These ratings take many details into account, such as country of origin, how travel to the U.S. was funded, and the visitor's driving record. Other more mundane details also factor in, such as where the person is sitting on the flight and what they ordered for their meal.

The existence of such a system was first discovered by the public in November 2006, when a mention of it appeared in the Federal Register. The system was first implemented in the late 1990s, and was significantly expanded shortly after the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.

It sounds like the TSA program... on steroids.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) requested an immediate suspension of the program, stating:

While ATS is undoubtedly raising red flags among privacy advocates and other groups that question the legality and intent of such programs, ACTE is primarily concerned with the economic impact this initiative will have on the business travel community. Delays, missed flights, canceled meetings, and potential arrests will generate staggering costs. In an ACTE survey dating to 2004, 97 percent of respondents stated that programs like this will have a negative impact on travel. This could very will be the impetus for businesses to fully explore alternatives to travel.[2]

Bruce Schneier, noted security specialist and writer, wrote about ATS:

There is something un-American about a government program that uses secret criteria to collect dossiers on innocent people and shares that information with various agencies, all without any oversight. It's the sort of thing you'd expect from the former Soviet Union or East Germany or China. And it doesn't make us any safer from terrorism.[3]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed their concerns:

The Automated Targeting System (ATS) will create and assign "risk assessments" to tens of millions of citizens as they enter and leave the country. Individuals will have no way to access information about their "risk assessment" scores or to correct any false information about them. But once the assessment is made, the government will retain the information for 40 years -- as well as make it available to untold numbers of federal, state, local, and foreign agencies in addition to contractors, grantees, consultants, and others.[4]

I notice that the EFF has filed suit against DHS late last year. I don't know what the status of that suit is, but one wonders why our government is rushing so fast to emnualte Old Soviet Russia.

There were 66 Democrats who voted with the Republicans to pass this., besides Chet Edwards. I EXPECT the Republicans to vote for a Police State, but WHY DEMOCRATS?

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