Department of Homeland Security Data-Mining System That Invaded Privacy To Be StoppedSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Department of Homeland Security Data-Mining System That Invaded Privacy To Be Stopped
 


28 August 2007 at 11:33:53 AM
salon

You know, as I was reading this, I was thinking about WHO's been in charge of DHS and hoping against hope that Bush the Buffoon doesn't replace Gonzales the Incompetent with Chertoff the Intrusive. The article here says that the DHS excuse for these privacy-crushing data-mining systems is that there was confusion in the department. Oh, and WHO was heading it?

From late 2004 until mid-2006, a little-known data-mining computer system developed by the US Department of Homeland Security to hunt terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and biological weapons sifted through Americans' personal data with little regard for federal privacy laws.

Now the $42 million cutting-edge system, designed to process trillions of pieces of data, has been halted and could be canceled pending data-privacy reviews, according to a newly released report to Congress by the DHS's own internal watchdog.

Data mining to help fight the war on terror has become an accepted, even mandated, method to provide timely security information. The DHS operates at least a dozen such programs; intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense employ many others.

I believe it would be a good idea to have a public discussion about those other programs and whether datamining actually ought to be accepted or even *mandated*.

But ADVISE (Analy­sis, Dissemina­tion, Visu­ali­zation, Insight and Semantic Enhance­ment) was special. An electronic omnivore conceived in 2003, it was designed to ingest information from scores of databases, blogs, e-mail traffic, intelligence reports, and other sources, government documents and researchers say.

Yet ADVISE, whose existence and scope were first detailed by the Monitor in February 2006, seems to have run afoul of its own ambitious scope. It failed to incorporate federal privacy laws into its system design. From its earliest days, the system's pilot programs used "live data, including personally identifiable information, from multiple sources in attempts to identify potential terrorist activity," but without taking steps required by federal law and DHS's own internal guidelines to keep that data from being misused, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) said in a June report to Congress, which was made public Aug. 13.

In his report to Congress, publicly released earlier this month, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner revealed that:

•From late 2004 to mid-2006, three ADVISE pilot programs – one focused on biological threats, another on weapons of mass destruction, and a third classified program to identify emerging threats – were not mere test beds working out technical bugs. Instead, they were "operational" and used "personally identifiable" data, without having conducted any privacy-risk assessments.

Again, isn't that the responsibility of the man RUNNING DHS to make sure of these things? LIke Michael Chertoff?

All three pilot programs were quietly halted in March pending formal privacy impact assessments on the vulnerability of personal data. A privacy impact assessment is a type of information audit that ensures that government is only using personal information when it is necessary and lawful to be revealed.

Yeah. Once they were caught doing this.

•While submissions were made to begin the process, full-blown "privacy impact assessments" of the three programs did not begin until early 2007 – about two years after they became operational and began hunting terrorists, the OIG's office reported. It also said the March shutdown to assess privacy implications has damaged ADVISE's prospects, giving rise to skepticism within DHS about the utility and cost of the program and leaving it "at risk" of cancellation by 2008.

Because they're probably BREAKING THE LAW.. just like the rest of Bush's administration.


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