Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DHS Not Very Reassuring On Its Plans to Gather Banking Data

Jacob Goodwin writes on GSN.com:

DHS has issued final rules which enable it to exempt certain information contained in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) from some provisions of the Privacy Act because the information it might obtain from such SARs could be very beneficial to the government in its pursuit of criminal, civil and administrative enforcement matters.

However, the U.S. financial industry, which attempts to support such initiatives by DHS to gather terrorism-related information, raised specific concerns during the comment period about the possible release of sensitive proprietary information under the Freedom of Information Act. DHS was not very reassuring to the financial services industry in the final rule it published in the Federal Register on Dec. 21.

For example, BITS, a membership organization of financial services vendors who own or operate critical infrastructure information systems, asked DHS whether it planned to gather SARs related exclusively to information about “physical security threats,” or whether it also plans to gather SARs generated under the Bank Secrecy Act about suspect financial transactions and money-laundering activities. After explaining that DHS participates in a nationwide effort to collect and assess SARs -- in an initiative which is overseen by the Department of Justice -- DHS noted on Dec. 21 that the SARs it intends to collect “are not limited to physical security threats.”

 More here.


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