Thursday, July 07, 2005

DHS says US-VISIT program is protecting privacy

Michael Arnone writes in

The Homeland Security Department’s program to screen foreign nationals entering and leaving the country is protecting travelers’ privacy as the program expands, according to a new DHS report.

As the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program expands its capabilities and data sharing with federal law enforcement agencies, it is enlarging the pool of travelers whose personal data is potentially at risk, said Steve Yonkers, US-VISIT’s privacy officer, in a statement about the program’s updated Privacy Impact Assessment.

But US-VISIT mitigates the specific privacy risks associated with its new functionality and increased data sharing “through numerous mitigation efforts, including access controls, education and training, encryption, minimizing collection, and use of personal information,” the report states.

DHS officials revised US-VISIT’s privacy assessment to accommodate changes in the program, including new procedures and technology to track foreign visitors leaving from airports and seaports. Those changes will be introduced by Dec. 31.


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