Every traveler is a target

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revealed the exisitence of an “Automated Targeting System” for all international travelers (and some domestic travelers whose reservations are linked with anyone traveling internationally, as well as other people identified in reservation records) that collects information about travelers including their complete travel reservations, assigns each person a “risk assessment” score each time they cross the U.S. border, and stores these secret dossiers for 40 years.

The DHS claims the right to “share” this information with local, state, and Federal agencies and foreign governments, but won’t allow you to see your own dossier or find out what score they have given you, whether you are a target, or any of the information on which they have based your score.

The database will be used for “targeting”. The DHS doesn’t say what will happen to you if your lifetime travel score makes you one of their targets, but presumably it will be one of the factors the DHS will use to decide whether to give you permission to travel.

The Identity Project has filed comments with the DHS, objecting to this proposal. Among other things, we’ve pointed out that Congress has expressly forbidden the DHS from spending a penny on any system like this to assign risk scores to airline passengers, and that the Privacy Act forbids any Federal agency form collecting information abotu how we exercise rights protected by the First Amendment — like our right to travel — except as expressly directed by Congress.

9 Responses to “Every traveler is a target”

  1. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » If you travel, you’re still a target Says:

    […] In comments filed Monday with the DHS, we pointed out that the newly-revealed “Automated Targeting System” (ATS) that the DHS has been operating, compiling a massive database of travel reservations and other records about travelers and using this to assign us a “terrorist score” every time we cross the borders of the U.S., violates repeated direct orders from Congress to the DHS not to spend a penny on assigning such “risk assessments” to airline passengers. […]

  2. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Chertoff thinks it’s “righteous” to give each traveler a terror score Says:

    […] Everywhere he goes this week, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is being dogged by questions about the illegality of the “Automated Targeting System” we pointed out in our comments filed Monday. […]

  3. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » More illegalities in the “Automated Targeting System” Says:

    […] Even while trying to defend the Automated Targeting System that is being used to deny travelers their rights on the basis of secret “risk assessments” that give each of us a terror score basis on secret databases of third-party and government information about us, the Department of Homeland Security has admitted to more and more violations of Federal laws, the U.S. Constitution, and international human rights treaties. […]

  4. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » DHS admits problems in disclosing travel surveillance records Says:

    […] EU laws and regulations, the existence of the ATS and US government retention of PNR data was first disclosed by the CBP in late […]

  5. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » DHS releases (censored) documents on Automated Targeting System Says:

    […] for the first time, but they include extensive internal DHS discussion on how to respond to our criticisms, when the DHS first published the official notice (we’re still not exactly sure how many […]

  6. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » DHS can’t “opt out” of liability for violating the Privacy Act Says:

    […] flagged her as a “suspected terrorist” in the (illegal) travel records system that later came to be known as the “Automated Targeting System,” but refused to say why or on the basis of what, if […]

  7. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » TSA’s lying “response” to today’s story in the New York Times Says:

    […] collecting and/or using this data without proper notice, in violation of the Privacy Act (as DHS did for years with the Automated Targeting System), or (b) the TSA is doing what is says in the notices it is […]

  8. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Palantir, Peter Thiel, Big Data, and the DHS Says:

    […] on by both ACI and ACM include Passenger Name Records (PNRs) or airline reservations from the Automated Targeting System (ATS), border crossing and entry/exit logs (lifetime international “travel history” […]

  9. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » FAQ: U.S. government monitoring of social media Says:

    […] first Privacy Act notice for the DHS “Automated Targeting System” was published by DHS in 2006. But when we obtained portions of our ATS records, we found some that went back to the early 1990s, […]

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