Jun 30 2011

TSA calls for more “ID-based screening” — but won’t say if ID will be required

At a panel at the 2011 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference earlier this month, TSA Special Counselor and FOIA Appeals Officer Kimberly Walton (the same person who has been stonewalling our pending FOIA appeals), made explicit that the TSA plans more “identity-based screening” (i.e. profiling).

But any “screening” based on identity requires, of course, that travelers be identified. And the TSA — knowing it has no legal authority to compel travelers to identify themselves, produce evidence of their identity, or answer questions —  has consistently claimed in court cases such as Gilmore v. Gonzales and New Mexico v. Mocek that travelers are not required to produce any evidence of their identity.

So is the TSA planning to seek new statutory authority (or start claiming it already has it) to require travelers to identify themselves, or to deny passage to those who decline to do so?

We asked Walton directly, starting at 5:45 of the video here.  Walton said she “wasn’t the person to answer that”, but didn’t say who (if anyone) was.

If the TSA is reading this (and we know they are), we’d welcome an answer. We won’t hold our breath, though.

Once again, the TSA is launching a major expansion of its claimed authority over the traveling public, seemingly without either knowing or carrying whether it has any legal basis for the power it seeks to exercise over us.

The video of the panel on the TSA (most of which focused on groping and virtual strip-searches at TSA checkpoints) starts here; complete CFP 2011 video coverage is here.

Jun 30 2011

Our arguments for disclosure of DHS travel surveillance records

Our main briefs were filed last Friday in the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case of Hasbrouck v. CBP.

In this case, we are seeking to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (one of the components of the DHS) to disclose:

  1. The CBP/DHS “travel history” dossier  about Mr. Hasbrouck, compiled from airline reservations (PNRs) and other commercial and government data and contained in the (illegal) CBP “Automated Targeting System” (ATS), including “risk assessments” of Mr. Hasbrouck and the rules used to determine those risk assessments;
  2. An “accounting of disclosures”, as required by the Privacy Act, showing which other government agencies or other third parties have been given access to which of this data, and when; and
  3. General information about how ATS data is indexed and retrieved.

Our main argument for summary judgment in our favor (and in opposition to CBP’s cross-motion) is contained in our proposed order, supporting brief, and Mr. Hasbrouck’s supporting declaration. Additional supporting declarations and exhibits are linked here.  Following reply briefs to be filed next month by each side, oral argument is scheduled for August 25th in Federal District Court in San Francisco.