The committee, consisting of an unpaid group of people from the world of corporate privacy as well as the civil liberty community, were asked last December to review the plan and provide feedback on which privacy protections need to be put in place when info from DHS components (which include the TSA, the Secret Service, and Immigration Services, to name a few) are consolidated. The committee raised concerns about who would get access to the data given the potentially comprehensive profile this would provide of American citizens.
The ACLU sent DHS a letter [pdf] this month voicing its concerns about the mingling of commercial and government databases and the potential civil liberties violations, giving an example of a person’s laptop being inspected by Customs & Border Control and then having any reports of its contents put into a profile accessible to the rest of DHS. “Will DHS limit sharing of this information on innocent people or purge it from the system?” asks the ACLU. ” Just because an ordinary American has had an encounter with DHS does not mean that his or her movements, work history, or other data should be open to widespread scrutiny.”
The ACLU urges the DHS not to “rush into” things, but as noted about, at least one contract to lay the foundation for the system is already signed.