Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Border Crossings Data To Be Kept for 15 Years

It was only last month the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that federal agents have the right to seize your notebook computers, digital cameras and any other electronic devices for an unspecified period of time. Now, more news on the Homeland Security-front...

The Washington Post published an article today regarding the government’s decision to not only track information of those entering and exiting the United States but also to maintain the collected data for 15 years:

Officials say the Border Crossing Information system, disclosed last month by the Department of Homeland Security… is part of a broader effort to guard against terrorist threats. It also reflects the growing number of government systems containing personal information on Americans that can be shared for a broad range of law enforcement and intelligence purposes, some of which are exempt from some Privacy Act protections.

…DHS spokesman Russ Knocke said the retention period is justified.

"History has shown, whether you are talking about criminal or terrorist activity, that plotting, planning or even relationships among conspirators can go on for years," he said. "Basic travel records can, quite literally, help frontline officers to connect the dots."

The government states in its notice that the system was authorized by post-Sept. 11 laws, including the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

The age of surveillance drones on.