Wednesday, 11 August 2004

Ridge: "Aggressive schedule" for new CAPPS-II

In an interview yesterday, USA Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reportedly said that The Program No Longer Known As CAPPS-II will be rolled out today in a (secret, of course) meeting with other "security" (but not civil liberties) agencies:

Ridge spoke about screening Tuesday at a meeting with USA Today editors and reporters.... Top officials from agencies overseeing national security are expected to review details of the new computer screening system at a meeting today. "We've got an aggressive timeline," Ridge said.

Ridge, the DHS, and the TSA face a dilemma on CAPPS-II:

  • If they continue to call the program CAPPS-II , it cannot be deployed without GAO certification that it has met the criteria specified in oversight legislation enacted last year, which it hasn't met yet and isn't likely ever to meet. Only by renaming the program, getting Congress to change the law, or defying Congress can the DHS deploy any system called "CAPPS-II" without meeting those standards.

  • The DHS agreement with the European Union (currently being challenged by the European Parliament in the European Court of Justice) permits it to use data collected in the EU only for testing of "CAPPS-II". Use of this data for any program by another name is not authorized by the "agreement", and if the DHS changes the name of the program they will have to start negotiations with the EU all over again, and obtain approval of a new agreement before they legally can even test the new (?) system.

The bottom line is that that no program mandating collection, provision, or government access to additional passenger information -- whether or not it is labeled CAPPS-II -- currently can be deployed without violating either Federal law or DHS commitments to the European Union.

The question, of course, is whether the DHS will bother to seek Congressional apporval, or negotiate new international agreements, to authorize its (not so new) scheme, or whether it will continue to do whatever it wants, ignoring the law.

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 11 August 2004, 17:30 ( 5:30 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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