Friday, 21 September 2007

Results of requests for my "targeting" records

Following the disclosure in late 2006 of the USA government’s illegal Automated Targeting System (ATS), which has been secretly keeping dossiers on tens of millions of innocent international travelers to and from the USA, I and several other activists requested our ATS files under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act.

The information we eventually received has been oddly and substantially incomplete (I am appealing the government’s failure to provide my entire ATS file), but still reveals some of the variety of information about our travels, activities, and associations with other people that the government has been compiling, plans to retain for decades, and claims might be relevant to its secret decison-making about whether to give you permission to travel or for other secret purposes.

The Identity Project has released a report with analysis and examples from those portions of our ATS files (including some my own) that we have received to date. And the issue was discussed at yesterday’s hearing at which I and other Identity project staff testified before the Transportation Security Administration in opposition to their parallel “Secure Flight” scheme for monitoring and control of travellers on domestic flights within the USA.

There’s a story and a follow-up on the reaction to the Identity Project report here and here from Wired News. [Update: Lead story on the front page of the Washington Post, Saturday, 22 September 2007.]

If you want to find out what’s in your ATS file, act quickly to make your request: A government proposal to exempt most of the information in ATS records from the disclosure requirements of the Privacy Act is currently pending.

If you’re in the European Union, or if you flew on an airline based in the EU, you can also ask the airline to tell you what information they sent to the USA, although they may not do so unless you insist, and maybe not even then. I’m currently awaiting a decision from the Dutch Data Protection Agency in my ongoing dispute with KLM over their refusal to tell me what’s in their records about my travels on their flights, and which of this information they have given to which third parties (including the government and private companies in the USA).

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 21 September 2007, 11:04 (11:04 AM)
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