- DHS: TSA Secure Flight program has 'privacy misstep - DHS Sued Over Alleged Data Mining - Uncle Sam Wants You to Shop at His Web Site Patrice McDermott, Director OpenTheGovernment.org 202-332-OPEN (6736) www.openthegovernment.org - DHS: TSA Secure Flight program has 'privacy missteps' http://www.gcn.com/online/vol1_no1/42843-1.html?topic=technology-policy 12/26/06 -- 02:28 PM By Alice Lipowicz, A new report [http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy-secure-flight-122006.pdf ] from the Homeland Security Department's privacy office has concluded that the Transportation Security Administration committed "significant privacy missteps" in its crafting of its Secure Flight prescreening program for airline passengers. TSA introduced Secure Flight in fall 2004 to check passenger names against terrorist watch lists after two earlier prescreening efforts were scrapped. The program's goal is to prevent passengers identified as suspected terrorists from boarding domestic flights. In response to privacy and management concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office and other organizations, TSA suspended development of the Secure Flight system earlier this year and has been reassessing the initiative. The TSA published privacy notices identifying what commercial data it would include in the testing of Secure Flight. But the TSA notices did not identify all the commercial personal data used in the Secure Flight testing, the new privacy office report said. "The commercial data test, as described in those notices, did not match the commercial data test that was actually conducted," the privacy office said. The discrepancy was "unintentional," the privacy office added. What's more, TSA did not have an effective firewall to ensure privacy was protected in handling the commercial data and did not provide privacy notices to all individuals whose commercial data was accessed, the privacy office wrote. *** - DHS SUED OVER ALLEGED DATA MINING http://www.coxwashington.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/washington/washington/entries/2006/12/19/dhs_data_mining.html By Rebecca Carr | Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 03:05 PM The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court today against the Department of Homeland Security to obtain information about a data-mining system it uses on travelers. [...] The Automated Targeting System reportedly creates and assigns "risk assessments" to citizens as they enter and leave the country. The foundation filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to find out more about how the system collects data on citizens. [...] The Department of Homeland Security announced this fall that the program would start this month. But Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff later said that the program had already been in operation for several years. [...] "The news of this secret program sparked a nationwide uproar," said David Sobel, senior counsel of at the foundation. [...] *** - UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU TO SHOP AT HIS WEB SITE http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/19/AR2006121901511.html By Stephen Barr Wednesday, December 20, 2006; D04 If the Santa wish list isn't working out, let Uncle Sam help you find a holiday gift. FirstGov.gov, the government's official Web portal, includes a "holiday gifts for sale" link that shows you where to purchase books, mementos from museums, holiday ornaments, folk recordings, jewelry, art and souvenirs. [...] If you're looking for the offbeat or for a bargain, the Web portal also links to GovSales.gov, which sells surplus and seized property, such as cars, trucks, real estate, computers and furniture. Yesterday's listings included a 1996 Jeep Cherokee with 68,876 miles. Initial bids have driven the price to $800; the bidding ends Dec. 24. It's too late to order many of Uncle Sam's items in time for postal delivery by Christmas. But FirstGov.gov offers a taste of what you can find in the gift shops at federal buildings. There are also a lot of holiday tips on FirstGov -- for mailing presents, cooking turkeys and showing support for the troops in Iraq. And, for the night before Christmas, FirstGov provides a link to the "Track Santa" radar operated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command. FirstGov is about six years old and was created to provide one-stop shopping for people seeking information from federal, state and local agencies and tribal governments. It is organized in sections focused on citizens, businesses, nonprofit groups, federal employees and others. The site, which has an $18 million annual budget, is still striving to become a household name. In November, less than 1 percent of Web users went to FirstGov, compared with nearly 67 percent of Web users who went to Google.com and 30 percent who went to Amazon.com, according to Nielsen-NetRatings. [..] This summer, Google targeted federal employees by creating Google U.S. Government Search, a Web site that can search across agencies. The company also partners with agencies, such as NASA, to post information about their missions and operations. Still, Freed thinks FirstGov, which lists information by topic and has a search engine, can appeal to Web users. "Users generally would rather navigate than search, and they turn to search when navigation fails them," he said, adding that, "In all cases, when I go looking for government information, I go to FirstGov." Dorris said the FirstGov database contains more than 50 million documents and images, organized to address everyday issues as well as periods of crisis, such as services available after Hurricane Katrina or how to protect against identity theft after a federal computer security breach. [...] The FirstGov staff is studying possible changes to the portal "based on what the public likes," Dorris said. An announcement will be made in January and may be followed with a new look next spring to make it easier for users to find information, she said. Meanwhile, if FirstGov does not help you find a holiday gift, it might help you with your New Year's resolutions. Among the New Year's links are "Lose Weight," "Pay Off Debt," "Get a Better Job" and "Reduce Stress Overall."
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