[govinfo] GovInfo News 1-3-07

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "e-gov@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <e-gov@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 09:52:47 -0500

- 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
202-332-OPEN (6736)

- DHS: TSA Secure Flight program has 'privacy missteps'

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 

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.



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.



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 
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 
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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