Press Announcement: World Privacy Forum files comments to DHS regarding the Border Crossing Information System; Some proposed routine uses of the system directly contravene the Privacy Act of 1974
Border Crossing Information System, DHS — The World Privacy Forum submitted public comments today to the Department of Homeland Security regarding its proposed Border Crossing Information System. The BCI system would set up a database of all border crossings via car, rail, air and other means, including collecting identifiable data on the activities of American citizens. Information collected includes biographical and other information such as name, date of birth, gender, a photograph, itinerary information, and the time and location of the border crossing. The WPF comments focus entirely on the proposed Routine Uses of the system. As currently written, the DHS proposal contains some Routine Uses that directly contravene the Privacy Act of 1974 and are illegal. Other Routine Uses are overbroad and vague, and still others contravene guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). One example of an overbroad Routine Use is Routine Use J, which will allow DHS to release data collected for the Border Crossing Information System for hiring decisions or contract awards. This information may be requested by Federal, state, local, tribal, foreign, or international agencies. Another Routine Use, G, impermissibly duplicates and weakens the Privacy Act’s condition of requirement for notice when information is disclosed in certain circumstances.