Department of Homeland Security Exempts Massive Database from Privacy Act

The Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule exempting its Operations System from various Privacy Act safeguards, including provisions that permit individuals to access information about them held by the agency. The system "fuses" information from many sources which the agency uses for investigatory purposes. There are over twenty categories of data, including social security numbers, citizenship, medical records, and even information gathered from social media in the database. In 2010, EPIC urged the agency not to reduce the privacy protections for the Operations System, citing the substantial risks. Despite EPIC's recommendations, DHS went forward. For more information, see EPIC: Total Information Awareness and EPIC: EPIC v. DHS: Media Monitoring.


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