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DHS makes limited modifications to security tracking program

[JURIST] The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] has modified its Automated Targeting System [CBP backgrounder] to limit its ability to track persons who may be considered a security threat when they travel abroad. Under regulations that went into effect late last week, DHS will now hold risk assessments of those traveling abroad who may pose a potential risk on file for 15 years instead of the original 40. In addition, profiles of persons deemed potential security risks will no longer be shared with other federal or state agencies for routine matters.

Critics such as the Center for Democracy and Technology [advocacy website] have dismissed the changes as insufficient to protect privacy because they do not allow travelers to view the assessments made against them. DHS maintains that larger changes would hinder the system’s ability to prevent terrorists from entering the country. Recent US negotiations with the European Union over an airline passenger data-sharing agreement [JURIST report] almost failed over European concerns that profile data passed to DHS would be inappropriately shared with other US agencies. Under the new agreement, EU citizens will be permitted to seek compensation and redress for any breach pursuant to the US Privacy Act [text; JURIST report]. AP has more.

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