EFF today released an Interim Report on the Automated Targeting System (ATS) through which the Department of Homeland Security monitors and assigns risk assessment scores to Americans and others who cross into or out of the United States. The data reviewed under the ATS system includes seven large government databases, plus the Passenger Name Record data from the airlines (which includes data like whether you’ve ordered a Muslim or Hindu or Jewish special meal). Effectively, if you travel internationally, ATS creates an instant, personal and detailed dossier on you that CBP officers use to decide whether you get to enter the country, or will be subject to an enhanced (and potentially invasive) search. EFF’s report details what we’ve learned about the ATS program from the over 2,000 pages released by the government so far. We note that because of government’s very heavy redacting and refusal to release key information Americans remain in dark about how this powerful system is used on travelers. EFF’s Interim report was written by Shana Dines.
DHS has continued to release documents to EFF so we’ll update the report as additional useful information comes out.