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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Feds Use Terrorist Risk Rating System to Rank Travelers

From washingtonpost.com: Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals.

The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years.

The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the United States after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered.

The Homeland Security Department notice called its program "one of the most advanced targeting systems in the world." The department said the nation's ability to spot criminals and other security threats "would be critically impaired without access to this data."

Still, privacy advocates view ATS with alarm. "It's probably the most invasive system the government has yet deployed in terms of the number of people affected," David Sobel, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group devoted to electronic data issues, said in an interview. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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