Home » Posts tagged 'DHS' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: DHS

Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Homeland Security plan to use Spy Satellites on US Citizens Moves Forward

According to a posting in Slashdot and an Associated Press story, a plan to use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law-enforcement missions is moving forward after being delayed for months because of privacy and civil liberties concerns.  An office within the Homeland Security Department, called the National Applications Office, "will provide more robust access to needed remote sensing information to appropriate customers".  While some agencies such as FEMA have had access to spy satellite imagery for scientific research or to assist in response to natural disasters, the availability of satellite images will be expanded to other agencies to support the homeland security mission.  According to Slashdot, this is the first time law-enforcement would be able to obtain a warrant and request access to satellite imagery.  The National Applications Office website says that protecting privacy and civil liberties is a priority for the Office and that their activities are regulated under existing laws including the Privacy Act and Executive Order 12333.   


Democratic Caucus: America at Risk

There is a new report from the Democratic Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives, entitled "America At Risk: Despite Continued Warnings… America’s readiness continues to slide."  The 7-page pdf summarizes how the cost of the war in Iraq is straining the budget and affecting the preparedness of the military to protect the country from domestic attack.  It includes reports about how budget cutbacks are affecting the National Guards of individual states.

hat tip: beSpacific!

Read Your Own DHS Travel Dossier

Last month the Washington Post published this piece on how DHS is collecting information on travelers:

"…new details about the information being retained suggest that the government is monitoring the personal habits of travelers more closely than it has previously acknowledged. The details were learned when a group of activists requested copies of official records on their own travel."  

Now you too can find out what DHS knows about you.  The Identity Project has created this site to walk you through the steps to obtain the unclassified portions of your DHS travel dossier.   Bon voyage!


Expanded Use of Domestic Spy Satellite Data

The Department of Homeland Security will begin to share spy satellite data with domestic law enforcement agencies next year.  The theory is that satellite images will assist in border security. The most interesting news resport I’ve read on this topic came from Fox News. While all the news reports pointed out concerns about oversight and the effect on privacy, only this article mentioned that *getting* data isn’t the end of the story – to be meaningful, someone somewhere has to analyze it and that this kind of data would be likely be of low priority:

Analysts across the intelligence community are already swamped with incoming data from foreign surveillance, and they may have little time for lower-priority work.

In light of recent expansions on wiretapping, this is, well, unnerving.

Lack of collaboration among DHS watch centers

The Department of Homeland Security has 25 operations centers throughout the U.S., and according to a recent GAO audit, they’re not collaborating very well.

Here’s the full story:

GAO faults DHS for poor management of watch centers

According to the report, DHS doesn’t have a clear set of procedures in place for the operation of its Homeland Security Information Network, which in turn hampers the operations centers’ ability to share information related to terrorist threats and the like.

As we saw after 9/11, the lack of coordination between the FBI and CIA put the nation at risk. Obviously, there has to be better cooperation among these 25 centers in order to avoid a similar situation. The same goes for information-sharing prior to, during, and following a natural disaster or other catastrophe.

It’s alarming that “basics” like information-sharing policies and procedures are either non-existent or poorly defined at both the regional and national levels, especially given that more complex and technical processes are needed to keep the citizenry safe.