DHS & FBI Merge Data Creating Database Of Secret Watchlists
Privacy Groups Protest Massive DHS Database of Secret Watchlists
Homeland Security plans to operate a massive new database of names, photos, birthdays and biometrics called Watchlist Service, duplicated from the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database which has proven not to be accurate many times in the past. DHS wants to exempt the Watchlist Service from Privacy Act provisions, meaning you will never know if you are wrongfully listed. Privacy groups worried about inaccurate info and mission creep have filed a protest, arguing the Privacy Act says DHS must notify subject of government surveillance.
Homeland Security has a plan to expand its Watchlist Service by duplicating the FBI’s existing system of watchlist records and then feed that info into a massive database in which more government people would have immediate access. According to the FBI, the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist is “one of the most effective counterterrorism tools for the U.S. government.” But according to the ACLU, FBI spying on free speech is nearly at Cold War levels and that the FBI lied to the Justice Department about continuing improper surveillance of peace groups. So it’s not some kind of conspiracy theory, it’s a fact that innocent people end up on terrorist watchlists.