Online Extra: U.S. Visit privacy plan protects data

The Homeland Security Department's privacy plan for the U.S. Visit program's first increment specifies that the biographic and biometric data the system collects and processes will be protected in several ways, including physical, technical, administrative and environmental methods.

According to the privacy plan, DHS will establish a privacy awareness program for system operators, make usage agreements with other agencies that handle U.S. Visit data, allow people with data in the system to access their information and challenge it, and establish administrative safeguards to protect the information.

The plan is laid out in the privacy impact assessment for U.S. Visit, required by the E-government Act of 2002.

The Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group, said the policy would help the public evaluate U.S. Visit's privacy effects.

'We're pleased to see the assessment, which represents a milestone in full and open consideration of the privacy impacts of a major government program, but we wish it had been issued sooner so that the public could have commented on it,' Ari Schwartz, the center's associate director, said in a statement.


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