DHS to automate watch list feeds

New program to centralize process for managing terrorist watch list data

The Homeland Security Department plans to automate and centralize the process through which it receives data from the government’s consolidated terrorist watch list.

DHS and the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), which maintains the consolidated database, are putting in place a program called DHS Watchlist Service (WLS). WLS will replace multiple data feeds from TSC to Homeland Security agencies that handle various missions such as counterterrorism, law enforcement and border security, the department’s privacy office said in an assessment of the program.

“WLS will allow TSC and DHS to move away from a manual and cumbersome process of data transmission and management to an automated and centralized process,” the Watchlist Service said.

The government’s watchlisting system has come under fire over the past year after failed bombing attempts aboard an airplane en route to Detroit and in New York City.


Related Stories:

President calls for urgent improvements to anti-terrorism efforts

Secure Flight cited as fix for lag in 'no-fly list' update


WLS consists of commercial and government off-the-shelf products, according the assessment. The office said it won’t receive any additional data through WLS and that the system – which will be put in place in phases – was created to increase efficiency, the DHS office explained.

Programs that are run by DHS’ Transportation Security Agency and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program will use WLS.

CBP is the technical steward for WLS. DHS will ensure that WLS data is used properly and in an authorized way through a memorandum of understanding, the privacy office said.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

inside gcn

  • Catalyst supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Lab

    Energy Department launches new HPC initiative

Reader Comments

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 Susan Washington, DC

While this may consolidate the actual pipelines that feed data, it does not appear (according to this article) to speak to data quality. If accuracy, forensics, duplication, completeness, and context of the source and processed data are not assured before being fed through the WLS, then the logical output if faster, higher volume, irresponsibly bad data being used for decision-making and threat assessment.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group