Information sharing (or lack thereof) between intelligence agencies has been a sensitive topic in the U.S. After 9/11, there was a push to create fusion centers so that local, state, and federal agencies could share intelligence, allowing the FBI, for example, to see if the local police have anything in their files on a particular individual. Now the Department of Homeland Securitywants to create its own internal fusion center so that its many agencies can aggregate the data they have and make it searchable from a central location. The DHS is calling it a “Federated Information Sharing System” and asked its privacy advisory committee to weigh in on the repercussions at a public meeting in D.C. last month.
The committee, consisting of an unpaid group of people from the world of corporate privacy as well as the civil liberty community, were asked last December to review the plan and provide feedback on which privacy protections need to be put in place when info from DHS components (which include the TSA, the Secret Service, and Immigration Services, to name a few) are consolidated. The committee raised concerns about who would get access to the data given the potentially comprehensive profile this would provide of American citizens.