EU is now fine with DHS risk assessment profile program

Noting that risk assessments are normal policing techniques, EU says DHS has assured it that privacy protections are intact.

After balking over the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System - a computerized screening program that creates risk assessment profiles of some 90 million passengers who enter the US - the European Union yesterday said its concerns were mollified by US officials, The Washington Post reports.

An E.U. spokesman in Washington, Telmo Baltazar, said Homeland Security officials assured the Europeans that the screening system observed privacy protections called for in the data-sharing agreement.

"A risk assessment is a normal law enforcement tool," Baltazar said yesterday. "The alternative to risk assessments is to consider everyone alike."

But the ACLU and London-based Privacy International said the law violated an October data-sharing accord between the US and EU.

"The ATS is a clear threat to privacy and human rights," Simon Davies, the director of Privacy International and Barry Steinhardt, the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project director, said in the letter.

Under the agreement, up to 34 types of information can be collected, including names, credit card data and flight itineraries. Sharing and use of the information is restricted. The agreement is due to be renegotiated this summer.

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