IG launches in-depth review of DHS Advise program

At Congress members' request, IG looks into $40 million datamining effort, as well as $2 billion SBI-Net.

The Department of Homeland Security is rolling out a $40 million plan to datamine to find terrorist threat information. Called Advise - which of course stands for Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement - the program is now facing intense scrutiny from the department's inspector general, Government Computer News reports.

The upcoming evaluation is one of dozens of oversight investigations — many of them for IT programs at DHS — that the IG will conduct during the current fiscal year under the 94-page annual plan. Program areas to be reviewed include information security, information-sharing, acquisition programs, disaster management, logistics programs, threat assessments and data mining.

The Advise review has been requested by members of Congress - and when the new Democratic controlled Congress takes power in January, there may be more requests for reviews of programs that come close to treading on personal privacy. The review will examine strategies, policies and procedures for data mining; systems and activities that use data mining techniques; and communication with security partners and the public to counter the threats, GCN said.

In addition, there will be audits of the $2 billion Secure Border Initiative border surveillance system, specifically Customs & Border Protection’s capability in developing an acquisition program baseline for SBI-Net to manage program risks. The inspector general also will look at “whether DHS has adequate technical strategies, implementation plans, contractor oversight, funding and reporting procedures” for the SBI-Net. A third investigation will focus on operational requirements and organizational capacity, the report said.

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