ICE Plans Major Immigration Database

By Laura Spadanuta

USA Today reports that a new United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database program will cull information and names from several federal sources. Federal officials say this is a way to close information-sharing gaps that were highlighted by the 9/11 Commission Report.

The ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection System, known as "ICEPIC," includes sources that track foreign students, visitors, and immigrants, as well as criminal and terrorist databases, such as the controversial terrorist watch list.

ICE information sharing program head James Henry says ICE will not identify all of the databases sourced "because that becomes a road map for a terrorist or a member of a criminal organization."

Some privacy advocates are concerned about the program:

Civil liberties and privacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union say they worry investigators will arrest innocent people based on information from flawed databases.

"The difficulty is if you have bad data," ACLU attorney Tim Sparapani says. "Then that bad data migrates from one database to another database. You end up with all sorts of innocent people getting stopped or tagged as being suspicious."

Sparapani says the program is data mining, although ICE officials disagree. ICEPIC will be posted in the Federal Register and can be used after a 30 day comment period, according to Henry.




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