Updated privacy guidance for DHS databases

Jacob Harris filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2017-HQFO-00605
Status
Completed
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Communications

From: Jacob Harris

To Whom It May Concern:

In a recent implementation memorandum dated 2/20/2017 and titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest “, the DHS Secretary outlined that the DHS would follow the policy established in recent Executive Orders that rolls back Privacy Act protections :

"The DHS Privacy Office will rescind the DHS Privacy Policy Guidance memorandum, dated January 7, 2009, which implemented the OHS "mixed systems" policy of administratively treating all personal information contained in DHS record systems as being subject to the Privacy Act regardless of the subject's immigration status. The DHS Privacy Office, with the assistance of the Office of the General Counsel, will develop new guidance specifying the appropriate treatment of personal information DHS maintains in its record systems."

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request whatever updated guidance has been created by the Privacy Office following this memo. I am particularly interested if they have revised what safeguards for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) must be maintained for DHS databases and if any such databases are now considered exempt from filing Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) or Systems of Record Notices (SORNs) because they are no longer considered to contain PII. I also want to know if they have revised restrictions on sharing such data with other agencies and if they have issued guidance for scrubbing records from such databases or for retracting information shared with other agencies for individuals who become naturalized citizens.

I am an individual seeking information for personal use and not for commercial use. I intend to share the results of this FOIA request with the general public on the Muckrock and Internet Archive sites. Since this is a matter of vital public interest, especially for citizens and other residents that might be listed in such databases, I request that fees be waived. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jacob Harris

From: US DHS Privacy Office

Good Afternoon,
Attached is our acknowledgment of your DHS FOIA request.  If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486.
Regards,
DHS Privacy Office Disclosure & FOIA Program
STOP 0655
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0655
Telephone:  1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743
Fax:  202-343-4011
Visit our
FOIA website (http://www.dhs.gov/foia)

From: US DHS Privacy Office

Good Afternoon, Attached is our final response to your request.  If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486. Regards, DHS Privacy Office Disclosure & FOIA Program
STOP 0655
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20528-0655
Telephone:  1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743
Fax:  202-343-4011
Visit our FOIA website

From: Jacob Harris

Hi,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

I see that no guidance has yet been finalized, so I was wondering if you have a suggestion of when would be a good time to ask again for these documents? Is 3 months a sufficient time? I will make sure to include the reference number for this request for any future resubmissions as you suggested.

Sincerely,
Jacob Harris

From: FOIA

Good Afternoon Mr. Harris,

You are welcome to file again at any time but we don’t have a timeline on when the guidance will be finalized.

Regards,

The Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
STOP-0655
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655
Phone: 202-343-1743 or 866-431-0486
Fax: 202-343-4011
E-mail: foia@hq.dhs.gov<mailto:foia@hq.dhs.gov>

This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message. Thank you

From: Jacob Harris

Hello,

I was wondering if the revisions to the privacy guidelines have been finalized now that the VOICE hotline has been opened. I can go through the formal process of reopening the FOIA request, but I would prefer to not waste the time of you and the FOIA office if the revisions are still pending. Thank you.

Jacob

From: FOIA

Good Afternoon,

Because VOICE is under the United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) you should submit your FOIA request to them. Their contact information is below.

United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)<https://www.dhs.gov/foia-contact-information>
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, SW, Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
FOIA Officer: Catrina Pavlik-Keenan
FOIA Requester Service Center Contact: Fernando Pineiro
Phone: 866-633-1182
Fax: 202-732-4265
E-mail: ice-foia@dhs.gov<mailto:ice-foia@dhs.gov>
ICE Website<http://www.ice.gov/foia/index.htm>

Regards,

The Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
STOP-0655
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655
Phone: 202-343-1743 or 866-431-0486
Fax: 202-343-4011
E-mail: foia@hq.dhs.gov<mailto:foia@hq.dhs.gov>

This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message. Thank you

From: Jacob Harris

Thank you for the suggestion of following up with ICE, but do they operate under a separate privacy authority than the DHS Privacy Office? If not, I think I need to resubmit my query to the DHS Privacy Office since it concerns changes to the official privacy policy? What do you think?

Thank you again,
Jacob

From: FOIA

Good Morning Jacob,

We were not aware at the time but the new guidance has been finalized and released. It is available at https://www.dhs.gov/publication/dhs-privacy-policy-guidance-memorandum-2017-01. Please let us know if there is anything else you need at this time.

Regards,

The Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
STOP-0655
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655
Phone: 202-343-1743 or 866-431-0486
Fax: 202-343-4011
E-mail: foia@hq.dhs.gov<mailto:foia@hq.dhs.gov>

This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message. Thank you

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