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ACLU Criticizing Homeland Security for Collecting Travelers’ Personal Information

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego is condemning the federal government for recently revealed anti-terrorism measures. The Homeland Security Department collects personal data on all travelers who cross American borders. KPBS Radio’s Andrew Phelps reports.

If you’re traveling abroad and you pass through Lindbergh Field, the Port of San Diego, or the U.S.-Mexican border, you automatically get a score based on your itinerary and other personal information. If your score is high enough, you might get stopped by law enforcement.

Blair-Loy: It’s secret government at its worst.

That’s David Blair-Loy, legal director of San Diego’s ACLU.

Blair-Loy: We have no idea what data are being assembled collated collected and then disclosed – and no evidence that this is making us in fact any more safe.

The government won’t give statistics on the program’s effectiveness. But Homeland Security Spokesman Jarrod Agen says the program is critical for preventing terrorism. He says law enforcement is not targeting ordinary travelers. For KPBS, I’m Andrew Phelps.

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