[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 160 (Monday, August 18, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48231-48234]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-19032]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. DHS-2007-0054]


Privacy Act of 1974; United States Citizenship and Immigration 
Services; Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS) 
System of Records

AGENCY: Privacy Office, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of Privacy Act system of records.

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SUMMARY: The USCIS has developed the Fraud Detection and National 
Security Data System (FDNS-DS), a case management system used to 
record, track, and manage immigration inquiries, investigative 
referrals, law enforcement requests, and case determinations involving 
benefit fraud, criminal activity, public safety and national security 
concerns.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before September 17, 
2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-
2007-0054 by one of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-866-466-5370.
     Mail: Hugo Teufel III, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy 
Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.
     Instructions: All submissions received must include the 
agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments 
received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided.
     Docket: For access to the docket to read background 
documents or comments received go to http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general questions please contact: 
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Privacy Officer, 
Donald Hawkins, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20529. 
For privacy issues please contact: Hugo Teufel III (703-235-0780), 
Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, U.S. Department of Homeland 
Security, Washington, DC 20528.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) of the 
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has 
developed a new system named the Fraud Detection and National Security 
Data System (FDNS-DS). FDNS-DS is a central repository that permits 
specially-trained employees to record, track, and manage the background 
checks and adjudicative processes related to immigration applications 
and petitions with suspected or confirmed fraud, criminal activity, 
egregious public safety, and/or national security concerns, and cases 
randomly selected for benefit fraud assessments (BFAs). The system will 
also have the capability to track the following:
    1. USCIS investigative referrals to law enforcement agencies 
(LEAs);
    2. LEA referrals to USCIS concerning subjects with pending 
immigration benefit applications or petitions;
    3. background check referrals and resolutions associated with 
suspected or confirmed fraud, criminal activity, egregious public 
safety, and/or national security concerns; and
    4. any additional inquiries conducted in order to confirm that the 
information on file is correct.
    FDNS has created FDNS-DS, a centralized data system, in order to 
increase the effectiveness of United States (U.S.) immigration system 
in identifying threats to national security, combating benefit fraud, 
and locating and removing vulnerabilities that compromise the integrity 
of the legal immigration system. With the implementation of FDNS-DS, 
USCIS's capabilities for detecting and tracking

[[Page 48232]]

benefit fraud and other criminal activity--and conducting efficient and 
accurate background check resolutions and adjudication of national 
security cases will be increased.
    In order to achieve the goals discussed above, FDNS-DS will store 
data related to immigration applications involving suspected or 
confirmed fraud, criminal activity, egregious public safety, and/or 
national security concerns. The data will include the results of 
required background checks conducted in connection with pending 
petitions/applications that results in subsequent inquiries conducted 
to resolve the background check results. FDNS-DS will also contain the 
following information related to cases involving suspected or confirmed 
fraud, criminal activity, egregious public safety, and/or national 
security concerns: USCIS investigative referrals to law enforcement 
agencies (LEAs) of suspected or confirmed fraud or other criminal 
activity; LEA referrals to USCIS related to pending applications; 
referrals to USCIS from the public or other governmental entities or 
fraud case referrals from the Benefit Fraud Assessment (BFA) process 
(``other referrals''); adverse information identified by USCIS from 
applications, administrative files, interviews, written requests for 
evidence (RFEs) or site visits; results of resolution of any of the 
above-described categories of adverse information; and adjudicative 
summaries and decisions.
    As noted above, FDNS-DS will store information concerning cases 
randomly selected for BFAs and will track interactions with Immigration 
and Citizenship Enforcement (ICE) and other LEAs (e.g., the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation [FBI], the Drug Enforcement Administration 
[DEA], and U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP]) in cases involving 
fraud or other criminal activity, and the Department of State in cases 
involving fraud related to selected types of visas for entry into the 
United States.
    USCIS may elect to withhold any related law enforcement sensitive 
information relating to a requestor, which could possibly compromise 
ongoing criminal investigations if released to the requestor, pursuant 
to the Privacy Act. 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2).
    Types of information sharing that may result from the routine uses 
outlined in this notice include: (1) Disclosure to individuals who are 
working as a contractor or with a similar relationship working on 
behalf of DHS; (2) sharing with Congressional offices asking on behalf 
of an individual; (3) sharing when there appears to be a specific 
violation or potential violation of law, or identified threat or 
potential threat to national or international security, such as 
criminal or terrorist activities, based on individual records in this 
system; (4) sharing with the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA) for proper handling of government records; (5) 
sharing when relevant to litigation associated with the Federal 
government; and (6) sharing to protect the individual who is the 
subject of the record from the harm of identity theft in the case of a 
data breach affecting this system.
    Consistent with DHS's information sharing mission, information 
stored in the FDNS-Ds may be shared with other DHS components, as well 
as appropriate Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, or international 
government agencies. This sharing will only take place after DHS 
determines that the receiving component or agency has a need to know 
the information to carry out national security, law enforcement, 
immigration, intelligence, or other functions consistent with the 
routine uses set forth in this system of records notice.

II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information principles in a statutory 
framework governing the means by which the United States Government 
collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates personally identifiable 
information. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained 
in a ``system of records.'' A ``system of records'' is a group of any 
records under the control of an agency for which information is 
retrieved by the name of an individual or by some identifying number, 
symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. In 
the Privacy Act, an individual is defined to encompass United States 
citizens and legal permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS 
extends administrative Privacy Act protections to all individuals where 
systems of records maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful 
permanent residents, and visitors. Individuals may request access to 
their own records that are maintained in a system of records in the 
possession or under the control of DHS by complying with DHS Privacy 
Act regulations, 6 CFR Part 5.
    The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish in the Federal 
Register a description denoting the type and character of each system 
of records that the agency maintains, and the routine uses that are 
contained in each system in order to make agency record keeping 
practices transparent, to notify individuals regarding the uses to 
which personally identifiable information is put, and to assist 
individuals to more easily find such files within the agency. Below is 
the description of the Fraud Detection and National Security Data 
System system of records.
    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of 
this new system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and 
to Congress.

System of Records:
    DHS/USCIS-006.

System name:
    United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection 
and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS).

Security classification:
    Sensitive But Unclassified.

System location:
    Records are maintained at the USCIS FDNS Headquarters in 
Washington, DC and field offices.

Categories of individuals covered by the system:
    Categories of individuals covered by this system include: 
Individuals covered by provisions of the Immigration and Nationality 
Act of the United States, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., including but not 
limited to applicants, beneficiaries, petitioners, and their authorized 
representatives (who may be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, 
or aliens) submitting applications or petitions for immigration 
benefits. Individuals who are the subjects of administrative and/or 
criminal investigations, individuals who have submitted potentially 
fraudulent petitions and applications for immigration benefits, 
individuals whose petitions or applications have been randomly selected 
for assessment of the effectiveness of fraud detection programs (i.e., 
BFAs), and individuals of concern based on possible national security 
reasons, public safety concerns or criminal activity. The system will 
contain information about organizations that may have submitted 
applications or petitions (e.g., preparers, representatives, and 
petitioning organizations) on behalf of individuals and may contain 
information on individuals that are associated with an application but 
not actually applying for a benefit.

Categories of records in the system:
    Categories of records in this system include:
     Individual's name;
     Alias;

[[Page 48233]]

     Social Security Number;
     A-Number;
     Associated A-Numbers of close relatives and associates;
     Receipt Number;
     Address (home and business);
     Date and place of birth;
     Country of citizenship;
     Citizenship status;
     Gender;
     Telephone number(s);
     E-mail address;
     Place of employment and employment history;
     Organizations (Place of business or place of worship, if 
place of worship is sponsoring the applicant);
     Family lineage;
     Bank account information and/or financial transaction 
history;
     Marriage record;
     Civil or criminal history information;
     Uniform resource locators (URLs);
     Education record;
     Internet protocol addresses;
     Biometric identifiers (Photographic facial image, 
fingerprints);
     TECS, NCIC, and data and analysis resulting from the 
investigation or routine background checks performed as part of the 
adjudication process;
     any other unique identifying number or characteristic.

Authority for maintenance of the system:
    Purpose(s):
    The purpose of this system is to increase the effectiveness of the 
U.S. immigration system in identifying threats to national security, 
combating benefit fraud, and locating and removing vulnerabilities that 
compromise the integrity of the legal immigration system.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories 
of users and the purposes of such uses:
    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 
552a(b) of the Privacy Act, all or a portion of the records or 
information contained in this system may be disclosed outside DHS as a 
routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:
    A. To the Department of Justice (including U.S. Attorneys' offices) 
or other Federal agency conducting litigation or in proceedings before 
any court, adjudicative or administrative body, when it is necessary to 
the litigation and one of the following is a party to the litigation or 
has an interest in such litigation:
    1. DHS or any component thereof;
    2. Any employee of DHS in his/her official capacity;
    3. Any employee of DHS in his/her individual capacity where DOJ or 
DHS has agreed to represent the employee; or
    4. The United States or any agency thereof, is a party to the 
litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and DHS determines 
that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and 
the use of such records is compatible with the purpose for which DHS 
collected the records.
    B. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in 
response to an inquiry from that congressional office made at the 
request of the individual to whom the record pertains.
    C. To the National Archives and Records Administration or other 
Federal government agencies pursuant to records management inspections 
being conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  2904 and 
2906.
    D. To an agency, organization, or individual for the purpose of 
performing audit or oversight operations as authorized by law, but only 
such information as is necessary and relevant to such audit or 
oversight function.
    E. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:
    1. USCIS suspects or has confirmed that the security or 
confidentiality of information in the system of records has been 
compromised;
    2. USCIS has determined that as a result of the suspected or 
confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property 
interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or 
integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether 
maintained by DHS or another agency or entity), or harm to the 
individual that relies upon the compromised information; and
    3. The disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is 
reasonably necessary to assist in connection with USCIS's efforts to 
respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, 
or remedy such harm.
    F. To contractors and their agents, grantees, experts, consultants, 
and others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, 
cooperative agreement, or other assignment for DHS, when necessary to 
accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. 
Individuals provided information under this routine use are subject to 
the same Privacy Act requirements and limitations on disclosure as are 
applicable to DHS officers and employees.
    G. To an appropriate Federal, State, tribal, local, international, 
or foreign law enforcement agency or other appropriate authority 
charged with investigating or prosecuting a violation or enforcing or 
implementing a law, rule, regulation, or order, where a record, either 
on its face or in conjunction with other information, indicates a 
violation or potential violation of law, which includes criminal, 
civil, or regulatory violations and such disclosure is proper and 
consistent with the official duties of the person making the 
disclosure.
    H. To Federal and foreign government intelligence or 
counterterrorism agencies when USCIS reasonably believes there to be a 
threat or potential threat to national or international security for 
which the information may be useful in countering the threat or 
potential threat, when DHS reasonably believes such use is to assist in 
anti-terrorism efforts, and disclosure is appropriate to the proper 
performance of the official duties of the person making the disclosure;
    I. To the Department of State in the processing of petitions or 
applications for benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 
and all other immigration and nationality laws including treaties and 
reciprocal agreements.
    J. To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Chief 
Privacy Officer in consultation with counsel, when there exists a 
legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information or when 
disclosure is necessary to preserve confidence in the integrity of DHS 
or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of DHS's officers, 
employees, or individuals covered by the system, except to the extent 
it is determined that release of the specific information in the 
context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion 
of personal privacy.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:
    None.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, 
and disposing of records in the system:
Storage:
    Records in this system are stored electronically or on paper in 
secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door. The records 
are stored on magnetic disks that are backed up to disk and tape media.

Retrievability:
    Records may be retrieved by utilizing multiple data points that 
include an individual's last name, A-Number, Receipt Number, Date of 
Birth or other unique identifier.

[[Page 48234]]

Safeguards:
    Records in this system are safeguarded in accordance with 
applicable rules and policies, including all applicable DHS automated 
systems security and access policies. Strict controls have been imposed 
to minimize the risk of compromising the information that is being 
stored. Access to the computer system containing the records in this 
system is limited to those individuals who have a need to know the 
information for the performance of their official duties and who have 
appropriate clearances or permissions. The system maintains a real-time 
auditing function of individuals who access the system. Additional 
safeguards may vary by component and program.

Retention and disposal:
    The National Archives Records Administration has not approved a 
retention schedule for this system of records. USCIS has proposed a 
retention period of 15 years from the date of the last interaction 
between FDNS personnel and the individual after which time the record 
will be deleted from FDNS-DS. The 15-year retention schedule is 
proposed to provide FDNS with access to information that is critical to 
the investigation of suspected or confirmed fraud, criminal activity, 
egregious public safety, and/or national security concerns. Upon 
closure of a case, any information that is needed to make an 
adjudicative decision (such as a statement of findings report), whether 
there was or was not an indication of fraud, criminal activity, 
egregious public safety, and/or national security concerns, will be 
transferred to the A-File and maintained under the A-File retention 
period, which is currently 75 years.

System manager and address:
    Chief Information Officer, United States Citizenship and 
Immigration Services, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20529.

Notification procedure:
    Individuals seeking notification of and access to any record 
contained in this system of records, or seeking to contest its content, 
may submit a request in writing to the component's FOIA Officer, whose 
contact information can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/foia under 
``contacts.'' If an individual believes more than one component 
maintains Privacy Act records concerning him or her the individual may 
submit the request to the Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland 
Security, 245 Murray Drive, SW., Building 410, STOP-0550, Washington, 
DC 20528.
    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or 
any other Departmental system of records your request must conform with 
the Privacy Act regulations set forth in 6 CFR Part 5. You must first 
verify your identity, meaning that you must provide your full name, 
current address and date and place of birth. You must sign your 
request, and your signature must either be notarized or submitted to 
you under 28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made 
under penalty or perjury as a substitute for notarization. While no 
specific form is required, you may obtain forms for this purpose from 
the Director, Disclosure and FOIA, http://www.dhs.gov or 1-866-431-
0486. In addition you should provide the following:
     An explanation of why you believe the Department would 
have information on you,
     Identify which component(s) of the Department you believe 
may have the information about you,
     Specify when you believe the records would have been 
created,
     Provide any other information that will help the FOIA 
staff determine which DHS component agency may have responsive records,
     If your request is seeking records pertaining to another 
living individual, you must include a statement from that individual 
certifying his/her agreement for you to access his/her records.
    Without this bulleted information the component(s) will not be able 
to conduct an effective search, and your request may be denied due to 
lack of specificity or lack of compliance with applicable regulations.

Record access procedures:
    See ``Notification procedure'' above.

Contesting record procedures:
    See ``Notification procedure'' above.

Record source categories:
    Parties who file USCIS applications supply the basic information 
contained in this system. Other information comes from petitions, law 
enforcement and intelligence agencies, public institutions, interviews 
of witnesses, public records, sworn statements, official reports, 
commercial data aggregators, and from members of the general public.

Exemptions claimed for the system:
    The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from 5 
U.S.C. 552a(c)(3); (d); (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and 
(f) pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). These exemptions apply only to the 
extent that records in the system are subject to exemption pursuant to 
5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2).

    Dated: August 11, 2008.
Hugo Teufel III,
Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. E8-19032 Filed 8-15-08; 8:45 am]
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