The government's interest in using technology to detect terrorism and other threats has led to increased use of data mining. A technique for extracting useful information from large volumes of data, data mining offers potential benefits but also raises privacy concerns when the data include personal information. GAO was asked to review the development by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a data mining tool known as ADVISE (Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement). Specifically, GAO was asked to determine (1) the tool's planned capabilities, uses, and associated benefits and (2) whether potential privacy issues could arise from using it to process personal information and how DHS has addressed any such issues. GAO reviewed program documentation and discussed these issues with DHS officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Homeland Security||To ensure that privacy protections are in place before DHS proceeds with implementations of ADVISE, the Secretary of Homeland Security should immediately conduct a privacy impact assessment of the ADVISE tool to identify risks, such as those described in this report.|
|Department of Homeland Security||To ensure that privacy protections are in place before DHS proceeds with implementations of ADVISE, the Secretary of Homeland Security should implement privacy controls to mitigate potential privacy risks identified in the privacy impact assessment.|