ICEPIC Details Released; Public Comments Accepted

DHS has published in the Federal Register the official notice and related proposed rulemaking regarding the implementation of ICEPIC, a massive government database of immigration and law enforcement records that it says will help fight terrorism.

The notification provides background on the new information sharing program and the rulemaking involves DHS’ request that ICEPIC be exempt from certain requirements of the Privacy Act that it says is necessary in the name of law enforcement and national security needs.

The notice and the rulemaking both solicit public comments. Comments on the rulemaking are due on or before March 10, 2008. ICE will then issue a new notice that addresses public comments, responds to OMB direction, and includes other ICE changes no later than August 27, 2008. The procedure for making comments is detailed in the DHS notice and rulemaking.

ICEPIC is already in limited operation, according to the notice. ICE says the database will help fight terrorism by enabling officials to link suspected terrorists or other criminals with associates who are in the system.

The database program compiles information on immigrants and other individuals collected from more than nine other federal sources, including DHS and law enforcement records that will be shared with federal, state, local and international law enforcement.

Critics of the program, such as the ACLU, fear innocent people will be arrested due to inaccurate information being captured in the database, pointing to the terrorism watch list as an example. The ACLU explains that if the data is bad, and that bad data migrates from one database to another, innocent people are the victims who are being stopped or labeled as suspicious.

The notification and proposed rulemaking involving ICEPIC (ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection) appeared in the Jan. 30 edition of the Federal Register, and are available here:

Notification: text,  PDF

Rulemaking: text,  PDF

For more information, please read our previous article: Big Brother Brightens Beam on Immigrants.

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