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Rule

Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions; Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records

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Start Preamble Start Printed Page 14947

AGENCY:

Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is issuing a final rule to extend the exemptions from certain provisions of the Privacy Act to the updated and reissued system of records titled, “DHS/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records.” Specifically, the Department exempts portions of the “DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records” from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act because of criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement requirements.

DATES:

This final rule is effective March 21, 2016.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For general questions, please contact: John Connors, (202) 344-1610, Privacy Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Privacy and Diversity Office, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20229. For privacy questions, please contact: Karen L. Neuman, (202) 343-1717, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register, 80 FR 79487, Dec. 22, 2015, proposing to exempt portions of the system of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act because of criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement requirements. DHS reissued the DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI) System of Records in the Federal Register on May 11, 2015 (80 FR 26937), to provide notice to the public that DHS/CBP was updating the categories of records to include the capture of certain biometric information and Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) records at the border. This final rule exempts portions of the new categories of records ingested from APIS that are claimed for APIS records pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2).

II. Public Comments

DHS received no comments on the NPRM and will implement the rulemaking as proposed.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 6 CFR Part 5

  • Freedom of information
  • Privacy
End List of Subjects

For the reasons stated in the preamble, DHS amends chapter I of title 6, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

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PART 5—DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION

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1. The authority citation for part 5 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135; (6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.); 5 U.S.C. 301. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552. Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552a.

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2. In appendix C to part 5, revise paragraph 46 to read as follows:

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Appendix C to Part 5—DHS Systems of Records Exempt From the Privacy Act

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46. The DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records consists of electronic and paper records and will be used by DHS and its Components. The DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records is a repository of information held by DHS in connection with its several and varied missions and functions including, but not limited to the enforcement of civil and criminal laws; investigations, inquiries, and proceedings thereunder; and law enforcement, border security, and intelligence activities. The DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records contains information that is collected by, on behalf of, in support of, or in cooperation with DHS and its Components and may contain personally identifiable information collected by other Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, or international government agencies. At the time of border crossing and during the process of determining admissibility, CBP collects two types of data for which it claims different exemptions.

(a) CBP will not assert any exemption to limit an individual from accessing or amending his or her record with respect to information maintained in the system that is collected from a person at the time of crossing and submitted by that person's air, sea, bus, or rail carriers.

The Privacy Act requires DHS to maintain an accounting of the disclosures made pursuant to all routine uses. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), CBP will not disclose the fact that a law enforcement or intelligence agency has sought particular records because it may affect ongoing law enforcement activities. The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from subsections (c)(3), (e)(8), and (g) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, as is necessary and appropriate to protect this information. Further, DHS will claim exemption from subsection (c)(3) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) as is necessary and appropriate to protect this information. Exemptions from these particular subsections are justified, on a case-by-case basis to be determined at the time a request is made, for the following reasons:

(i) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could alert the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS as well as the recipient agency. Disclosure of the accounting would therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts and/or efforts to preserve national security. Disclosure of the Start Printed Page 14948accounting would also permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation, to tamper with witnesses or evidence, and to avoid detection or apprehension, which would undermine the entire investigative process.

(ii) From subsection (e)(8) (Notice on Individuals) because compliance would interfere with DHS's ability to obtain, serve, and issue subpoenas, warrants, and other law enforcement mechanisms that may be filed under seal and could result in disclosure of investigative techniques, procedures, and evidence.

(iii) From subsection (g) (Civil Remedies) to the extent that the system is exempt from other specific subsections of the Privacy Act.

(b) Additionally, this system contains records or information recompiled from or created from information contained in other systems of records that are exempt from certain provisions of the Privacy Act. For these records or information only, the Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), has exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act: 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4); (d)(1)-(4); (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5) and (e)(8); (f); and (g). Additionally, the Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), has exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3); (d)(1)-(4); (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I); and (f). Exemptions from these particular subsections are justified, on a case-by-case basis to be determined at the time a request is made, for the following reasons:

(i) From subsection (c)(3) and (c)(4) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could alert the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS as well as the recipient agency. Disclosure of the accounting would therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts and/or efforts to preserve national security. Disclosure of the accounting would also permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation, to tamper with witnesses or evidence, and to avoid detection or apprehension, which would undermine the entire investigative process.

(ii) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the 6records contained in this system of records could inform the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS or another agency. Access to the records could permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation, and to avoid detection or apprehension. Amendment of the records could interfere with ongoing investigations and law enforcement activities and would impose an unreasonable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continually reinvestigated. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could disclose security-sensitive information that could be detrimental to homeland security.

(iii) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because in the course of investigations into potential violations of federal law, the accuracy of information obtained or introduced occasionally may be unclear, or the information may not be strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is appropriate to retain all information that may aid in establishing patterns of unlawful activity.

(iv) From subsection (e)(2) (Collection of Information from Individuals) because requiring that information be collected from the subject of an investigation would alert the subject to the nature or existence of the investigation, thereby interfering with that investigation and related law enforcement activities.

(v) From subsection (e)(3) (Notice to Subjects) because providing such detailed information could impede law enforcement by compromising the existence of a confidential investigation or reveal the identity of witnesses or confidential informants.

(vi) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), and (e)(4)(I) (Agency Requirements) and (f) (Agency Rules), because portions of this system are exempt from the individual access provisions of subsection (d) for the reasons noted above, and therefore DHS is not required to establish requirements, rules, or procedures with respect to such access. Providing notice to individuals with respect to existence of records pertaining to them in the system of records or otherwise setting up procedures pursuant to which individuals may access and view records pertaining to themselves in the system would undermine investigative efforts and reveal the identities of witnesses, potential witnesses, and confidential informants.

(vii) From subsection (e)(5) (Collection of Information) because with the collection of information for law enforcement purposes, it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. Compliance with subsection (e)(5) would preclude DHS agents from using their investigative training and exercise of good judgment to both conduct and report on investigations.

(viii) From subsection (e)(8) (Notice on Individuals) because compliance would interfere with DHS's ability to obtain, serve, and issue subpoenas, warrants, and other law enforcement mechanisms that may be filed under seal and could result in disclosure of investigative techniques, procedures, and evidence.

(ix) From subsection (g) (Civil Remedies) to the extent that the system is exempt from other specific subsections of the Privacy Act.

* * * * *
Start Signature

Dated: March 2, 2016.

Karen L. Neuman,

Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-06233 Filed 3-18-16; 8:45 am]

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