New ICE System Analyzes Suspicious Relationships, Patterns
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing, effective February 29, 2008, the “ICE Pattern Analysis and Information Collection System” (ICEPIC). The system is intended to assist investigators by “identifying suspect identities and discovering possible non-obvious relationships among individuals and organizations” to discover violations of customs and immigration laws as well as possible terrorist threats or plots, according to a DHS report. The databases, which ICE declined to identify specifically, include those that track foreign students and visitors, immigrants, criminals and suspected terrorists. “All ICEPIC activity is associated with ongoing and valid law enforcement investigations,” the report noted.
The system reportedly includes the terrorist watch list, from which an estimated 15,000 people have appealed to have their names removed because of incomplete information or inaccuracies. According to the agency, ICEPIC builds on earlier ICE initiatives to verify the identity of Special Interest Aliens (SIAs), as designated by the Department of State. In 2003, ICE implemented the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS) to manage the growing collection of over 500,000 SIA records. National and international terrorist threats during 2004 and 2005 resulted in ICE reviewing not only the SIA records in NSEERS, but also the records of those registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and entered into the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT) system.
ICEPIC reveals relationships to an identified target, but it is not used to reveal a “predictive pattern,” the report said. From the relationships identified, ICE agents will develop specific leads and intelligence for active and new investigations. ICE is claiming certain exemptions from the Privacy Act.
Report available here.