On November 2, 2006, DHS announced in the Federal Register details of a border-security program to screen all persons who enter and leave the United States, create a terrorism risk profile for each individual, and retain that information for up to 40 years.
DHS is seeking to apply new technology to perform checks on persons entering or leaving the country “by automobile or on foot.” DHS intends to use a program called the Automated Targeting System, originally designed to screen shipping cargo, to store and analyze the data. "We have been doing risk assessments of cargo and passengers coming into and out of the U.S.," DHS spokesman Jarrod Agen said. "We have the authority and the ability to do it for passengers coming by land and sea."
DHS is enhancing its ability to identify people at the borders. Specifically, DHS is expanding its Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, under which 32 million non-citizens entering the country annually are fingerprinted and photographed at 115 airports, 15 sea ports, and 154 land ports.
The Automated Targeting System relies on government databases that include law enforcement data, shipping manifests, travel itineraries and airline passenger data, such as names, addresses, credit card details and phone numbers. The parent program, Treasury Enforcement Communications System, houses all types of information from a variety of federal, state, and local sources. It includes arrest records, physical descriptions, and "wanted" notices. The 5.3 billionrecord database was accessed 766 million times a day to process 475 million travelers, according to a 2003 Transportation Research Board study. DHS stated that it will keep people's risk profiles for up to 40 years "to cover the potentially active lifespan of individuals associated with terrorism or other criminal activities," and because "the risk assessment for individuals who are deemed low risk will be relevant if their risk profile changes in the future, for example, if terrorist associations are identified."