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CFPHR Joins EPIC Comments on E-Verify

CFPHR Joins EPIC Comments on E-Verify

EPIC E-Verify Comments Final 06.08.11

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Comments of EPICComments on DHS-2011-030 June 8, 20111

COMMENTS OF THE ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER
Joined By
THE 5-11 CAMPAIGN
THE ALA WASHINGTON OFFICE
THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
THE AMERICAN POLICY CENTER
THE CENTER FOR FINANCIAL PRIVACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY
THE CYBER PRIVACY PROJECT
THE DEFENDING DISSENT FOUNDATION
THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION
THE LIBERTY COALITION
PRIVACY ACTIVISM
UNITED SIKHS
Privacy ExpertCHIP PITTS, Lecturer of Law at Stanford University Law School
to
THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

“Notice of Privacy Act System of Records”DHS-2011-0030

June 8, 2011

By a System of Records Notice (“SORN”) published in the Federal Register on May 9,2011, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and the United States Citizenship andImmigration Services (“USCIS”) proposed to establish a new system of records for the DHS E-Verify RIDE Program.
1
Pursuant to the DHS notice in the Federal Register, the ElectronicPrivacy Information Center (“EPIC”) along with a coalition of privacy, consumer rights, and

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Comments of EPICComments on DHS-2011-030 June 8, 20113

EPIC’s recommendations.
3
Again in Congressional testimony in June 2007, EPIC urgedCongress to strengthen privacy and security safeguards associated with the EEVS the underlyingdatabases.
4
EPIC has analyzed flaws in such systems in a number of reports.
5
EPIC has alsofocused on employment verification systems as part of its “Spotlight on Surveillance” series.
6
The 5-11 Campaign is a not-for-profit grassroots campaign set to repeal nationalidentity laws, laws requiring data surveillance specific to identified persons and/or to fitfully stopall appropriations to implement national identity.The ALA Washington Office was established in 1945 to represent libraries on CapitolHill. The ALA was founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition inPhiladelphia, It was created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, andimprovement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order toenhance learning and ensure access to information for all. ALA Washington Office’s currentstrategic plan, ALA Ahead to 2010, calls for continued work in the areas of Advocacy and Valueof the Profession, Education, Public Policy and Standards, Building the Profession, Membershipand Organizational Excellence.The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”)

is the nation’s oldest and largest civilliberties organization with more than half a million members, countless additional supporters and
3
Marc Rotenberg, Exec. Dir., EPIC,
Testimony and Statement for the Record at a Hearing on H.R. 98, the “Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act of 2005,” Before the Subcomm. on Immigration, Border Sec., and Claims, H. Comm on the Judiciary
, 109th Cong. (May 12, 2005),
available at

http://www.epic.org/privacy/ssn/51205.pdf.

4
Marc Rotenberg, Exec. Dir., EPIC,
Testimony and Statement for the Record at a Hearing on Employment Eligibility Verification Systems (EEVS) Before the Subcomm. on Social Sec., H. Comm on Ways & Means
, 110thCong. (June 7, 2007), available at http://www.epic.org/privacy/ssn/eevs_test_060707.pdf.

5

See EPIC, Social Security Numbers, http://epic.org/privacy/ssn/; EPIC, Secure Flight,http://www.epic.org/privacy/airtravel/secureflight.html; and EPIC, National ID Cards and the REAL ID Act,http://epic.org/privacy/id-cards/.

6

See EPIC, E-Verify System: DHS Changes Name, But Problems Remain for U.S. Workers
(July, 2007),http://epic.org/privacy/surveillance/spotlight/0707/default.html; EPIC,
National Employment Database Could Prevent Millions of Citizens From Obtaining Jobs
(May, 2007),http://epic.org/privacy/surveillance/spotlight/0507/default.html.

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Comments of EPICComments on DHS-2011-030 June 8, 20114

activists, and 53 affiliates across the country. It advocates for individual rights though litigation,lobbying, and public education on a broad array of issues. The ACLU monitors the interplay between cutting-edge technology and civil liberties, actively promoting responsible uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom, while opposing those that undermine our freedoms and move us closer to a surveillance society.The American Policy Center (“APC”), located in suburban Washington, D.C., is a privately funded, nonprofit, 501(c)(4), tax-exempt grassroots action and education foundationdedicated to the promotion of free enterprise and limited government regulations over commerceand individuals.The Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights (“CFPHR”), was founded in 2005 todefend privacy, civil liberties and market economics. The Center is a non-profit human rightsand civil liberties organization whose core mission recognizes traditional economic rights as anecessary foundation for a broad understanding of human rights. CFPHR is part of the Libertyand Privacy Network, a non-governmental advocacy and research 501(c)(3) organization.The Center for Media and Democracy is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, publicinterest organization that focuses on investigating and countering spin by corporations, industryand government; informing and assisting grassroots action that promotes public health, economic justice, ecological sustainability, human rights, and democratic values; advancing transparencyand media literacy to help people recognize the forces shaping the information they receive aboutimportant issues affecting their lives; and promoting “open content” media that enable peoplefrom all walks of life to “be the media” and help write the history of these times.The Cyber Privacy Project Cyber Privacy Project is a non-partisan organization focusingon governmental intrusions against Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of privacy, particularly
in government databanks and national identification schemes for voting, travel and work, and onmedical confidentiality and patient consent.The Defending Dissent Foundation (“DDF”), founded in 1960, is a national grassrootscivil liberties organization working to protect and advance the right of dissent in the UnitedStates. DDF translates grassroots civil liberties concerns into national policy debate and action;and alerts grassroots activists when civil liberties are threatened; and educates the public, the press and policymakers about the important role dissent plays in a democracy.The Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) is a member-supported nonprofit civilliberties organization with more than 14,000 members worldwide, dedicated to the protection of citizens’ online civil rights, privacy, and freedom of expression. EFF engages in strategiclitigation in the United States and works in a range of international and national policy venues to promote balanced laws that foster innovation and empower consumers. EFF is located in SanFrancisco, California and has members in 67 countries throughout the world.

The Liberty Coalition works to help organize, support, and coordinate transpartisan public policy activities related to civil liberties and basic rights. We work in conjunction withgroups of partner organizations that are interested in preserving the Bill of Rights, personalautonomy and individual privacy.

Privacy Activism is a non-profit organization whose goal is to enable people to makewell-informed decisions about the importance of privacy on both a personal and societal level. Akey goal of the organization is to inform the public about the importance of privacy rights andthe short and long-term consequences of losing them – either inadvertently, or by explicitlytrading them away for perceived or ill-understood notions of security and convenience.

Social Security numbers, which employees are otherwise not required to provide.
10
In fact,despite the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) participation in the E-Verify system, theSSA has previously stated that “[r]epetitive use and disclosure of SSNs in organizational recordkeeping systems . . . multiplies the susceptibility of persons to potential identity theft.”
11
Employers submit their employees’ SSNs to the Department of Homeland Security, as well asother personal information the employee provides through a “Form I-9″ questionnaire.
12
The Department matches the information it receives against E-Verify’s databases, populated with records from the SSA’s “Numident” System.
13
The Numident master file is arecord of personally identifying information (“PII”) including name, date of birth, and SSN.
14
The information is provided to the government by SSN applicants on Form SS-5 “Applicationfor a Social Security Number.”
15
The Department also uses the E-Verify system to matchemployee information against any number of the twenty-one databases maintained by DHS andother federal agencies.
16
These additional databases contain signatures, fingerprints, photoimages, immigration statuses, addresses, changes of address, prior visa issuances or refusals, andgovernment benefit eligibility data.
17
In its System of Records Notice, the Department providesan example of database verification.
18
An employee who provides an “Alien Number” wouldtrigger an agency search into the USCIS Central Index System (“CIS”) and a photo match with
10
May 9, 2011 System of Records Notice at 26739.

11
Soc. Sec. Admin.,
Avoid Identity Theft: Protect Social Security Numbers
,
available at

http://www.ssa.gov/phila/ProtectingSSNs.htm.

12
May 9, 2011 System of Records Notice at 26739.

13
May 9, 2011 System of Records Notice at 26739-40.

14
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(2010).

15

Id
.

16
May 9, 2011 System of Records Notice at 26740. U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Dept. of Homeland Security, E-Verify Program Privacy Impact Assessment 20-24 (May 4, 2010)..

17
U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Dept. of Homeland Security, E-Verify Program Privacy ImpactAssessment 20-24 (May 4, 2010)..

18
May 9, 2011 System of Records Notice at 26740.

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Comments of EPICComments on DHS-2011-030 June 8, 20118

an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) image.
19
If DHS concludes that its searchthrough these databases “verif[ies] the employee’s employment eligibility,” the agency sends theemployer an “Employment Authorized” notification.
20
If not, the employer receives a”Verification in Process” response, and the Department undertakes further review.
21
The Department’s current proposal would add a new E-Verify database against which tocheck employee information.
22
The new database would merge federal background check records with state driver license data sets. The agency proposes to use AAMVAnet, described inthe SORN as a “secure framework.” In 2006, the Department of Transportation stated thatAAMVAnet is “based on outdated, 1980’s-vintage technology.”
23
If employees present their employers with state drivers’ licenses or permits, or state identification cards for those who donot drive, the Department proposes to check the identification document against the newdatabase of state motor vehicle records, which the agency proposes to aggregate through”voluntary” state participation.
24
Only one state, Mississippi in 2009, has voluntarily granted E-Verify access to itsresidents’ information.
25
Forty nine states have refused, likely on grounds EPIC identified inCongressional testimony regarding E-Verify: “[p]rivacy is better safeguarded by storing data inmultiple, decentralized locations, and only when necessary.”
26
As EPIC has highlighted in the
19

Id
.

20

Id
.

21

Id.

22
May 9, 2011 System of Records Notice.

23
U.S. Dep’t of Transp., FY 2006 E-Government Act Report (2007), available athttp://www.dot.gov/webpoliciesnotices/dotegovactreport2006.htm.

24

Id.
at 26738.

25
U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Dept. of Homeland Security, E-Verify RIDE Privacy ImpactAssessment Update 10 (May 6, 2011).

26
Employment Eligibility Verification Systems (EEVS): Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Social Security of theH. Comm. on Ways and Means, 110th (2007) (statement of Marc Rotenberg, President, Electronic PrivacyInformation Center) at 4..

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