operational goals. The programs vary widely in sophistication of the technologies used to achieve operational goals; they also vary widely in the sources of data used (such as government data, proprietary information from industry groups, and data from private data aggregators) and in the forms of the data (such as structured and unstructured). The array of subject matter of the projects is broad: they cover law enforcement, terrorism prevention and pre-emption, immigration, customs and border control, financial transactions, and international trade. Indeed, the combination of the variety of applications and the variety of definitions of what constitutes data mining make any overall assessment of data mining programs difficult.

The scientific basis of many of these programs is uncertain or at least not publicly known. For example, it is not clear whether any of the programs have been subject to independent expert review of performance. This appendix is intended to be primarily descriptive, and the mention of a given program should not be taken as an endorsement of its underlying scientific basis.


Status: Withdrawn as such, but see Appendix J for a description.


Status: CAPPS II abandoned; Secure Flight planned for deployment in 2008.

In creating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Congress directed that it implement a program to match airline passengers against a terrorist watch list. CAPPS II was intended to fulfill that directive. It was defined as a prescreening system whose purpose was to enable TSA to assess and authenticate travelers’ identities and perform a risk assessment to detect persons who may pose a terrorist-related threat. However, it went beyond the narrow directive of checking passenger information against a terrorist watch list and included, for instance, assessment of criminal threats. According to the DHS fact sheet on the program, CAPPS II was to be an integral part of its layered approach to security, ensuring that travelers who are known or potential threats to aviation are stopped before they or their baggage board an aircraft.2 It


U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Fact Sheet: CAPPS II at a Glance,” February 13, 2004, available at http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0347.shtm.

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