Civics: An Inside Look at All the Data CBP Collects About Everyone Crossing U.S. Borders

Aaron Boyd:

Customs and Border Protection collects a wealth of information through the technologies deployed at the ports of entry, all of which is stored in a master crossing record the agency keeps on every individual who enters the country.

That record contains information gathered at every crossing: the time, date and port of the crossing, the information taken from their travel documents, photos and data collected on their belongings and vehicles, and determinations made by customs officers throughout the process. For non-U.S. citizens, this also means biometric data, such as photos and fingerprints.

That record also includes data culled from a variety of federal databases and sources. But CBP doesn’t automatically share its records with other parts of the government—even other Homeland Security components. However, there are procedures and agreements in place that enable some information sharing, spreading the data beyond just CBP’s control.

Over the last few months, Nextgov has been reporting on where and how CBP collects information on people crossing the border, where and how that data is stored and shared, and the agency’s plans to collect and further integrate more data in the near future.