How I requested my photographs from the Department of Homeland Security

Runa Sandvik:

I have my photograph taken and my fingerprints scanned every time I enter the United States. So do all other foreign nationals. The information is collected under the US-VISIT program. Information such as name, date of birth, gender, and travel document data is recorded as well. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request I filed in November 2014, the Department of Homeland Security released a document containing information collected about me under this program over the last four years.

In addition to photographs, the 21-page document contains entries for every encounter I have had with the agency in that period. Most of these encounters were recorded at airports around the country, but there are also entries for appointments related to immigration and enrollment into the Global Entry program. Along with the Global Entry program, the DHS recently launched a new program that may allow it to collect similar information about US citizens.