Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals, reports the Associated Press. The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years. The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the United States after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered.
The program’s existence was quietly disclosed earlier in November when the government put an announcement detailing the Automated Targeting System for the first time in the Federal Register, a fine-print compendium of federal rules. “It’s probably the most invasive system the government has yet deployed in terms of the number of people affected,” said David Sobel, a civil liberties lawyer.