US House Homeland Security Committee advances biometric data sharing bill

The United States House Homeland Security Committee has advanced the Biometric Identification Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act of 2018. The legislation introduced by Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) will fully authorize BITMAP and help better identify national security threats.

BITMAP is a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations-led program thqat enables partner-country law enforcement officers to collect and share biometric and biographic data on special interest individuals to identify potential threat actors.

“The BITMAP program has proven extremely useful in increasing our capacity for information sharing and developing comprehensive strategies with our international partners to intercept known or suspected terrorists and criminals before they reach our borders,” Keating explained.

McCaul said that the BITMAP program shares valuable data from law enforcement officers in participating countries with U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, noting the bill would help stop individuals who want to bring harm to the American people from entering the country. He added that he “looks forward to the bill advancing to the House floor for a vote and continuing the Committee’s efforts to better secure the homeland”.

According to recent predictions by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, “evolving threats of terrorism, drug abuse and human trafficking will be the top three challenges impacting US law enforcement in 2018 … While these problems are familiar, new techniques and technologies used by perpetrators will require agencies to share data, employ new intelligence technologies and work together more closely to combat the threats effectively.”

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