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Little love for how HART continues to lumber along behind locked doors

Little love for how HART continues to lumber along behind locked doors

The U.S. committee responsible for appropriating government money is “disappointed” that the Department of Homeland Security did not get an independent review for a biometrics program.

The House Appropriations Committee went further, demanding that DHS disclose the technologies, data-collection methods and information sharing agreements involved in the department’s biometric Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology system, or HART.

Committee members this month issued a report on their new appropriations bill spelling out the committee’s funding decisions for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023.

One of the notes is about HART, which is to shoulder the legacy biometric storage and processing system known as the Automated Biometric ID system. HART is to become the central database for scads of roles, including national security, law enforcement, immigration and government background checks.

Committee members say in the report that they had “envisioned the department getting a “truly independent analysis of the HART project.” They are disappointed that DHS went through its typical review process.

Perhaps thinking that they had been too indirect in previous communications, committee members is directing DHS to contract with an independent organization to validate and verify its efforts on the HART project.

The committee “encourages beginning this process as soon as possible.”

According to reporting by trade publication FCW, the Homeland Security Department says some portion of HART will be live this year after lengthy delays and blown budgets.

The department likely will take the heat on overruns. Virtually no government agency is able to meet deadlines and constraints on any project of any size.

The difference here is that critics want to go over privacy concerns they have with HART. Privacy practices probably would get a good look an independent review.

FCW says skeptics worry that the government could use HART to surveil U.S. citizens with little or no oversight.

Others are unhappy with Amazon being involved in HART.

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