Homeland Security to hold hearings on CBP breach
14 June 2019 13:29 GMT

Rep Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, has said the committee will hold hearings over news of a major privacy breach – resulting from a cyber-attack – at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“Government use of biometric and personal identifiable information can be valuable tools only if utilized properly. Unfortunately, this is the second major privacy breach at DHS this year. We must ensure we are not expanding the use of biometrics at the expense of the privacy of the American public.  I intend to hold hearings next month on Homeland Security’s use of biometric information.”

Customs and Border Protection officials said Monday that photos of travelers had been compromised as part of a “malicious cyberattack,” raising concerns over how federal officials’ expanding surveillance efforts could imperil Americans’ privacy.

Customs officials said in a statement Monday that the images, which included photos of people’s faces and license plates, had been compromised as part of an attack on a federal subcontractor.

CBP makes extensive use of cameras and video recordings at airports and land border crossings, where images of vehicles are captured. Those images are used as part of a growing agency facial-recognition program designed to track the identity of people entering and exiting the U.S.