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  • News: DHS Publishes Final Rule on Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions

    [Federal Register Volume 79, Number 63 (Wednesday, April 2, 2014)]
    [Rules and Regulations]
    [Pages 18441-18442]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 2014-07386]
    
    
    
    ========================================================================
    Rules and Regulations
                                                    Federal Register
    ________________________________________________________________________
    
    This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
    having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
    to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
    under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.
    
    The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 
    Prices of new books are listed in the first FEDERAL REGISTER issue of each 
    week.
    
    ========================================================================
    
    
    Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 63 / Wednesday, April 2, 2014 / Rules 
    and Regulations
    
    [[Page 18441]]
    
    
    
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
    
    Office of the Secretary
    
    6 CFR Part 5
    
    [Docket No. DHS-2013-0012]
    
    
    Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions; Department of 
    Homeland Security U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement--014 
    Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory System of Records
    
    AGENCY: Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security.
    
    ACTION: Final rule.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security is issuing a final rule to 
    amend its regulations to exempt portions of the ``Department of 
    Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement--014 
    Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory System of 
    Records'' from certain provisions of the Privacy Act. Specifically, the 
    Department exempts portions of the ``Department of Homeland Security/
    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement--014 Homeland Security 
    Investigations Forensic Laboratory System of Records'' from one or more 
    provisions of the Privacy Act because of criminal, civil, and 
    administrative enforcement requirements.
    
    DATES: Effective Date: This final rule is effective April 2, 2014.
    
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general questions please contact: 
    Lyn Rahilly, Privacy Officer, (202-732-3300), U.S. Immigration and 
    Customs Enforcement, 500 12th Street SW., Mail Stop 5004, Washington, 
    DC 20536, email: ICEPrivacy@ice.dhs.gov. For privacy issues please 
    contact: Karen L. Neuman (202-343-1717), Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy 
    Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.
    
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    
    Background
    
        The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Immigration and 
    Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
    (NPRM) in the Federal Register, 78 FR 28761, May 16, 2013, proposing to 
    exempt portions of the system of records from one or more provisions of 
    the Privacy Act because of criminal, civil, and administrative 
    enforcement requirements. The system of records is the DHS/ICE-014 
    Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory (HSI-FL) System of 
    Records. The DHS/ICE--014 HSI-FL System of Records Notice (SORN) was 
    published concurrently in the Federal Register, 78 FR 28867, May 16, 
    2013, and comments were invited on both the NPRM and the SORN.
    
    Public Comments
    
        DHS received one computer-generated comment on the NPRM and no 
    comments on the SORN. The comment on the NPRM did not pertain to the 
    proposed rulemaking or the system of records. Accordingly, the 
    Department will implement the rulemaking as proposed.
    
    List of Subjects in 6 CFR Part 5
    
        Freedom of information, Privacy.
    
        For the reasons stated in the preamble, DHS amends Chapter I of 
    Title 6, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:
    
    PART 5--DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION
    
    0
    1. The authority citation for part 5 continues to read as follows:
    
        Authority: 6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 
    2135; 5 U.S.C. 301. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552. 
    Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552a.
    
    
    0
    2. Add at the end of Appendix C to part 5, the following new paragraph 
    ``72'' to read as follows:
    
    Appendix C to Part 5--DHS Systems of Records Exempt From the Privacy 
    Act
    
    * * * * *
        72. The DHS/ICE-014 Homeland Security Investigations Forensic 
    Laboratory System of Records consists of electronic and paper 
    records that will be used by DHS and its components. The DHS/ICE-014 
    Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory System of 
    Records contains records of evidence and cases submitted to the HSI-
    FL. This information will include information on the individual 
    submitting the request, identify the evidence submitted, track the 
    evidence as it moves throughout the HSI-FL, capture case notes and 
    results of examinations, store electronic images of evidence, and 
    produce reports of findings. Other case-related records are 
    maintained, including descriptions of expert witness testimony 
    provided by HSI-FL employees. Records in the DHS/ICE-014 Homeland 
    Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory System of Records also 
    include the library of genuine, altered, and counterfeit travel and 
    identity documents provided to the HSI-FL by international 
    organizations, government agencies, and law enforcement 
    organizations from across the United States and around the world to 
    research methods of document production and authenticate documents 
    through comparative forensic examinations. The DHS/ICE-014 Homeland 
    Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory System of Records 
    contains information that is collected by, on behalf of, in support 
    of, or in cooperation with DHS and its components, and may contain 
    personally identifiable information (PII) collected by other 
    federal, state, local, tribal, foreign, or international government 
    agencies. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, 
    pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), has exempted this system from the 
    following provisions of the Privacy Act, subject to limitations set 
    forth in 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4); (d); (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), 
    (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), (e)(5), (e)(8); (f); and (g). 
    Additionally, the Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 
    U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), has exempted this system from the following 
    provisions of the Privacy Act, subject to limitations set forth in 5 
    U.S.C. 552a(c)(3); (d); (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I); and 
    (f). Where a record received from another system has been exempted 
    in that source system under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), DHS will claim the 
    same exemptions for those records that are claimed for the original 
    primary systems of records from which they originated and claims any 
    additional exemptions set forth here. Exemptions from these 
    particular subsections are justified, on a case-by-case basis to be 
    determined at the time a request is made, for the following reasons:
        (a) From subsection (c)(3) and (4) (Accounting for Disclosures) 
    because release of the accounting of disclosures could alert the 
    subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, 
    civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that 
    investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS 
    as well as the recipient agency. Disclosure of the accounting would 
    therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts 
    and/or efforts to preserve
    
    [[Page 18442]]
    
    national security. Disclosure of the accounting would also permit 
    the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the 
    investigation, to tamper with witnesses or evidence, and to avoid 
    detection or apprehension, which would undermine the entire 
    investigative process.
        (b) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to 
    the records contained in this system of records could inform the 
    subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, 
    civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that 
    investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS 
    or another agency. Access to the records could permit the individual 
    who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation, to 
    tamper with witnesses or evidence, and to avoid detection or 
    apprehension. Amendment of the records could interfere with ongoing 
    investigations and law enforcement activities and would impose an 
    unreasonable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be 
    continually reinvestigated. In addition, permitting access and 
    amendment to such information could disclose security-sensitive 
    information that could be detrimental to homeland security.
        (c) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of 
    Information) because in the course of investigations into potential 
    violations of federal law, the accuracy of information obtained or 
    introduced occasionally may be unclear, or the information may not 
    be strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In 
    the interests of effective law enforcement, it is appropriate to 
    retain all information that may aid in establishing patterns of 
    unlawful activity.
        (d) From subsection (e)(2) (Collection of Information from 
    Individuals) because requiring that information be collected from 
    the subject of an investigation would alert the subject to the 
    nature or existence of the investigation, thereby interfering with 
    that investigation and related law enforcement activities.
        (e) From subsection (e)(3) (Notice to Subjects) because 
    providing such detailed information could impede law enforcement by 
    compromising the existence of a confidential investigation or reveal 
    the identity of witnesses or confidential informants.
        (f) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), and (e)(4)(I) (Agency 
    Requirements) and (f) (Agency Rules), because portions of this 
    system are exempt from the individual access provisions of 
    subsection (d) for the reasons noted above, and therefore DHS is not 
    required to establish requirements, rules, or procedures with 
    respect to such access. Providing notice to individuals with respect 
    to existence of records pertaining to them in the system of records 
    or otherwise setting up procedures pursuant to which individuals may 
    access and view records pertaining to themselves in the system would 
    undermine investigative efforts and reveal the identities of 
    witnesses, and potential witnesses, and confidential informants.
        (g) From subsection (e)(5) (Collection of Information) because 
    with the collection of information for law enforcement purposes, it 
    is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, 
    relevant, timely, and complete. Compliance with subsection (e)(5) 
    would preclude DHS agents from using their investigative training 
    and exercise of good judgment to both conduct and report on 
    investigations.
        (h) From subsection (e)(8) (Notice on Individuals) because 
    compliance would interfere with DHS's ability to obtain, serve, and 
    issue subpoenas, warrants, and other law enforcement mechanisms that 
    may be filed under seal and could result in disclosure of 
    investigative techniques, procedures, and evidence.
        (i) From subsection (g)(1) (Civil Remedies) to the extent that 
    the system is exempt from other specific subsections of the Privacy 
    Act.
    
        Dated: March 6, 2014.
    Karen L. Neuman,
    Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2014-07386 Filed 4-1-14; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 9111-28-P
    
    
    
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