Feds Compile Database on Border-Crossing US Citizens

Agents will track crossings and store info for 15 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2008 4:22 AM CDT
Traffic is seen on the Detroit side of the Ambassador Bridge spanning the US and Canada, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. The government is keeping records of all US citizens who cross land borders.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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(Newser) – The federal government has begun tracking the border crossings of US citizens and building a huge database with the information, the Washington Post reports. The data collection, made possible by machine-readable documents, has alarmed privacy groups. The government plans to keep the information for 15 years and share it with investigators whenever needed.

Homeland Security officials say the information will help combat terror, but critics fear the data will be abused. "People expect to be checked when they enter the country and for the government to determine if they're admissible or not," said a lawyer. "What they don't expect is for the government to keep a record for 15 years" of their travels.