Insider Threat

DHS to launch new system for insider threat data

Shutterstock image (by Bruce Rolff): eyes in a binary tunnel.

The Department of Homeland Security is planning a new system to centralize data on potential insider threats, according to a Feb. 26 public notice published on

The new system casts a wide net in term of information collection. This Insider Threat Program system of records includes basic biographical data, information from security clearance form questionnaires, government or contractor ID credentials, investigative records related to DHS personnel security programs, medical data, financial data and public-facing social media. Biometrics, including fingerprints and voiceprints, are also specified.

The notice states that the system will collect and retain records of investigative or analytic insider threat investigations, as well as IT activity.

In addition to official sources and background-check data, records can come from informants, news media and social media.

DHS plans to cut a wide swath in terms of whose data could end up in the system. In addition to DHS employees and contractors, the system will cover anyone authorized by DHS to enter its facilities or access its IT systems – including state, local, and tribal law enforcement.

DHS also is planning a rulemaking to exempt this system from certain Privacy Act provisions, including the notification of those whose data is stored within the system – because it is considered a law enforcement database.

In the notice, DHS said the system is part of the implementation of a 2011 executive order, which requires agencies to establish insider threat programs.

The DHS insider threat system of records becomes effective on March 28; the agency is taking public comments on it until that date.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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