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Customs and Border Protection Issues Privacy Impact Assessment for ‘CBP One’ Mobile App

2 mins read

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduced a mobile application in Oct. 2020 and conducted a privacy impact assessment to help address privacy risks associated with the use of the CBP One app

CBP One seeks to serve as a single portal to various services offered by the agency and is designed for use by travelers, brokers, importers, carriers and international organizations, the agency said in the PIA report dated Feb. 19.

The PIA listed several privacy risks and one is that the mobile app can collect geolocation information that CBP can use to carry out surveillance or track the user’s movement. According to the assessment, this risk is “fully mitigated” since the agency does not track the location of the user’s device beyond the time of data submission.

“At the time the user submits his or her exit or entry, the device’s GPS is pinged by CBP One and the latitude and longitude coordinates are sent to CBP. The GPS ping is only collected at the exact time the user pushes the submit button and is used to confirm the traveler’s device is in some cases inside a certain CBP-defined radius or outside the United States,” the report reads.

Other privacy risks identified are the possibility of a user submitting data for other users without consent and submitting inaccurate information about other individuals.

The agency considers the risk “fully mitigated” because “there is no benefit in submitting inaccurate information through” the mobile app and the agency verifies whether the biographic data submitted is correct.

“In addition, any specific privacy risks related to data quality and integrity will be addressed in any standalone, function-specific PIAs,” CBP added.

The agency noted in the report that it plans to integrate the CBP ROAM app, which allows operators of small pleasure boats along the Northern Border to report their arrival into the U.S., into CBP One by spring of this year. The agency also intends to field CBP One for use by aircraft operators, seaplane pilots, bus operators, vessel operators, commercial truck drivers and agents in the near future.

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