The Senate unanimously approved the DHS Data Framework Act on Friday, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a data framework to integrate all existing DHS databases.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and championed in the Senate by Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., would require DHS to make data more accessible to authorized users across its component agencies. The data framework must include all DHS information in the scope of the information sharing environment, and be accessible to authorized employees that require access to the information. The framework may exclude information that jeopardizes sources, compromises investigations, or does not serve a clear operational purpose. The bill also mandates that DHS replicate the framework on its classified network as well.
“We live in an increasingly connected world and must be able to get the right information to the right people at the right time in order to keep terrorists on the run and off our shores,” said Hurd. “The DHS Data Framework Act does just that by allowing DHS to quickly and safely share sensitive information among law enforcement agencies without compromising our nation’s secrets,” he added.
“The current system for accessing threat information is fractured and creates obstacles for the hard-working men and women at the Department of Homeland Security who are trying to identify potential terror threats and secure our homeland,” Hassan said. “This commonsense legislation will help streamline the process to identify terrorist threats and better equip our counterterrorism analysts at agencies, including the Secret Service and TSA, to quickly and efficiently access data across the entire Department.”
The bill, which passed the House in September of 2017, will go back to the House to reconcile terms of the measure with the version that the Senate approved. Hurd’s office expects “smooth passage” of the measure by the House before it is sent to President Trump’s desk for his signature.