TIPS program not tip of privacy-invasion iceberg, DOJ official says

| 8/19/2002

Reflecting the Bush administration's recent tweaking of the controversial TIPS program, Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels Aug. 15 said only the trucking, shipping, mass transit and maritime industries will have access to the TIPS hotline.

In a New York Daily News editorial, Daniels wrote: "Let me set the record straight. The hotline number will not be shared with any workers, including postal and utility employees, whose job puts them in contact with homes and private property.

"Information about how to access the hotline would be provided only to trucking, shipping, maritime and mass transit industries whose workers are in a unique position along our highways, waterways, ports and public transit routes to see the types of publicly-observable information that could be reported to TIPS."

For example, a trucker may call about a large vehicle parked under a bridge that seems out of place, Daniels said. Or, a lobsterman might call about a strange vessel with large telescopes on its deck. Daniels also stressed the Terrorist Information and Prevention System is a volunteer program.