Monday, 9 February 2004

House, Senate members call for action on travel privacy

Prompted by grassroots outrage at CAPPS-II and the jetBlue Airways and Northwest Airlines privacy scandals, especially from business travellers, members of both the House and Senate have begun calling for Congressional action.

The Oakland Tribune reports that 16 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to TSA Acting Administrator David M. Stone listing some of the problems and unanswered questions about CAPPS-II, and asking, "that the program be suspended indefinitely until these serious concerns are addressed." The joint Congressional appeal to the TSA was initiated by a Dear Colleague letter from Congressmen Ron Paul, Gerald Kleczka, and Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.

Republican Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon last week asked Chairman John McCain of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to hold a Committee hearing on privacy issues, particularly, "the sharing of customers' private information between domestic companies and federal agencies."

In his letter to Sen. McCain, Sen. Smith said he had recently written to both the Administrator of NASA and the CEO of Northwest Airlines, "requesting information about the NASA aviation security study which gathered private Northwest Airlines passenger information and may have failed to account for ... privacy considerations." Sen. Smith's letter also referred to the Committee's privacy concerns about "the submission of passenger records for the new Computer Assisted Passenger PreScreening Program (CAPPS II) by airlines and airline reservation companies."

Meanwhile, Business Travel News reports on interviews with corporate travel managers questioning whether they can trust airlines or the government with confidential business data in travel reservations, and the latest polls of travel managers on CAPPS-II, the Northwest and jetBlue scandals, and related travel privacy issues by the Business Travel Coalition and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives .

And, hard on the heels of the latest release of an internal TIA e-mail message casting more suspicion on the relationship between Acxiom Corp., the Transportation Security Administration, and the "Total Information Awareness" program, there are detailed investigations of Acxiom's involvement with these projects in Fortune magazine, "Never Heard Of Acxiom? Chances Are It's Heard Of You." (summary; news release; full text available online only to paid subscribers) and Salon.com , Acxiom is watching you .

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 9 February 2004, 15:41 ( 3:41 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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