Wednesday, 25 February 2004

TSA finally starts talking to travel execs about CAPPS-II

The USA Transportation Security Administration held its first meeting with corporate travel managers and privacy officers last Friday, according to an announcement from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives:

“It’s time for the Transportation Safety Administration to consult with corporate travel managers and privacy officers…” This is the conclusion of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, following a special meeting held today with the TSA. ACTE leaders are attempting to head off a confrontation between the TSA and corporate America over possible CAPPS II violations of company privacy policies. A previous ACTE survey indicated that 78% of respondent travel managers said that the collection of PNR data in this manner could compromise corporate privacy policies.

“The time has come for the TSA to sit down and talk to business travel managers and corporate privacy officers before moving forward with any more plans to extract information,” said Nancy Holtzman, ACTE’s executive director. “We are in the process of assembling a working group of travel managers and corporate privacy officers to advise the TSA to avoid further confusion stemming from the development of CAPPS II….

“The travel industry is just beginning to see what those costs might be. Earlier this week, travel industry authorities indicated that TSA data requirements could cost millions in reprogramming systems and in training,” said Holtzman.

Earlier this month, ACTE said that they are “solidly behind” the GAO’s report on CAPPS-II:

“Business travel managers from the largest companies in the country are questioning the impact CAPPS II will have on both their companies travelers and the travel industry as a whole,” said Nancy Holtzman, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Managers. “In the scramble to draw the lines for privacy, little has been said about the deleterious effect the unworkable aspects of CAPPS II may have on a fragile industry recovery,” said Holtzman.

Ninety-five percent of survey respondents in a recent ACTE poll found CAPPS II unacceptable in its current form.

More than a year ago, in my comments on the CAPPS-II Privacy Act noticce, I pointed out the conflict between CAPPS-II and the privacy clauses in corporate travel management contracts. But this is the first time it has been discusssed by the TSA with the corporations whose confidential business information would be disclosed under the CAPPS-II scheme.

These same privacy clauses in travel management contracts were almost certainly violated when airlines (including jetBleu and Northwest), CRS’s (including Sabre), and third-party PNR processing firms (including Airline Automation — now part of the Amadeus CRS — and Acxiom) shared PNR data with government contractors and agencies for profiling tests. As recognition of the issue grows, so does the likelihood that all these companies handling, and secretly disclosing, reservation data will face breach of contract lawsuits from corporate travellers, in addition to the current crop of class action lawsuits by individual passengers.

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 25 February 2004, 11:52 (11:52 AM)
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