Thursday, 15 July 2004

CAPPS-II is dead. Long live CAPPS-II!

Hours after announcing that the CAPPS-II airline passenger profiling and monitoring system would be renamed and/or merged into other programs rather than implemented by its original name, the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began floating trial balloons -- here and here and here and here and here and here -- as to what form the new CAPPS-II (not) will take.

Coke, new Coke, it's the same swill, so far as I can tell.

As expected, what's being dropped is the inessential and expensive real-time profiling, and the use of commercial data other than airline reservations. But the core of CAPPS-II -- the effort to ensure that all travellers are sufficiently identified that their reservations can be indexed into lifetime travel dossiers -- remains intact.

The Program Formerly Known As CAPPS-II may still require the same three directives as CAPPS-II to prohibit anonymous or unreserved travel and require specified identifying information for each passenger in their reservation:

The Capps 2 system was supposed to be based on passengers' names, addresses and phone numbers; the original proposal for the system would have required passengers to submit their dates of birth as well. The new system might still do that, according to the official.

This won't be for real-time profiling, the official leakers reassure us, which means that the only purpose of the new mandates will be to ensure that individual passenger name records (PNR's) can be indexed into comprehensive personal travel histories maintained by the four centralized computer reservation systems (CRS's) and made available to the government whenever it asks for them.

And did I mention that far more names will be placed on watch lists under CAPPS-II (not)?:

The government already has a so-called no-fly list, which is actually a list of people whom the airlines are not supposed to carry, and a larger ["selectee"] list of people who are supposed to be put through secondary screening if they seek to fly. According to an administration official who asked not to be identified, those two lists have fewer than 10,000 names but the new computer system would integrate a list of names that is "dramatically larger."

The other big difference between CAPPS-II and CAPPS-II (not) is that the new CAPPS-II (not) will use the same integrated blacklist as many other government programs, not a list specifically related to perceived threats to aviation. So the much larger number of people whose names are on the list will be prevented from doing lots of other things, as well getting on airplanes.

I'm feeling safer from harassment already. I'm sure that identifying people more precisely will mean that only the real enemies of the state will be prevented from travelling, or singled out for "special treatment" when they try to fly.

Of course, since I'm not an enemy of the state , I've got nothing to fear. They'll never come for me. It can't happen here.

Link | Posted by Edward on Thursday, 15 July 2004, 21:58 ( 9:58 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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All advice and recommendations are the personal opinions of Edward Hasbrouck, and do not necessarily represent the views of my publishers, employers, or clients.