Thursday, 9 August 2007

Revised USA government schemes for traveller surveillance and control

Today the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the latest converging and ever-worse versions of its plans for surveillance and control of both domestic air travellers within the USA (“Secure Flight”, formerly CAPPS-II) and international air and sea travellers to, from, or via the USA (the intenational “Advanced Passenger Information” system or “APIS”).

Together, today’s proposed rules would prohibit anonymous travel by air or sea (through compulsory display by would-be travellers, on request of the DHS, of government-issued identification credentials), compel monitoring of travellers and collection of lifetime personal travel records (through compulsory data collection and forwarding by airlines, cruise lines, travel agencies, and other travel companies) and control movement (through a default directive to air and sea carriers not to issue boarding passes to, or allow to board, any person except with the express prior case-by-case and flight-by-flight permission of the DHS.)

Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff claimed today that in their latest incarnations these schemes would not use “commercial data”. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, both Secure Flight and APIS as now contemplated would rely primarily on commercial data in airline reservations or PNRs to detemine whether or not to grant permission to travel, or to order more intrusive search or interrogation.

And there’s still no restriction whatsover on the ability of airlines, CRS’s and other travel companies to retain, use for their own purposes, or secretly disclose to third parties any of the data provided by travellers “voluntarily” but under the threat that not to provide this data to travel compnaies and the government can be cause for the DHS not to give permission to travel.

The proposals appear to retain all of the worst features I and the Identity Project , among other critics, have pointed out publicly and to the DHS in response to previous versions of the Secure Flight and international APIS rules.

The proposals are supposed to be published the Federal Register sometime in the next few days.

[Update: For unexplained reasons, the proposals weren’t published in the Federal Register until 23 August 2007. Comments on the domestic Secure Flight proposal (docket TSA-2007-28572) can be submitted through until 21 November 2007 . The international APIS rules (document USCBP-2005-0003-0059 in docket docket USCBP-2005-0003 at ) were published as “final”, effective 19 February 2008, with no further opportunity for public comment even on the changes from the original proposal. A separate notice buried in the Federal Register on 5 September 2007 announced a public meeting to hear comments on Secure Flight in person in Washington, DC, on Thursday, 20 September 2007. More on submitting comments here .]

Link | Posted by Edward on Thursday, 9 August 2007, 16:13 ( 4:13 PM)

Thank you for your instructions.

Posted by: Emily, 10 August 2007, 00:01 (12:01 AM)

Thanks for the info. Next thing you know they will add trains and busses. Then it will be taxis and private cars. There will be checkpoints on roads. Then you will have to have an internal passport to go more than 25 miles, just like in the USSR. It will be a simple matter once Real ID is up and running.

Where will they get the needed personnel to enforce it? Electronic surviellance will cut down on needed people, but the way the public schools are teaching, enough people will accept it that it will only be a problem to dissidents like us who read Freedom's Phoenix. But then, they are also preparing places to hold people in.

Not a good scenario.

And it will come very fast if Ron Paul is not elected, and Libertarians ride don't in on his coat tails.

Posted by: Alice Lillie, 11 August 2007, 17:04 ( 5:04 PM)

Have you also heard about what is happening on the US-Canadian border? People with minor, ancient criminal records are being told that they are "inadmissible to Canada." Mind you, we are not talking about hard-core, violent criminals, but people who got caught with a joint in their pocket 32 years-ago! This is part of the "new partnership" between the US and Canada -- and it is a frightening one too.

Soon -- because you got into a stupid college prank 20 years ago -- you will be told that you cannot fly on an airplane or leave the country, or even go to see your mother in Florida!

This, people is not about stopping terrorists, but harassing people, as there is not rational explanation for this ridiculous practice on the US-Canadian border.

"Going to Canada? Check your past
Tourists with minor criminal records turned back at border"
(San Francisco Chrincle,, Feb. 23, 2007)

Posted by: ESLaPorte, 18 August 2007, 14:19 ( 2:19 PM)

Dit is een uitstekende en informatieve blog: blij dat ik 'm gevonden heb.

En die 'No-Fly, Selectee list' en alle data dienen in het niet te verdwijnen. Wat 'n volksverlakkerij en controle.

"Big Brother" is een kleuter vergeleken bij Chertoff.

Bedankt voor alle info.


Posted by: Henk Ruyssenaars, 3 September 2007, 10:57 (10:57 AM)

In communist countries I've traveled, flow of information was controlled by restricting travel. No visa, no bus. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the front page of the largest newspaper had the main headline extolling virtues of the local garden club. The day before, the largest train crash (in loss of life)in world history had just occurred in another Ethiopian city. It wasn't even mentioned. No one knew because no one could travel. News could not be disseminated.

Posted by: Bobby Vassallo, 24 September 2007, 11:56 (11:56 AM)

Please join my move to end fingerprinting of tourists coming to the USA. Sign the pledge at if you're American or if you're not American.

Posted by: Judith Meyer, 6 November 2007, 12:54 (12:54 PM)

this has already started to happen

in the state of Washington ..U.S. Boarder patrol agents are now doing random "voluntary detainment & questioning" of anyone riding a WA state ferry for travel through the san juan islands..

to be VERY Clear.. since most people reading this are probably not familer with the Seattle Area.. all travel is within the United States and washington state boarders.. people have NEVER entered Canada waters or (which is about 20 miles north)

you can read the entire article on

this is NOT a limited situation DHS wants to install "permanent immigration checkpoints" within the united states (100 miles south of the canada boarder in several other states.. most recently in the state of Vermont - Secretary Michael Chertoff was quoted as saying "these checkpoints make sense" when being questioned by Senator Patrick Leahy you can read the sources listed below

I also remember many years ago traveling from Oregon to California on the interstate (I was a kid back then I don't remember the exact freeway) we suddenly came up on a boarder crossing checkpoint where cars were being stopped with toll booth like arms and uniformed officers where my parents were being questioned.. turns out this was a USDA checkpoint.. the concern was bringing in fruit into california and possibly spreading bugs.. (could someone who lives around oregon /calf boarder verify if this is still the case)

my last trip to Hawaii I had to go through USDA X-rays of my bags for any illegal fruit or produce from the mainland..

I honestly believe this is just the start of internal travel monitoring between states

Posted by: kevin, 5 June 2008, 01:38 ( 1:38 AM)

"The permission-based society" (by Wendy Grossman, Net.wars, 12 October 2007):

"It was Edward Hasbrouck who drew my attention to a bit of rulemaking being proposed by the Transportation Security Agency...

There are lots of negative things to say about these proposals ... But let's concentrate on one: the profound alteration such a scheme will make to American society at large. The default answer to the question of whether you had the right to travel anywhere, certainly within the confines of the US, has always been 'Yes'. These rules will change it to 'No'....

American children play a schoolyard game called 'Mother, May I?' It's one of those games suitable for any number of kids, and it involves a ritual of asking permission before executing a command. It's a fine game, but surely it isn't how we want to live."

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 12 January 2016, 17:04 ( 5:04 PM)
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