Friday, 30 July 2010

Washington Post: "Secure Flight may be making your privacy less secure"

I’m quoted today as spokesperson for the Identity Project ( in the Washington Post in a story by Christopher Elliott about how airlines are able to use personal information — collected under government duress for the TSA’s Secure Flight passenger surveillance and control scheme — for the airlines’ own marketing and other purposes:

[A]irlines see an opportunity to “maximize the marketing and other commercial value of this government-coerced informational windfall,”asserted Edward Hasbrouck, a consultant to the Identity Project, a privacy advocacy organization for travelers. And drawing a fine line between data collected for Secure Flight and information gathered for other purposes, such as frequent-flier program account information, may allow them to do that.

“It renders meaningless any restrictions on which of this data is retained, or for how long, by the government itself,” Hasbrouck added.

“Could it be that the information we give airlines doesn’t belong to anyone or, worse, isn’t regulated by anyone?” Elliott asks.

A good question — and “privacy” may be the least of the problems with Secure Flight, as discussed in my testimony on behalf of the Identity Project (quoted from, in part, in the Post story) at the TSA’s only public hearing on Secure Flight, the more detailed written comments submitted to the TSA by the Identity Project, and IDP’s FAQ about Secure Flight.

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 30 July 2010, 16:09 ( 4:09 PM)

"We have been assured that no passenger will be turned away or be denied the ability to travel," said David A. Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association of America, a domestic airline trade group. "It would simply mean if you didn't have the information, you would be subjected to secondary screening."

The TSA seems to have softened its stance since October, when then-TSA Administrator Kip Hawley and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the Secure Flight program. They said that except in rare situations, passengers who did not provide the additional information would be denied boarding and subject at minimum to being flagged for additional screening at airport security checkpoints.

Posted by: Mark, 4 August 2010, 12:00 (12:00 PM)
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