March 15, 2003
Welcome to the New Travel

A bag on a flight from Seattle to San Diego was found by its owner to have been inspected by someone commenting on the contents of his bag, which included some "No Iraq War" signs. The baggage inspector included the official preprinted inspection notice in the bag, but also wrote a note: "Don't appreciate your anti-American attitude!"

Robert O'Harrow, Jr. writes about the Aviation ID System and the Senate Commerce Committee's vote to support TSA disclosure of the systems' details and privacy implications. The CAPPS II system will rely heavily on commercial data systems about every American adult. In other words, your Choicepoint report, with information about every trackable purchase ($3 coffee at Starbucks? $2 bagel at Noahs? etc. from your debit card) as well as other kinds of activities you participate in, like your neighborhood watch association membership, or your work as a Boy Scout troop leader, all your speeding tickets, will be used to make decisions about screening you, or letting you fly at all. Even though laws, like the Privacy Act of 1974 discourage the government from doing this themselves, the Act doesn't discourage buying the info from a company, even if it's just the aggregated score. So the question is, how much of each person's report will be used, or will they just look at an aggregated score, and how much control will people have to correct mistakes or even know that any particular information is being used. In 2001, Glenn Simpson, in the Wall Street Journal (courtesy of IP/Farber) (or the WSJ -- sub req) reported the FBI using Choicepoint, as well as 35 other Federal agencies, to make decisions about citizens.

"This is really the beginning of a debate of how our country can fight [terrorism] ferociously, without gutting civil liberties," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), whose amendment "would require the TSA to report how it will mitigate errors and enable appeals from passengers who believe they were incorrectly identified as potential threats."

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 15, 2003 08:55 AM
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Posted by: message boards on August 4, 2005 07:34 AM
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