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July 19, 2005
Congress Must Halt Secure Flight

From Business Travel News.

Shortly after 9/11, the Bush administration proposed CAPPS II, which would have abandoned the specificity of the original CAPPS program for a broad data-mining approach. Under CAPPS II, travelers would have had names, addresses, dates of birth and other indicators checked against credit records, secret intelligence databases and consumer records compiled by "data aggregators" (companies that organize and sell information) like ChoicePoint. (ChoicePoint was tricked this year into handing over records on more than 140,000 customers to identity thieves.) The system would then have "ranked" passenger threat levels—and give each traveler a color-coded threat score.

Unease among the general public, as well as a critical assessment by Congress's investigative wing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), led lawmakers to halt the development of CAPPS II. The result? TSA reintroduced CAPPS II as Secure Flight with slightly different parameters, including the solemn promise not to cross-reference traveler records with top-secret databases or consumer records, both of which are notoriously inaccurate and consequently pose a serious risk of identifying innocent people as terrorists. Recently, however, TSA broke that promise, and showed Secure Flight to be little different than CAPPS II.

It's an op-ed, but well worth reading.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:04 PM