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September 21, 2004
TSA and Liability

News today of TSA requiring airlines to turn over domestic travel records for all passengers in June of 2004. Two things struck me about this.

First, I almost never thought I would read these words:

Expansion of these lists to include information not previously included for security reasons will be possible as integration and consolidation of various data maintained by the TSC is completed and the U.S. Government assumes the responsibility for administering the watch list comparisons. Secure Flight will automate the vast majority of watch list comparisons; will allow TSA to apply more consistent procedures where automated resolution of potential matches is not possible; and will allow for more consistent response procedures at airports for those passengers identified as potential matches.

I learned from the Federal Register notice above that CAPS is actually an application running on Sabre and the other airline computer systems. Now the government is going to take over running the application and have access to the underlying data. Trust them...

Second, I took a brief look at Southwest Airlines' privacy policy as an example. They say that my information will not be shared with anyone short of a court order and to otherwise confirm my credit card info for transaction. How does an Federal Executive Branch Order fall into their exceptions to their privacy policy? No Federal Judge has issued a subpoena and I don't think that Congress has deputized TSA with similar power. I think the airlines are exposed to civil liability for violating their own privacy policy.

Posted by hoffmang | September 21, 2004 10:45 PM


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