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AP: Feds collect data on air travelers
Bakersfield Californian ^ | 6/20/05 | Leslie Miller - AP

Posted on 06/20/2005 3:11:01 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal agency collected extensive personal information about airline passengers although Congress told it not to and it said it wouldn't, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

A Transportation Security Administration contractor used three data brokers to collect detailed information about U.S. citizens who flew on commercial airlines in June 2004 in order to test a terrorist screening program called Secure Flight, according to documents that will be published in the Federal Register this week.

The TSA had ordered the airlines to turn over data on those passengers, called passenger name records, in November.

The contractor, EagleForce Associates, then combined the passenger name records with commercial data from three contractors that included first, last and middle names, home address and phone number, birthdate, name suffix, second surname, spouse first name, gender, second address, third address, ZIP code and latitude and longitude of address.

EagleForce then produced CD-ROMS containing the information "and provided those CD-ROMS to TSA for use in watch list match testing," the documents said.

According to previous official notices, TSA had said it would not store commercial data about airline passengers.

The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from keeping a secret database.

"I'm just floored," said Tim Sparapani, a privacy lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. "This is like creating an FBI file, not just some simple check, and then they're storing the data."

TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield said the program was being developed with a commitment to privacy, and that it was routine to change the official definition of a system of records during a test phase.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: aclulist; billofrights; collect; conspiracy; constitutionlist; data; donutwatch; eagleforce; feds; govwatch; libertarians; travelers; tsa

1 posted on 06/20/2005 3:11:08 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

The horror...the horror...


2 posted on 06/20/2005 3:12:55 PM PDT by LurkedLongEnough (The opinions expressed herein are not mine alone.)
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To: NormsRevenge

coffee, 4 lumps, cream, Orange juice, ham&cheese crooisant,

for starters..

filet mignon,champagne,cherry jubilee on the later flights :)


3 posted on 06/20/2005 3:13:41 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

""I'm just floored," said Tim Sparapani, a privacy lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. "This is like creating an FBI file, not just some simple check, and then they're storing the data.""


Does that mean The Hillary already has a copy?


4 posted on 06/20/2005 3:14:33 PM PDT by adam_az (It's the border, stupid!)
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To: adam_az

Where is Craig Livinstone these days?


5 posted on 06/20/2005 3:19:24 PM PDT by hotshu
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To: hotshu

LivinGstone. Sheesh!


6 posted on 06/20/2005 3:20:34 PM PDT by hotshu
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To: NormsRevenge
Pure BS about nothing.
For testing purposes, they could have just used random names from many phone books. But I can see how using real passenger lists can make testing a lot easier, more realistic and more effective. Personally I would use just arabic names. I have no problem with profiling.

Do I care if my name was used? Not in the slightest.

I become more and more convinced that the losers who scream the loudest do have something to hide!

7 posted on 06/20/2005 3:22:39 PM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are ignorance, stupidity and hydrogen)
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To: NormsRevenge
"A federal agency collected extensive personal information about airline passengers although Congress told it not to and it said it wouldn't"
"According to previous official notices, TSA had said it would not store commercial data about airline passengers."
"The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from keeping a secret database."

Tell me this doesn't just scream 'Orwell'? Secret government databases with information about American citizens (essentially dossiers) collected despite repeated assurances it wasn't happening? Rogue government agencies accountable to no one, lying to their oversight?

2+2=5?
8 posted on 06/20/2005 3:26:44 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: Abram; AlexandriaDuke; Annie03; Baby Bear; bassmaner; Bernard; BJClinton; BlackbirdSST; ...
A federal agency collected extensive personal information about airline passengers although Congress told it not to and it said it wouldn't,

So we can expect to see some arrests and imprisonments shortly right?Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here

9 posted on 06/20/2005 3:31:07 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (www.lp.org)
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To: Publius6961
Do I care if my name was used? Not in the slightest.

I become more and more convinced that the losers who scream the loudest do have something to hide!


Very good, comrade.

Four legs good, two legs better!
10 posted on 06/20/2005 3:37:57 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: Publius6961

>>first, last and middle names, home address and phone number, birthdate ....<<

If I go through your trash and get your SSI number, I have all I would need for theft identity. Your DoB is the most difficult data to obtain because it is not normally in the trash. Your SSI number frequently is.


11 posted on 06/20/2005 3:39:16 PM PDT by B4Ranch ( Report every illegal alien that you meet. Call 866-347-2423, Employers use 888-464-4218)
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To: freepatriot32

No, perhaps some scolding.


12 posted on 06/20/2005 3:39:50 PM PDT by B4Ranch ( Report every illegal alien that you meet. Call 866-347-2423, Employers use 888-464-4218)
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To: NormsRevenge

Took a flight up north the beginning of June. Flew Southwest.

They wouldn't let me print out my boarding pass online. Then they wouldn't let me check my luggage at the curb.

I go inside, stand in line to finally be told that I was on the TSA Watch List. Well whaddya know.

Of course, she didn't know why. Checked my driver's license and sent me on my way to the gate. Oh, also gave me a number I could call at TSA to (try) and get taken off the list.

Last time I flew about 6 months ago, everything was fine. The *only* thing out of the ordinary that happened since then was I put a fraud alert on my credit files as someone managed to get one of my card numbers and was charging some stuff.


13 posted on 06/20/2005 3:45:15 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (In God We Trust. All Others We Monitor.)
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To: Publius6961
"Personally I would use just arabic names."

That'll work well, let's see who's on Publius Airlines Flight 385, shall we?

Bang-up system you've got there. How about we search every one and every thing that gets onto an airplane? Better yet, how about the airlines do that? There's a reason El-Al is the safest airline in the world. Whether you're a 22 year old Palestinian or a 90 year old American, you will be searched, you will be questioned, and you will be made aware of the guys with M-16s guarding the cockpit.
14 posted on 06/20/2005 3:50:40 PM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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To: anyone
According to previous official notices, TSA had said it would not store commercial data about airline passengers.

Did TSA do this? I guess it depends on how you define "commercial"?

How does this compare with the recent news stories about fraudsters collecting millions of US citizens' credit card information?

15 posted on 06/20/2005 3:55:07 PM PDT by LurkedLongEnough (The opinions expressed herein are not mine alone.)
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To: NormsRevenge

ACLoonyU is upset? It must be a good move.


16 posted on 06/20/2005 4:16:24 PM PDT by eleni121 ('Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!' (Julian the Apostate))
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To: Publius6961

17 posted on 06/20/2005 4:20:39 PM PDT by agitator (...And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark)
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To: NJ_gent

How about we begin by searching anybody with a Muslim surname or a passport from the Middle East?

This TSA "watch list" system is a joke.


18 posted on 06/20/2005 4:25:45 PM PDT by nj26
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To: B4Ranch
No, perhaps some scolding.

If that even

19 posted on 06/20/2005 4:36:57 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (www.lp.org)
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To: LurkedLongEnough
I guess it depends on how you define "commercial"?

Or how you define "store". Was the TSA storing the data, or was the private contractor? If they had used remote terminals to access the databases rather than having accepted the CDs, there probably would not have been a problem.

20 posted on 06/20/2005 5:16:58 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: Publius6961
I become more and more convinced that the losers who scream the loudest do have something to hide!

/emphasis

21 posted on 06/20/2005 5:52:10 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: NormsRevenge
As a frequent flyer, I wish they would do more profiling and keep better records.

BTW, this is not new. Most airlines keep far more detailed records then most of us realize.

22 posted on 06/20/2005 5:53:22 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (Out of the mainstream..........................and better off for it!!)
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To: VeniVidiVici
be told that I was on the TSA Watch List

Maybe your name is the same as (or similar to) that of someone else who somehow got onto the list.

Let's say your name were something generic like "John Smith." Among the hundreds of other John Smiths, one might have somehow gotten on the list, causing undeserved trouble for all the other John Smiths whenever they fly.

23 posted on 06/20/2005 5:58:28 PM PDT by heleny
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To: Publius6961

So then you would have no problem with regular police searches of your home then, right?

You have nothing to hide, do you, citizen?


24 posted on 06/20/2005 6:11:11 PM PDT by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Publius6961
I become more and more convinced that the losers who scream the loudest do have something to hide!

Well hell then post all your personal info right here on this public board, since you obviously have nothing to hide. Let us all have a looksee. Some 24/7 webcams throughout your home, your every move on display, I mean since you have nothing to hide. I believe losers that make that statement are really the ones with something to hide. Be seeing you comrade. Blackbird.

25 posted on 06/20/2005 6:34:06 PM PDT by BlackbirdSST
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To: Publius6961
Do I care if my name was used? Not in the slightest.

Even though Congress told it not too, and they said they wouldn't, they went ahead and did it. That doesn't bother you?
26 posted on 06/20/2005 6:37:31 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: heleny
Among the hundreds of other John Smiths, one might have somehow gotten on the list, causing undeserved trouble for all the other John Smiths whenever they fly.

Thought about this too. But with my name I figured it would've happened long ago. :-)

27 posted on 06/20/2005 7:22:09 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (In God We Trust. All Others We Monitor.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Same Article...more details:

Government Collected Personal Data on Airline Passengers


Published: Jun 21, 2005 WASHINGTON (AP) - Air travelers who have been concerned about the government collecting their personal information from airlines now have a second source to worry about: commercial data brokers.

The federal agency in charge of aviation security revealed that it bought and is storing commercial data about some passengers - even though officials said they wouldn't do it and Congress told them not to.

The Transportation Security Administration is testing a terrorist screening program called Secure Flight that uses information about U.S. citizens who flew on commercial airlines in June 2004.

"This is like a secret file that's been compiled," said Tim Sparapani, a privacy lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The TSA hopes that successful testing of Secure Flight will allow it to take over from the airlines the responsibility for checking passenger names against terrorist watch lists.

But Secure Flight and its predecessor, CAPPS II, have been criticized for secretly obtaining personal information about airline passengers, not doing enough to protect it and then misleading the public about its role in acquiring the data.

The TSA and several airlines were embarrassed last year when it was revealed that the airlines gave personal information about 12 million passengers to the government without their permission or knowledge.

Class-action lawsuits have been brought against airlines and government contractors for sharing passengers' information. Airlines agreed to turn over passenger data for testing only after they were ordered to do so by the government in November.

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, the TSA gave passenger name records to a contractor, Virginia-based EagleForce Associates. A passenger name record can include a variety of information, including name, address, phone number and credit card information.

EagleForce compared the passenger name records with more detailed data from three other contractors to find out if the records were accurate, according to the TSA.

EagleForce then produced CD-ROMs containing most of the information "and provided those CD-ROMs to TSA for use in watch list match testing," the documents said. The TSA now stores that data.

According to previous official notices, TSA had said it would not store commercial data about airline passengers.

The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from keeping secret databases. It also requires agencies to make official statements on the impact of their record-keeping on privacy.

The TSA revealed its use of commercial data in a revised Privacy Act statement to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield said the program was being developed with a commitment to privacy, and that it was routine to change Privacy Act statements during testing.

"Secure Flight is built on an airtight privacy platform, and the GAO (Government Accountability Office) and Congress are providing close oversight every step of the way," he said. "The purpose of the testing is to define what the program will ultimately look like."

The TSA said it is protecting the data from theft and carefully restricting access.

Congress said no money could be spent to test such an identity verification system "until TSA has developed measures to determine the impact of such verification on aviation security and the Government Accountability Office has reported on its evaluation of the measures." That language was part of the Homeland Security Department spending bill, which became law on Oct. 18.

The GAO issued its report on Secure Flight testing on March 28.

Hatfield said appropriate congressional committees were briefed on the contract - awarded to EagleForce on Feb. 22 - in December.

But Bruce Schneier, a security expert who serves on the TSA-appointed oversight panel for Secure Flight, said the agency was explicitly told not to try to verify passengers' identity with commercial data.

"They're doing what they want and they're working around any rules that exist," Schneier said.

Last week, the Homeland Security Department's chief privacy officer, Nuala O'Connor Kelly, announced that she's conducting an investigation into the TSA's use of commercial data for Secure Flight testing.

---

On the Net:

Transportation Security Administration: http://www.tsa.gov

Homeland Security Department: http://www.dhs.gov

AP-ES-06-21-05 0210EDT

28 posted on 06/20/2005 11:40:10 PM PDT by TheOtherOne (I often sacrifice my spelling on the alter of speed™)
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To: TheOtherOne
Congress said no money could be spent to test such an identity verification system "until TSA has developed measures to determine the impact of such verification on aviation security and the Government Accountability Office has reported on its evaluation of the measures." That language was part of the Homeland Security Department spending bill, which became law on Oct. 18.

I guess the law is only to use against citizens.

29 posted on 06/20/2005 11:42:16 PM PDT by TheOtherOne (I often sacrifice my spelling on the alter of speed™)
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To: heleny

My name is fairly generic and I've gotten on the list (and no, it doesn't look anything like an Arabic name.) I always assumed it was just because I was posting to Free Republic and so I must be some sort of questionable character.


30 posted on 06/21/2005 12:38:26 AM PDT by mhx
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To: nj26
"How about we begin by searching anybody with a Muslim surname or a passport from the Middle East?"

These guys really aren't that dumb. How fast do you think Mohammed Al-Killemall would change his name to John Smith to avoid such a list? Let's secure the airplanes and then secure our borders and coasts.

"This TSA "watch list" system is a joke."

The fact that it's a mysterious list generated from who knows what, and that it's nearly impossible to even find out if you're on it, let alone how to get off it, makes it far more dangerous than a joke. It's ineffective against terrorists (who often times have multiple aliases), and it's dangerous to liberty-loving Americans. Again, instead of poking around at names and telephone numbers, how about we secure the airplanes?

I understand we can't do everything El-Al does, as they're a small airline that operates its security with the help of the Israeli military, but surely there are lessons to be learned from them. Search every person and every item being brought on board, run background checks on every employee who gets within throwing distance of an airplane, secure the cockpit door, and sit trained, armed air marshals on EVERY flight. That'd be a massive and real step forward in airplane security, as opposed to the mystical let's-see-how-complex-we-can-make-this "solutions" being thrown at the problem now.
31 posted on 06/21/2005 7:19:46 AM PDT by NJ_gent (Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.)
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