Thursday, December 21, 2006

Report Says TSA Violated Privacy Law

Ellen Nakashima and Del Quentin Wilber write in The Washington Post:

Secure Flight, the U.S. government's stalled program to screen domestic air passengers against terrorism watch lists, violated federal law during a crucial test phase, according to a report to be issued today by the Homeland Security Department's privacy office.

The agency found that by gathering passenger data from commercial brokers in 2004 without notifying the passengers, the program violated a 1974 Privacy Act requirement that the public be made aware of any changes in a federal program that affects the privacy of U.S. citizens. "As ultimately implemented, the commercial data test conducted in connection with the Secure Flight program testing did not match [the Transportation Security Administration's] public announcements," the report states.

The finding marks the first time that the Homeland Security Department has acknowledged that the problem-plagued Secure Flight program has violated the law. It comes at a time when a separate program to screen international passengers is under attack for officials' failure to disclose until recently that they were creating passenger profiles that would be stored for 40 years.

More here.


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