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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Wednesday, February 26, 2003
12:56 PM

Trust Us, We're The Government... From the Washington Times:
Flight information from all airline passengers, including financial data, can be collected and analyzed under a little-seen regulation proposed by the Transportation Security Administration to track potential terrorists.

The federal government wants to keep information for 50 years on passengers it believes pose threats to national security, while information on other passengers would be stored in a database for the duration of their travel and eliminated after their return trips.

Apparently this was discovered by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and bravo to them.
"This is something that ought to be particularly worrisome to the public" said former Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican. "The public focus has been on TIA [Total Information Awareness], while the TSA has been quietly putting together a program that is as potentially just as intrusive." Mr. Barr, now director of the 21st Chair for Privacy and Freedom at the American Conservative Union, says the proposed changes are outlawed by the very Privacy Act that the department wants to amend.

Chet Lunner, Transportation Department spokesman, said the system will "be deployed much more narrower than the language will lead people to believe at the outset."

Mr. Barr called the department's defense "nonsense." "Federal agencies propose widespread regulations because they want widespread regulations. If they want narrowly focused regulations, they are required to submit for public comment a narrowly tailored regulation," Mr. Barr said.

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