Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Corporate Welfare from TSA

USA Today reports “U.S. asks for more data on travelers

The federal government plans to begin collecting the full names and birth dates of air travelers this summer in its latest effort to screen passengers for possible links to terrorism.

In a few weeks, the Transportation Security Administration will notify airlines, travel agents and online reservation systems that they will be required to ask travelers for their legal names and birth dates when booking domestic flights.

Passengers who don’t comply [sic] with the request will dramatically increase their chances of being stopped at airports for questioning or pat-downs, TSA assistant administrator Justin Oberman said. That’s because their partial names are more likely to register a “hit” on terrorist watch lists.

This could help some people avoid the problems that the watchlists create. If we happen to know a terrorists’ birthday, anyway. But I’m far more concerned that, yet again, TSA will be mandating data collection through unregulated third parties.

It will probably be a crime to lie to the airline about your birthday. And that means that there’s another government-mandated privacy invasion where the airlines will be free to link “their” data with anyone else’s. It’s corporate welfare for the privacy invasion business.

On a similar note, Choicepoint has acquired EZGov, in a “transaction that will not have a material impact on its financial results, and will not be dilutive to earnings.” But it sure will improve their data to know that lying to them could land you in jail. Operational synergies, indeed. (Conscious Junkyard has more on “Choicepoint, Corporatism, and Welfare.”)

(Via BoingBoing. Ryan Singel comments in “You Say Its Your Birthday.”)