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Sat, Mar 05, 2011

NBAA Opposes New Limitations On Participation In The BARR Program

Bolen: Block Aircraft Registration Requests Preserve Privacy, Competative Advantage 

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen issued a statement Firday regarding the FAA's publication in the Federal Register of a call for comment in response to the Agency's plan to severely limit participation in the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program.

The BARR program is administered by NBAA for the FAA. Currently, it allows operators with privacy and/or security concerns for their operations resulting from the availability of ASDI data to request that the data be blocked from public dissemination. This is accomplished by operators submitting a BARR to NBAA. Operators submitting a BARR are not currently required to furnish any reason or justification for the request. All such requests are routinely honored. If a BARR is not in effect, the Aircraft Situation Display, which is a graphic depiction in real time of the location, altitude, airspeed, destination, estimated time of arrival and tail number or designated identifier of air carrier and general aviation aircraft operating on IFR flight plans within U.S. airspace, facilitates the tracking by individuals of the minute-by-minute progress of their, or other, aircraft in real time. The FAA now makes that data available to subscribers through several vendors.

The NBAA says that if the proposal is implemented, only requests fully justified by a “Valid Security Concern” will be honored. All other requests for blocking will be denied and both real-time tracking information and after-the-fact flight information henceforth will be available to the public.

"The NBAA opposes the FAA's proposed limitations on the BARR program because we believe they represent an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons on board," said Bolen.

"The government's proposal ignores the legitimate need for the BARR program, and runs directly counter to long-established assumptions about government's role in the protection of privacy," the statement  continued. "When the sanctity of citizens' private conduct is threatened by the use of information technology, government's job is to protect the individual, not facilitate the intrusion - that's why the public isn't given access to E-Zpass records detailing where people are driving, or to credit card transactions revealing what consumers are buying."

Bolen said an additional concern is that the proposal creates an unnecessary competitive vulnerability for American businesses, which are trying to operate in a highly competitive world - a world in which the revelation of a company's aircraft movements can be tantamount to the forfeiture of that company's competitive edge. 

"Here's the bottom line," Bolen said. "NBAA sees no reason why our government should want to provide unknown parties - especially those engaged in corporate espionage, or simply those who may wish to do harm to others - with the tools to electronically stalk U.S. citizens or companies on general aviation airplanes. We will vigorously oppose this plan, and we expect that individuals and businesses will raise a chorus of strong, unified opposition to it as well."

FMI: www.nbaa.org/ops/security/barr

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