Thu, Feb 03, 2005
Testing Underway With New -- Commercial -- Databases
The TSA continues moving ahead with
its plans for life after CAPPS II -- a federally-mandated,
commercially driven database that knows who you are, what you buy
and whether you make your payments on time, aimed at deciding
whether you can fly commercial or ride the bus.
Wired Magazine reports the government is trying to create a
one-way information pipe without the risk of backflow. Airlines
would provide the data to the government, but the TSA would have to
make sure that information flowed only one way -- not back to the
airlines or their own credit agents.
Still, the government is stuck with a name-matching scheme born
early in the last century. That worries privacy advocates like
To hear Wired tell it, Quincy moved recently and almost right
away started getting junk mail aimed at a guy named Richard Smith.
So Quincey sent Richard a letter.
"We don't know each other, but we
are now linked permanently in direct-marketing databases. I hope
you are not a terrorist or associate with known terrorists.
Otherwise, airplane travel is going to become a major hassle for my
family and I."
No matter how the system tests for accuracy, Chris Hoofnagle of
the Electronic Privacy Information Center says it should never be
used for sorting potential terrorists from everyday passengers.
"These databases are only accurate enough for targeting of junk
mail," Hoofnagle told Wired. "That's what they are for."
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