Jul 17 2009

Secure Flight to use same data mining tools as CAPPS-II

The TSA has been anxious to convince us that the renamed Secure Flight scheme for airline passenger profiling, surveillance, and control is fundamentally different and (despite the great new name) less Orwellian than its prdecessor, the thoroughly discredited CAPPS-II (“Computer-Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System, version 2”).

The TSA also wants us to believe that Secure Flight “does not use commercial data” (actually, it relies primarily on commercial data in airline reservations or Passenger Name Records) or data mining.

Now we learn from the boasts of one of the TSA’s contractors that “Secure Flight” will rely on the same fuzzy matching and data mining software that was used in the first trials of CAPPS-II in 2002 — which were unsuccessful, and which used illegally obtained PNRs for real travelers on real flights.

And despite the TSA’s claims that it isn’t a data-mining system, the contractor, Infoglide Software, describes the software being incorporated into “Secure Flight” as a tool for “mining today’s evergrowing sources of data”.  Oops!  perhaps the TSA forgot to tell them the party line about how to describe their products, or their marketing department didn’t get the message.

Nothing has really changed in CAPPS-3, a/k/a “Secure Flight”.  Depite all the minor tweaks from CAPPS-II, it still doesn’t meet the standards required by international human rights treates, the Constitution, or Federal statutes. Nothing has changed, including the need to stop it now — before another billion dollars or more is spent over the next year or two on implementing this system of surveillance and control of our movements.

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  1. Pingback: Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Secure Flight: Frequently Asked Questions

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