Jul 09 2010

Australian government expanding air travel surveillance

Closely following the bad example (controversial both in the US and Australia) of the USA, the government of Australia is moving toward increasing detailed and integrated ID-based surveillance and control of air travelers.

As of the first of this month, under the so-called Enhanced Passenger Assessment and Clearance (EPAC) systems, Australian authorities have real-time access to all passenger name record (PNR) data for all passengers on all international flights to Australia.  And an additional A$24.9 million is being spent by the government over the next two years, in addition to uncounted amounts that airlines and other travel companies will have to spend, to expand the amounts of data collected by airlines and passed on to government agencies as well as the automated profiling (“risk assessment”) conducted on the basis of this data.

The changes and the heightened surveillance and control of travelers to Australia come at the same time that the European Union is simultaneously renegotiating agreements with Australia and the USA for government access to PNR data related to flights to and from the EU.

The Sydney Morning Herald quotes  the president of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, Terry O’Gorman, as saying that the scheme “increases the risk of a person wrongly being put on a no-fly list.”

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