Nov 17 2012

Air Canada lies about government access to reservations

Airlines should have been defending their customers against government demands for information. Instead, they have chosen to collaborate with governments not just in surveillance and violation of the rights of their customers, but in the cover-up of those practices and the attempt to keep travelers from realizing their extent.

We got a letter from Air Canada yesterday informing us that, “Your personal information was not disclosed to a government agency with respect to the flights mentioned in your Request…”

If we didn’t know better, this would be reassuring. But it’s not true.

As it happens, we had gotten another letter earlier this week from the Canadian Border Services Administration (CBSA), containing portions of its records of Passenger Name Record (PNR) and Advance Passenger Information (API) data about our flights on Air Canada, which CBSA had obtained from computerized reservation systems and Air Canada’s Departure Control System (DCS):

[Excerpt from Air Canada API and PNR data from the CBSA “Air Targeting” system]

The information in the CBSA Air Targeting files includes both PNR and API data for Air Canada flights, despite the “claim”: that, “Air Canada is not in a position to provide you with APIs records and logs for the flights listed in your Request since no such APIs records were created.”

And earlier this year, in the last batch of information disclosed by US Customs and Border Protection in response to our Privacy Act and FOIA lawsuit for records from the CBP Automated Targeting System, we received copies of two PNRs that CBP had obtained from different reservation systems for those same Air Canada flights:

[Excerpt from Air Canada PNR from the USCBP Automated Targeting System]

[Excerpt from Air Canada & Swiss International PNR from the USCBP Automated Targeting System]

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