“Travel Surveillance, Traveler Intrusion” at the Cato Institute

Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project will be speaking at a free, public forum on Travel Surveillance, Traveler Intrusion from noon-1 p.m. EDT next Tuesday, 2 April 2013, at the Cato Institute in Washington DC (with a live webcast):

Travel Surveillance, Traveler Intrusion

[photo by kind permission of Jeramie D. Scott]

Video from the Cato Institute (recommended)

Video from C-SPAN

C-SPAN video on Youtube

Audio podcast (listen while viewing the slides)

Slides and notes (PDF)

Featuring Edward Hasbrouck, Journalist, Consumer Advocate, Travel Expert, and Consultant, The Identity Project (PapersPlease.org), Author of the book and blog, The Practical Nomad; and Ginger McCall, Director, Open Government Program, Electronic Privacy Information Center; moderated by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

The United States government practices surprisingly comprehensive surveillance of air travel, amassing data about the comings and goings of all Americans who fly. Travel expert Edward Hasbrouck has been researching travel surveillance for many years. His findings reveal a stunning level of government surveillance, control of the traveler, and intrusion into commercial travel IT systems.

By April 2, the Transportation Security Administration will have begun a public comment process on its policy of putting travelers through imaging machines that can see under their clothes. Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center has been handling the litigation that prompted the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling requiring it to do so, and she will assess the proposed regulation and her renewed efforts to bring the TSA within the law.

If you can’t make it to the Cato Institute, watch this event live online at www.cato.org/live.

The Cato Institute asks that you pre-register if you plan to attend in person, but that’s just so they have an estimate of the expected attendance.

Hasbrouck will be presenting examples of what he found in his files when he sued the DHS for its records of his travels, what other travelers have found in theirs, and how the DHS obtains and uses this information to track us and to control who is allowed to travel.

As part of the same program, Ginger McCall of EPIC will be discussing the TSA’s proposed “rules” to require all air travelers to submit to virtual strip-searches. You have 90 days, until 24 June 2013, to tell them what you think of their proposal. (On the form to submit comments to the TSA, note that all of the fields except your comment itself are optional.) You can find some ideas for what to say in our previous article about the rulemaking.

There will be a live webcast, for those who aren’t in DC.

If you’d like to follow along, you can download the slides from Hasbrouck’s presentation as a PDF file.

[Update: C-SPAN broadcast the event live. Streaming video is available from the Cato Institute event archives (recommended), the C-SPAN archives, or on Youtube. The C-SPAN and Youtube camera angles don’t show the slides which illustrate Hasbrouck’s talk, so we recommend watching the Cato version and/or downloading the slides to follow along with the talk on C-SPAN. If you want to find out what’s in the file about you in the DHS “Automated Targeting System”, you can use the forms here. We would welcome a chance to review the government’s response, if you get one, and help you interpret it.]

24 Responses to ““Travel Surveillance, Traveler Intrusion” at the Cato Institute”

  1. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » California considers “enhancing” drivers licenses with radio tracking beacons Says:

    […] ID?” when, from outside your vehicle, they can obtain the EDL chip number and corresponding lifetime DHS travel history of every occupant of the vehicle. And as more people carry EDLs, how soon will not broadcasting […]

  2. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » How airline reservations are used to target illegal searches Says:

    […] fly to the US.  (See page 23 of these slides from a presentation we gave earlier this year at the Cato Institute and on C-SPAN.)  These records could only be obtained by the DHS if it has — as it does — […]

  3. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » How the NSA obtains and uses airline reservations Says:

    […] as we’ve noted previously, if you ignore the applicable provisions of the US Constitution and international treaties, US law […]

  4. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » TSA’s lying “response” to today’s story in the New York Times Says:

    […] “watchlists”.  And for international travel, CBP (another DHS component agency) does retain complete PNR data, including travel itineraries, and comprehensive border crossing and e…, for all travelers, in its Automated Targeting System (ATS) — and claims the right to […]

  5. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » “No-fly” trial, day 2: Dr. Ibrahim gets her (virtual) day in court Says:

    […] message in the form of an electronic “boarding press printing result”.  (Diagrams and video explaining this process.)  Presumably, the page-long DHS message to Malaysia Airlines was some […]

  6. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » “No-fly” trial, day 3: Why and how was Dr. Ibrahim barred from the U.S.? Says:

    […] of issues, it’s worth considering the larger thesis within which he places them in his book: All travelers now require the federal government’s express prior permission to board any aircraft (or maritime vessel) that will enter, leave, or travel within the United […]

  7. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Who will steal and reveal the “secrets” of the DHS? Says:

    […] be exempt from judicial review, and that it has limitless “discretion” to collect secret dossiers about us and our movements and to use those secret files, again at its “discretion”, in making secret, […]

  8. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Lessons from the first “no-fly” trial Says:

    […] and individualized dossiers without it inevitably having consequences for people’s lives. The travel dataveillance system needs to be dismantled, and the whole database needs to be […]

  9. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Ars Technica asks DHS for PNR data, but gets none of it Says:

    […] CBP’s response to Mr. Farivar was typical. As we’ve noted previously, two New York Times reporters are suing the DHS (the parent department of CBP) for failing to provide records about their travel which they requested, including PNR data.  CBP Every response we have seen to a request to CBP for its travel history records about an individual has been obviously incomplete, in one or another way.  We’ve seen other CBP secondary inspection records recording a traveler’s profession, what book a traveler was reading, and other information about activities protected by the First Amendment.  See the examples in our reports here and here and this presentation. […]

  10. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » EFF: “Secret Law is Not Law” Says:

    […] how far has the US strayed from this basic principle in its mass surveillance practices? Very […]

  11. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » European court to rule on legality of air travel surveillance Says:

    […] and surveillance establishment, and its allies in Europe and Canada, to globalize the PNR-based system of surveillance and control of travelers that has been put in place in the USA since […]

  12. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Is the attack on Charlie Hebdo a reason for air travel surveillance? Says:

    […] EU legislators to put aside their previous objections and enact a comprehensive EU-wide mandate for surveillance and profiling of airline passengers on the basis of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data from airline […]

  13. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Supreme Court to review Constitutionality of warrantless police access to hotel guest logs Says:

    […] The Los Angeles hotel registry ordinance mandates exactly the same three essential elements, for example, as the Federal government’s system for outsourced dragnet surveillance and control of air travelers: […]

  14. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » REAL-ID Act implementation, enforcement, and resistance Says:

    […] such as its multi-billion dollar mandates for modifications to airline IT systems to support surveillance and control of air travelers) on gross underestimates of its cost. In any event, some states strongly opposed the whole idea of […]

  15. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Accurint exposed as data broker behind TSA “ID verification” Says:

    […] surveillance of social media and other Internet activity is being used as one of the inputs to the black box that decides whether to allow us to exercise our rights. As we said five years ago in conjunction […]

  16. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » More pre-crime profiling of visitors to the US? Says:

    […] to enter the US under the VWP is required to obtain an ESTA before CBP will give an airline permission to issue a boarding pass for a flight to the […]

  17. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » No Social Security number? No passport. Why? Says:

    […] number in the DHS “Automated Targeting System” and included in the inputs to the pre-crime “black box” that decides whether to give airlines and other common carriers permission to transport each US […]

  18. Edward Hasbrouck Says:

    “Traveler Surveillance, Traveler Intrusion at Cato Institute” (by Lisa Simeone, TSA News Blog, April 4, 2013):


  19. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » How does your bank know that your dog’s not a terrorist? Says:

    […] transfers, and paper checks to automobile and home loan and new-account applications.  As with airline reservations, these transactions are scored according to secret profiling algorithms that take into […]

  20. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Profiling travelers to find the “good guys” — and recruit them as informers Says:

    […] certainly not all) of the people who contact the Identity Project for assistance in finding out what information the government has about their travels, or interpreting responses to their requests for travel records, are Muslims. Many of them, Muslim […]

  21. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » What does Donald Trump’s election mean for our work? Says:

    […] pre-crime profiling (President-to-be Trump calls it “extreme vetting”) as the basis for control of movement, especially across […]

  22. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » “AFI” is the latest DHS name for “extreme vetting” Says:

    […] of both domestic and international travelers — making predictive pre-crime decisions as to whether or not to allow them to travel — is already extreme, and already […]

  23. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Carrier sanctions kill. Airlines collaborate. Says:

    […] about government control of movement, not just surveillance of […]

  24. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » FAQ: U.S. government monitoring of social media Says:

    […] and border crossing logs and reservation records obtained from airlines, Amtrak, and other travel companies. Why not  add metadata about our associations and activities on social networks — IDs, […]

Leave a Reply