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PASSPORTS AND TRAVEL
E-chips, greater airport scrutiny, and invasions of privacy in the name of national security. Other stories may be found in the War on Terrorism section.




Canada signs passenger data deal with EU
"The European Commission and Canada yesterday signed an agreement permitting the transfer of air passenger data to the Canadian authorities, despite the disapproval of the European Parliament."
Full story - Out-Law.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Oct 5 08:51:11 EDT 2005



EPIC: US-VISIT ID Plan Still Has Security, Privacy Holes
"From www.epic.org: In comments to the Department of Homeland Security, EPIC again urged the agency to abandon a flawed proposal to embed Radio Frequency Identification tags in travel documents. The plan lacks basic privacy and security safeguards, and these costs substantially outweigh the limited timesaving benefits, EPIC said."
Full story - EPIC Comments (pdf)
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Oct 5 08:37:22 EDT 2005



Customs eyes self-service - New Zealand
"New Zealand Customs and Auckland International Airport have begun shopping for self-service border control kiosks that look set to spell the end of face-to-face checks by Customs staff on all visitors, speeding up border checks for "trusted travellers"."
Full story - stuff.co.nz
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Oct 4 17:29:16 EDT 2005



More Turbulence for Secure Flight
"Lawmakers are looking to put more checks on the Transportation Security Administration's long-running effort to come up with a new way to conduct background checks on airline passengers."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Oct 3 07:58:00 EDT 2005



Nun Terrorized by Terror Watch
"... For nine months in 2003 and 2004, Sister McPhee also took on the task of clearing her name from the government's no-fly list, an endeavor that proved fruitless until she called on a higher power, the White House."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 26 07:59:25 EDT 2005



Panel Criticizes Screening Plan
"The government's program to match all airline passenger names against terrorist watch lists should not move forward into the testing phase, an advisory committee to the Transportation Security Administration said in a report released yesterday."
Full story - Washington Post (reg. req.)
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Sep 24 10:39:35 EDT 2005



US Dropping Commercial Data To Screen Terrorists - Report
"The US government is shelving plans to collect information on air travelers from commercial databases to identify potential terrorists on passenger lists, a newspaper reported on Thursday."
Full story - AirWise
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 22 12:15:48 EDT 2005



EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS (Visa Information System)
"The project of setting up a central database and a system of exchange of information concerning short-stay visas raises important questions for fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and in particular their right to privacy. It will lead to a massive collection and processing of personal and biometric data, their storage in a centralised database and to large scale exchanges of information concerning a huge number of persons.""
Full story - statewatch.org
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 18 10:09:39 EDT 2005



TSA relaxes rules for La. evacuees
"... Since Katrina, the Transport Security Administration has suspended some of its security regulations, said spokeswoman Carrie Harmon."
Full story - LovelandFYI
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 11 12:22:33 EDT 2005



EPIC Calls for Government Watch List Accuracy
"From www.epic.org: In comments to the FBI (also available in pdf), EPIC urged the agency to hold off on expanding the Terrorist Screening Center's watch list record system until the Bureau resolves significant privacy issues. EPIC objected to the FBI's proposal to exempt the watch list from legal requirements that require record accuracy. EPIC also said that there are inadequate redress procedures for people who are improperly flagged as watch list matches."
Full story - EPIC Comments
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Sep 7 13:43:43 EDT 2005



Battle escalates over fliers' personal data
"The Homeland Security Department is making another push to get personal data on airline passengers in an effort to keep terrorists off flights. The lobbying effort comes months after the House and Senate, concerned about invading privacy, gave preliminary approval to a measure that would ban the department from tapping into credit reports, court files, shopping histories and other personal information for one year."
Full story - USA Today
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 23 16:15:12 EDT 2005



TSA Data Dump Leads to Lawsuit
"Following accusations last month that the Transportation Security Administration violated the Privacy Act in testing its new airline passenger-screening program, four individuals sued the agency Thursday. They want the TSA to dig deeper for commercial data records it may have collected on each of them to test the Secure Flight program, and to hand over those records. The individuals also filed a motion to prevent the agency from destroying records before the lawsuit is resolved."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Aug 18 19:55:14 EDT 2005



A deterrent to identity theft: New US passports
"Since identity theft has been on the rise in many forms, the State Department has finalized new electronic passports, according to USA Today... The passports will be tamper-proof embedded with a "smart-card" chip... the e-passport raises concerns among critics that it lacks privacy safeguards. Wireless transmission of data compromises security and important personal data could fall into the wrong hands. With proper equipment, someone could remotely intercept personal data."
Full story - News Release Wire
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 16 12:47:25 EDT 2005



Babies Caught Up in 'No-Fly' Confusion
"Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list." It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have babies' passports and other documents faxed."
Full story - My Way News
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 16 01:12:21 EDT 2005



Data Dumped in Secure Flight Test
"The federal government has destroyed 3 million of the 15 million records it collected on individuals last year to test its new airline passenger-screening program."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 15 10:20:38 EDT 2005



Feds Push Flier Background Checks
"Just weeks after congressional investigators found that officials in charge of a new airline passenger-screening system violated a federal privacy law, the Department of Homeland Security is pushing Congress to reduce oversight of the program and to allow it to use commercial databases to screen for terrorists."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 15 10:19:51 EDT 2005



Biometric IDs could see massive growth
"The concept was simple at first: Frequent fliers would clear a background check, become "trusted travelers" and be sped through less stringent airport security. But now, the government's small, 13-month-old test program known as Registered Traveler is provoking an intense and increasingly complicated debate about privacy and the proper roles of government and business."
Full story - USA Today
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 15 10:05:07 EDT 2005



Privacy commissioner seeks info on 'no-fly' list
"Canada's privacy commissioner is raising concerns about Ottawa's plans to implement a 'no-fly' list, announced after the recent deadly attacks in London, England. Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says she raised the issue of the list to Transport Canada officials a year ago. After no response, she sent a list of 24 questions to Transport officials in July."
Full story - CTV.ca
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Aug 14 16:15:23 EDT 2005



MACTAN AIRPORT SECURITY UPGRADE: "Peeping Tom" scanners eyed
"From bombs and bladed weapons to nipples to pubic hair, nothing will escape the new "Peeping Tom" scanners that the Mactan Cebu International Airport may install in the near future."
Full story - The Freeman
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Aug 14 15:11:28 EDT 2005



Privacy Commissioner raises concerns that no-fly list will infringe on privacy rights (press release)
""The no-fly list announced last Friday represents a serious incursion into the rights of travelers in Canada, rights of privacy and rights of freedom of movement," says the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, following an announcement made on August 5, 2005, by the Honourable Jean-C. Lapierre, Minister of Transport Canada."
Full story - CNW Group
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 9 16:07:40 EDT 2005



Testing begins for visa program using ID chips
"Homeland Security officials are testing a new visa program for foreign visitors that embeds tracking technology into the documentation that also can access private information. The proposed US-VISIT system uses radio frequency identification chips to track entrances and exits by visitors traveling under I-94 form visas and to flag criminals or terrorists. The long-term I-94 form visas often are used by students and business travelers."
Full story - World Peace Herald
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 9 16:03:09 EDT 2005



Airline Tests RFID on the Fly
"United Airlines pilots and crew are the flying guinea pigs in a test of controversial new passports equipped with remotely readable chips. Approximately 300 United employees stationed on international flights received the new passports in mid-June as part of a three-month, three-country test of IDs equipped with RFID chips. The chips can be read at a distance at border crossings by special readers installed for the trial."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 9 08:50:46 EDT 2005



EPIC: US-VISIT Travel ID Plan is Flawed
"From www.epic.org: In comments (also available in pdf) to the Department of Homeland Security, EPIC has urged the agency to abandon a proposal to use Radio Frequency Identification tags for travel documents. EPIC said the plan lacks basic privacy and security safeguards, and repeats many of the problems with the controversial proposal of the State Department for wireless passports."
Full story - EPIC Comments
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 5 14:14:56 EDT 2005



Justice Department effort to eavesdrop on airline passengers challenged
"Two privacy groups asked the Federal Communications Commission this week to reject a proposal that would give the Justice Department sweeping new powers to eavesdrop on cell phone calls and Internet usage by airline passengers. The Justice and the Homeland Security departments submitted several proposals to the FCC in May and July seeking authority to monitor the electronic communications of airline passengers. The proposals would allow Justice to record all electronic activity without a court order, identify any user by seat number, and automatically interrupt or shut down any communication."
Full story - GovExec
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 5 10:51:17 EDT 2005



CDT and EFF Oppose Unprecedented Wiretapping Scheme for In-Flight Communications
"From www.cdt.org: CDT and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are opposing a new Justice Department scheme to require that information about aircraft passengers' cell phone and Internet communications be constantly recorded. CDT and EFF, which filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission, don't oppose law enforcers' ability to intercept such communications, but are deeply concerned that the proposal raises constitutional concerns and could impose burdensome design mandates on emerging technology."
Full story - CDT-EFF Comments filed with the FCC [PDF]
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Aug 4 09:29:59 EDT 2005



FBI Flight Plans Hit Turbulence
"An FBI proposal to shoehorn a sweeping and sophisticated internet wiretapping capability into emerging in-flight broadband services would be illegal, unconstitutional and costly to implement, a civil liberties group is arguing. The Washington, D.C. organization, Center for Democracy and Technology, or CDT, says it will file comments Wednesday with the FCC opposing an FBI request to force satellite-based broadband service providers to equip their in-air networks with a rapid-wiretapping capability. It would let government spooks begin sniffing any passenger's internet traffic within 10 minutes of obtaining court authorization."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 13:35:47 EDT 2005



Not a matter of privacy
"Consumers have little recourse when their personal information is divulged, privacy advocates said after a judge tossed out the complaints of JetBlue passengers who claimed the company violated its own privacy policy. The issue of privacy has become increasingly important to civil rights advocates as the government collects more and more personal information in an effort it believes could prevent terrorism."
Full story - Newsday
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 13:25:25 EDT 2005



Transportation agency in data flap with Alaskans
"A government effort to stop terrorists from boarding aircraft may have bungled a mandatory process designed to protect passenger travel records and personal data. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been charged with developing a system to identify suspected terrorists by thoroughly screening airline passengers. But it may have destroyed some personal travel records and data despite being required by law to disclose the information to individuals who request it, according to correspondence exchanged between a lawyer and a member of the agency."
Full story - GovExec
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 01:41:30 EDT 2005



Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against JetBlue
"JetBlue Airways passengers whose personal information was used without their knowledge in a federally funded study of aviation security didn't show they suffered any harm and aren't entitled to damages, a federal judge says. U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in New York signed an order Friday dismissing a class-action lawsuit against JetBlue, Little Rock-based Acxiom Corp., Torch Concepts of Huntsville, Ala., and SRS Technologies of Newport Beach, Calif."
Full story - FindLaw
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 2 10:53:25 EDT 2005



Bruce Schneier: Secrets and Lies in the 'Friendly Skies'
"... Secure Flight is a disaster in every way. The TSA has been operating with complete disregard for the law or Congress. It has lied to pretty much everyone. And it is turning Secure Flight from a simple program to match airline passengers against terrorist watch lists into a complex program that compiles dossiers on passengers in order to give them some kind of score indicating the likelihood that they are a terrorist. Which is exactly what it was not supposed to do in the first place."
Full story - AlterNet
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Jul 27 10:28:11 EDT 2005



Court Rejects Agency's Sensitive Information Claim in EPIC FOIA Case
"From www.epic.org: A federal court has held (pdf) that the Department of Homeland Security may not withhold a document sought by the public simply by describing it as "sensitive security information." Though federal agencies "are not required to describe the withheld portions in so much detail that it reveals the sensitive security information itself," the court said they are required to "provide a more adequate description" to explain why material is not made public. EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act suit to force DHS, TSA and the FBI to release documents detailing the agencies' efforts to obtain airline passenger information. Though the court found that the FBI had conducted an adequate search for documents, and TSA and DHS had properly withheld some material, the court has ordered DHS and TSA to provide more detailed justification for numerous withholdings."
Full story - Court Opinion
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Jul 27 08:48:04 EDT 2005



Online travel firms continue to share users' personal data - survey
"Although online travel firms provide more information about their policies and are more responsive to customers, many of them continue to share users' personal information with outside parties, according to the Third Quarter 2005 Online Customer Respect Study of the largest airline and travel firms. The study (download PDF) was conducted by The Customer Respect Group Inc."
Full story - ComputerWorld
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jul 26 08:48:29 EDT 2005








Other resources on PASSPORTS AND TRAVEL:
  • Transportation Agency's Plan to X-Ray Travelers Should Be Stripped of Funding
  • Free To Travel: Gilmore v. Ashcroft
  • Legal Aspects of Searches of Airline Passengers in the USA - Sandler, 2004 (pdf)
  • Searches of Airline Passengers in the USA - Sandler, 2004 (pdf)




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