In wake of all the poo-slinging, I'm in the mood for some uniting. This is a important move by the dep of homeland security and shows that they occasionally do care about privacy rights more than security. I'll applaud this one.
Report: U.S. Cancels Air Passenger Screening Upgrade
Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:59 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is dropping a plan to collect personal data on airline passengers to assess security risks because of privacy concerns, USA Today reported on Thursday, citing the U.S. homeland security chief.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said officials had all but scrapped plans for the controversial Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, known as CAPPS II, which has come under criticism from privacy advocates and some members of Congress.
The program, which has never been tested fully, was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking attacks to refine electronic techniques for using personal information to identify and rate potential threats.
Asked whether the program could be considered dead, Ridge jokingly gestured as if he were driving a stake through its head and said: "Yes," USA Today reported.
He cited privacy concerns, particularly those arising from proposed legislation that would have required airlines to hand over information about passengers as part of a test of the program, the newspaper said.
Ridge said a new program with a different name might be developed to replace CAPPS II. It could be replaced by a new "registered traveler" program if enough people volunteer to provide personal information, the report said.
David Stone, the acting administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, on Tuesday said at his Senate confirmation hearing that the TSA might alter or eliminate aspects of the CAPPS II program that have generated lawsuits and other complaints from privacy and consumer groups.
Airlines, some facing lawsuits, have been caught up in the controversy because they provided passenger information for use in testing the screening system.
© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
"If we can hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominos will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."