TSA Lied About Protecting Passenger Data

Via Bruce Schneier’s blog:


According to the AP:

bq.. The Transportation Security Administration misled the public about its role in obtaining personal information about 12 million airline passengers to test a new computerized system that screens for terrorists, according to a government investigation.

The report, released Friday by Homeland Security Department Acting Inspector General Richard Skinner, said the agency misinformed individuals, the press and Congress in 2003 and 2004. It stopped short of saying TSA lied.

p. I’ll say it: the TSA lied.

Here’s the report. It’s worth reading. And when you read it, keep in mind that it’s written by the DHS’s own Inspector General. I presume a more independent investigator would be even more severe. Not that the report isn’t severe, mind you.

Another AP article has more details:

bq.. The report cites several occasions where TSA officials made inaccurate statements about passenger data:

* In September 2003, the agency’s Freedom of Information Act staff received hundreds of requests from Jet Blue passengers asking if the TSA had their records. After a cursory search, the FOIA staff posted a notice on the TSA Web site that it had no JetBlue passenger data. Though the FOIA staff found JetBlue passenger records in TSA’s possession in May, the notice stayed on the Web site for more than a year.

* In November 2003, TSA chief James Loy incorrectly told the Governmental Affairs Committee that certain kinds of passenger data were not being used to test passenger prescreening.

* In September 2003, a technology magazine reporter asked a TSA spokesman whether real data were used to test the passenger prescreening system. The spokesman said only fake data were used; the responses “were not accurate,” the report said.

p.


Read the rest of the article.

About Kevin

Kevin Jarnot is a technologist who lives just South of Boston, MA. He is currently employed as Chief Technology Officer at DebtX, a financial services technology company based in Boston.
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