JetBlue Shared Passenger Data
Thu Sep 18 @ 21:12 (Reads: 31)
Source: Wired
JetBlue Airways confirmed on Thursday that in September 2002, it provided 5 million passenger itineraries to a defense contractor for proof-of-concept testing of a Pentagon project unrelated to airline security — with help from the Transportation Security Administration. The contractor, Torch Concepts, then augmented that data with Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal information, including income level, to develop what looks to be a study of whether passenger-profiling systems such as CAPPS II are feasible. The study (PDF), titled “Homeland Security — Airline Passenger Risk Assessment,” which JetBlue says was based on an unauthorized use of its data, was presented at a February technology conference. Privacy activist Bill Scannell, who runs the Don’t Spy On.Us website, had scathing words for JetBlue’s revelation. “JetBlue has assaulted the privacy of 5 million of its customers,” said Scannell. “Anyone who flew JetBlue before September 2002 should be aware and very scared that there is a dossier on them.” Torch Concepts acquired the data by contacting the Transportation Security Administration, which says it facilitated the transfer of the data from JetBlue to Torch Concepts, according to TSA spokesman Brian Turmail. The TSA says the study was for a Pentagon proof-of-concept program related to improving security on military bases. Torch Concept’s lawyer, Richard Marsden, says the study was authorized and was related to “a science and technology study on the feasibility of enhancing the structure of the Army.” It remains unclear how an airline passenger-screening feasibility study without any references to the military relates to an Army feasibility study, though Marsden said he could not reveal any more information because of a confidentiality agreement.

[Listening to: Jackson Cannery – Ben Fold’s Five – mix (03:24)]