FC: More on Feds will testing massive system to profile air travelers

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 08:37:04 PST

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    See also, from 1999:
    WASHINGTON -- A US$2.8-billion monitoring system championed by Vice 
    President Gore will use computer profiles to single out airline passengers 
    for investigation and scrutiny. Airlines will use a secret algorithm to 
    compare travelers' personal data to profiles of likely terrorists, 
    according to a new proposed federal regulation. Other travelers will be 
    chosen at random. [...]
    Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 21:15:48 -0800
    From: Edward Hasbrouck <edwardat_private>
    Subject: Re: FC: Feds will begin testing massive system to profile air 
    In-reply-to: <Pine.GSO.4.21.0202010513550.27162-100000at_private>
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    Reply-to: edwardat_private
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    On 1 Feb 2002 at 5:21, "Declan McCullagh" <Declan McCullagh
    <declanat_private>> wrote:
    To:             	politechat_private
    Subject:        	FC: Feds will begin testing massive system to profile air
     > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5185-2002Jan31.html
     >    By Robert O'Harrow Jr.
     >    Washington Post Staff Writer
     >    Friday, February 1, 2002; Page A01
     >    Federal aviation authorities and technology companies will soon begin
     >    testing a vast air security screening system designed to instantly pull
     >    together every passenger's travel history and living arrangements, plus
     >    a wealth of other personal and demographic information.
     >    The government's plan is to establish a computer network linking every
     >    reservation system in the United States to private and government
     >    databases.
    That's not a "plan", and not new -- it's what CAPS ("Computer Assisted
    Passenger Screening") does now.  All USA airlines have been required to
    pass passenger reservation data through the CAPS system since 1998.
     >   The network would use data-mining and predictive software to
     >    profile passenger activity and intuit obscure clues about potential
     >    threats, even before the scheduled day of flight.
    The real news seems to be that the monitoring would go on in advance of
    flights.  That could be real-time, or it could be a batch process
    performed periodically; the latter would be a fairly simple extension of
    the current CAPS process, and would need no new linkages.
     >    Although such a system would rely on existing software and technology,
     >    it could be years before it is fully in place, given that enormous
     >    amounts of data would need to be integrated and a structure would need
     >    to be established for monitoring passenger profiles.
    It might take time to integrate additional government databases into the
    CAPS system, and some additional integration would be required for
    *continuous* monitoring in advance of flights.  (The current CAPS system
    passes reservation data from the airline to the government only once, at
    check-in).  But the "structure for monitoring passenger profiles" -- the
    integration of CRS's and airline host databases with USA government
    networks so that reservation data can be passed through CAPS -- is already
    in place for *all* airlines in the USA, and has been since 1998.
    I think the problem is that the basic idea of CAPS -- that every time you
    have checked in for an airline flight in the USA since 1998, all the
    information in your reservation record has been provided by the airline to
    the USA government, for use including, but not limited to, profiling, and
    possibly for retention by the government -- is so far-feteched seeming
    that many people assume, mistakenly, that talk of such a system must be a
    new proposal, rather than a proposal for relatively minor tweaks in the
    system that was in place, and failed, on September 11th.
    Edward Hasbrouck
    Edward Hasbrouck
    "The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace"
    "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World"
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