[Politech] ACLU sets up JetBlue FOIA site: Are you in Fed database? [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Thu Sep 25 2003 - 15:34:09 PDT

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    Subject: JetBlue FOIA/Privacy Act request Web form
    Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 12:01:28 -0400
    From: "Stanley, Jay" <jstanley@private>
    To: <declan@private>
    Politech readers may be interested to learn that we have set up a Web page 
    where anyone who suspects their personal information might have been part 
    of the recent JetBlue privacy breach can to file a FOIA/Privacy Act request 
    to find out what the government may be holding on them.
    Our press release on the page is below.
    Jay Stanley
    Communications Director, Technology and Liberty Program
    American Civil Liberties Union
    Fax 202-546-0738
    Following JetBlue Privacy Breach, ACLU Urges Customers To Find Out If They 
    Are In Government Database
    - New ACLU Web Page Lets Passengers File Requests Under Privacy Act -
    September 24, 2003
    CONTACT: Jay Stanley, ACLU TLP, (202) 715-0818
    NEW YORK- The American Civil Liberties Union today unveiled an online form 
    that lets airline passengers automatically issue an official Privacy Act 
    request for any information that the government may hold about them in 
    connection with the recent transfer of passenger data by the airline JetBlue.
    "We want to empower people to find out for themselves if they have been 
    caught up in this experiment in using average Americans' personal 
    information in a misguided effort to detect terrorists," said Barry 
    Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, which 
    set up the site. "We believe this page is an unprecedented tool. It lets 
    Americans file official requests without having to hire a lawyer or become 
    an expert in privacy law."
    Creation of the page follows last week's revelation that JetBlue had shared 
    five million passenger records with a subcontractor for the Pentagon, Torch 
    Concepts. The company was then was able to match 40 percent of those 
    records with further personal details - such as income, occupation, and 
    Social Security number - obtained from the data merchant Acxiom.
    The Web page allows individuals who flew with JetBlue before September of 
    2002 (when the airline turned over its data to the government) to generate 
    an official request under the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Freedom of 
    Information Act for any data held about them in connection with JetBlue by 
    the Department of Defense (DoD), the Army, and the Transportation Security 
    Administration (TSA).
    "After I realized that I personally flew JetBlue during the period in 
    question, I decided to file a personal Privacy Act request for my files," 
    said Steinhardt. "Then it occurred to us that people who aren't ACLU 
    lawyers should have an easy way to submit their own requests for their 
    files. So we set up this page so that anyone can exercise their legal right 
    to access files about them being held by the government."
    Steinhardt noted that the ACLU has also filed a Freedom of Information Act 
    request for information about the acquisition, use, and purposes of the 
    JetBlue data. That broader request is separate from individual requests 
    filed using the new Web page. "We intend to get to the bottom of this - who 
    did what with whose data and why," said Steinhardt.
    The Web page is online at: 
    <http://www.aclu.org/Privacy/Privacy.cfm?ID=13688&c=40>. It can also be 
    accessed from www.aclu.org/privacy.
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