July 27, 2005

In what could be a violation of the Privacy Act, the Government Accountability Office says the Transportation Security Administration used more than 100 million records from commercial data brokers in testing its controversial Secure Flight airline passenger-screening program, "even though TSA stated in its privacy notices that it would not do so." The commercial records included names, telephone numbers and dates of birth of airline passengers. In a letter to Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), wrote: "Given fundamental concerns surrounding the government's use of personal information and the unfortunate history of TSA's passenger prescreening program, careless missteps such as this jeopardize the public trust and DHS' ability to deploy a much-needed, new system."