March 30, 2005

A new report from the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security finds the Transportation Security Administration "did not ensure that privacy protections were in place" for the 12 million airline passenger records it collected between February 2002 and June of 2003 as it developed CAPPS II, the precursor to the Secure Flight passenger screening program. Additionally, "TSA officials made inaccurate statements regarding those transfers that undermined public trust in the agency." In a separate study, the Government Accountability Office has found the TSA has improved privacy protection and passenger data collection for Secure Flight. "However," the report states, "TSA has not yet completed these efforts or fully addressed these areas." The GAO recommends TSA finalize test plans, privacy requirements, cost estimates and the means by which passenger data is transmitted from airlines to the agency. Secure Flight is now scheduled to begin operations with two unnamed carriers this August.