July 16, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

CAPPS II By Any Other Name...

The controversial passenger-profiling system has officially been cancelled, but critics remain appropriately skeptical about what its "death" means. Below, a brief sampling of perspectives:

Edward Hasbrouck @ The Practical Nomad: "Hours after announcing that the CAPPS II airline passenger profiling and monitoring system would be renamed and/or merged into other programs rather than implemented by its original name, the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began floating trial balloons -- here and here and here and here and here and here -- as to what form the new CAPPS II (not) will take.

"Coke, new Coke, it's the same swill, so far as I can tell."

Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Suzanne Luber @ Wired: "The name CAPPS II may be dead, but the process of creating an automated passenger pre-screening system to replace the current CAPPS will continue...What form that takes, that's what we will continue to focus on. Due to operational factors (such) as public comments on CAPPS II proposal, we are now redesigning the program itself."

Representative John Mica (R-FL) @ USA Today, suggesting that these "operational factors" are simply getting in the way -- of bureaucracy: "Sometimes these interest groups have an inordinate amount of power over bureaucrats."

Bill Scannell @ Wired: "This program is not going anywhere before the November elections. We got rid of the program, and now we need to get rid of the administration that designed it."


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