TSA Grounds Secure Flight Program... For Now
Citing data security concerns, the TSA on Thursday informed a Senate committee that its controversial Secure Flight program would be delayed indefinitely. In written testimony, the Government Accountability Office also noted that Secure Flight "may not be adequately protected against unauthorized access and use or disruption."
The Secure Flight Program, billed as an improvement to the current Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening (CAPPS), has raised enormous privacy and security concerns from the start. Unlike CAPPS, in which airline employees compare passenger information against a government-supplied no-fly list, the Secure Flight program envisions placing that responsibility squarely in the hands of government officials. Since the program was announced, the TSA has been caught repeatedly lying to Congress about its use of information provided by commercial data brokers.
In September, EFF launched an effort to uncover the scope of the TSA's use of commercial data, assisting travelers who flew during a "test period" identified by the TSA to request information from the agency under the Freedom of Information Act. EFF continues to review the results of that investigation.