CAPPS II - You Will Be Assigned A Threat Level
- WASHINGTON (Feb. 28) - Defense contractor Lockheed-Martin will develop
new system to check background information and assign a threat level to
commercial air passengers, the Transportation Department announced on
The company, which employed Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in
mid-1990s, was awarded a five-year contract to administer the program.
first phase of the contract is worth $12.8 million, transportation
Civil liberties watchdogs see the potential for unconstitutional
privacy and for database mix-ups that could lead to innocent people
branded security risks.
''This system threatens to create a permanent blacklisted underclass of
Americans who cannot travel freely,'' said Katie Corrigan, a lawyer for
American Civil Liberties Union.
Brian Roehrkasse, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security,
privacy officer will be assigned to safeguard civil liberties.
''Before any new homeland security technologies are deployed, we will
that we will uphold the laws of the land,'' Roehrkasse said. ''Any new
data-mining technologies or programs to enhance information sharing and
collecting must and will respect the civil rights and civil liberties
guaranteed to the American people.''
The system, ordered by Congress after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,
gather much more information on passengers than previously. Delta Air
will try it out at three undisclosed airports beginning in about a
a comprehensive system could be in place by the end of the year.
The nationwide computer system, which will check such things as credit
reports and bank account activity and compare passenger names with those
government watch lists. Under the system, airlines will ask fliers more
information than they do now: full name, address, phone number and date
Advocates say the system will weed out dangerous people while ensuring
law-abiding citizens aren't given unnecessary scrutiny.
Transportation officials say CAPPS II - Computer Assisted Passenger
Prescreening System - will use databases that already operate in line
privacy laws and won't profile based on race, religion or ethnicity. No
from the background checks will be stored.
Airlines already do rudimentary checks of passenger information, such as
method of payment, address and date the ticket was reserved.
CAPPS II will collect data and rate each passenger's risk potential
to a three-color system: green, yellow, red. When travelers check in,
names will be punched into the system and their boarding passes
with the ranking. TSA screeners will check the passes at checkpoints.
What do you think of this plan?
30% It's a good security measure 14,393
27% I want my information kept private 13,004
24% I'm afraid of being falsely labeled a security risk 11,372
19% I'm concerned my information could be misused 8,996
Total votes: 47,765
Will it work to deter terrorism?
65% No 31,111
35% Yes 16,545
Total votes: 47,656 NOTE: Poll results are not scientific and reflect
opinions of only those users who chose to participate.
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