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CAPPS II - You Will Be Assigned A Threat Level

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  • Djehuti Sundaka
    WASHINGTON (Feb. 28) - Defense contractor Lockheed-Martin will develop a new system to check background information and assign a threat level to all commercial
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2003
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      WASHINGTON (Feb. 28) - Defense contractor Lockheed-Martin will develop
      a
      new system to check background information and assign a threat level to
      all
      commercial air passengers, the Transportation Department announced on
      Friday.
      The company, which employed Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in
      the
      mid-1990s, was awarded a five-year contract to administer the program.
      The
      first phase of the contract is worth $12.8 million, transportation
      officials
      said.
      Civil liberties watchdogs see the potential for unconstitutional
      invasions of
      privacy and for database mix-ups that could lead to innocent people
      being
      branded security risks.
      ''This system threatens to create a permanent blacklisted underclass of
      Americans who cannot travel freely,'' said Katie Corrigan, a lawyer for
      the
      American Civil Liberties Union.
      Brian Roehrkasse, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security,
      said a
      privacy officer will be assigned to safeguard civil liberties.
      ''Before any new homeland security technologies are deployed, we will
      ensure
      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,
      will
      gather much more information on passengers than previously. Delta Air
      Lines
      will try it out at three undisclosed airports beginning in about a
      month, and
      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
      on
      government watch lists. Under the system, airlines will ask fliers more
      information than they do now: full name, address, phone number and date
      of
      birth.
      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
      with
      privacy laws and won't profile based on race, religion or ethnicity. No
      data
      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
      according
      to a three-color system: green, yellow, red. When travelers check in,
      their
      names will be punched into the system and their boarding passes
      encrypted
      with the ranking. TSA screeners will check the passes at checkpoints.
      People Polled
      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
      the
      opinions of only those users who chose to participate.

      Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP
      news
      report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
      distributed
      without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active

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