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For Immediate Release
February 21, 2003
Contact: Jim Harper
TSA: Every Traveler A Terror Suspect
Privacilla Comments Sharply Criticize Agency Plans for Database of All American Travelers
Washington, D.C. — Privacilla.org filed comments with the Transportation Security Agency in the Department of
Transportation today leveling sharp criticism against its plan to create a database of all American travelers.
The agency plans to exempt the database from even the anemic protections of the Privacy Act.
Selected quotes from Privacilla's letter follow:
"The Department is proposing to maintain secret files about all American travelers. The files may contain all
kinds of travel and transactional data. The files may be shared with nearly any type of government authority
and many private organizations and individuals. The files will not be available for review or inspection by
the data subjects. Indeed, Americans will not be entitled to know whether files about them are being maintained."
A copy of the full letter [.pdf format] is on the Privacilla Web site at
"The Department may not create a database of all air travelers in the United States, shield the database
from public view using national defense and law enforcement exceptions to the Privacy Act, and simultaneously
claim that it is not treating all travelers as suspects. This is a 'suspects' database."
"Expansive government databases about the behavior of all Americans needlessly degrade the privacy of the
law-abiding. They do not prevent terrorism or cost-effectively catch crime. They are a poor, but expensive
substitute for good analysis of information about threats and suspects that is already available to law
enforcement and national security agencies. They are not worth the incursion against Americans' privacy."
"The Department should withdraw this system of records and restructure the CAPPS II program consistent with
the privacy of law-abiding American travelers."
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