MORE ON THE PRIVACY FRONT: I’m deeply skeptical about this program:
Last week, the Transportation Security Agency announced its intent to create a new passenger-screening database that will be the centerpiece of a system to scan for potential terrorists by instantly checking every domestic traveler’s credit history, arrest record and property tax data.
Property tax data? Hmm. I suppose that could be a legitimate way of checking addresses — but only for people who own property. Seems dubious. Or will we — along the lines of other programs — start saying that people who owe property taxes, or child support, will lose the “privilege” of travel by airplane?
There’s this, though, which is comforting as long as you believe it:
Unlike the controversial Total Information Awareness research project, the central database of the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening Program II, or CAPPS II, will contain permanent financial records, intelligence reports and law enforcement records only on those suspected of posing a national security risk, according to the Jan. 15 Privacy Act notice.
But how many of these assurances do I believe? Sadly, based on past performance, not very many.