A CNN Article reported yesterday that the TSA will require airlines to solicit passengers’ full names and dates of birth. Although passengers are not required to provide the information, the TSA official in charge of the program, Justin Oberman, indicated that a passenger who doesn’t provide the information will be more likely to receive more stringent screening. (In other words, give us the information or you will suffer the consequences).
Apparently the information will be used by the TSA as it develops its Secure Flight program with the eventual goal of TSA taking over the entire screening process from the airlines. According to Mr. Oberman, by providing this information passengers will make it less likely that they’ll be confused with people who are known or suspected terrorists and, supposedly, “[f]ar fewer people will be inconvenienced than they are today.”
In light of the recent GAO report finding inadequacies in the TSA’s management and protection of passenger data, adding this additional information to a TSA database that lacks the necessary privacy safeguards seems like a risky proposition to me. However, the alternative of receiving additional poking, prodding and screener attention isn’t particularly appealing either. This just reinforces the decision to travel in any way possible other than having to fly the airlines. Glad I can fly myself!