TSA Halts Testing On Technology To Screen Passengers' Online Data

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The Transportation Security Administration has called off -- for now -- live tests of technology that would expand background checks on airplane passengers to include analyses of their online presences.

The idea was to have contractors analyze consumer data -- potentially including dating profiles and shopping histories -- on fliers who apply for the voluntary "Pre✓” program. Pre✓, open to all US citizens, lets passengers breeze through dedicated checkpoints without removing shoes, belts, laptops or TSA-compliant liquids after paying an $85 fee and proving their identities. The agency got as far as watching "prototype implementations" but decided against trying a system out on actual passengers, according to a March 4 notice published in a government acquisition database.

Under the Pre✓ data mining strategy, private screeners would aggregate biographic and biometric “non-governmental data elements to generate an assessment of the risk to the aviation transportation system that may be posed by a specific individual,” the 2013 announcement stated. The vendor would have to provide a “reliable method that effectively identifies known travelers, based on a sound analysis and the application of an algorithm that produces dependable results.”

[March 7]

TSA Halts Testing On Technology To Screen Passengers' Online Data