The Journal of History     Fall 2003     TABLE OF CONTENTS


Support Proper Protections for Airline Passengers
Privacy & Technology : General

The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration are continuing the development of a new government program -- called Computer-Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System or CAPPS II -- that would search secret intelligence and law enforcement databases and issue every airline passenger a "risk score" based on their perceived risk to airline security.

Using easily falsified information such as name, home address, home phone number and date of birth, this system would screen your name through commercial databases and then run your information through secret government databases to make a judgment about your security risk. These secret databases would probably be compiled using intelligence and law enforcement records that could include personal information gleaned from commercial data such as purchase history and banking records.

Based on all of this information, you may be allowed to travel, undergo special security scrutiny, or be referred to law enforcement and possibly detained. If you are branded a "risk" due to false information, the process for correcting the error is unclear and could result in significant delays or even detention for innocent people. There is furthermore no infrastructure in place to determine whether CAPPS II would unfairly target particular ethnic communities.

Take Action! Act Now to Stop the CAPPS II Program!

This System Would Affect Many Innocent Travelers

Innocent, law-abiding Americans have already been subject to relentless hassles, interrogation and searches every time they try to travel by air. These people and many others will continue to be delayed or banned from flying because they share similar names with those placed on suspect lists, are the victims of random error, or because of some mysterious bureaucratic quirk. This national system would only increase the delays and blacklist even more innocent Americans - regular people traveling for work or vacations.

This System will Invade Your Privacy and Be Rooted in Secrecy
The most intrusive and dangerous element of the program -- the construction of an infrastructure for conducting background checks on people who fly -- would depend on shadowy intelligence/law enforcement databases of questionable reliability. The use of these secret databases would remove meaningful public oversight and control over these un-American background checks.

This System Will Not Make Us Any Safer

Terrorists will learn how to circumvent the system. Identity thieves could easily sidestep this check by presenting a false driver's license or passport, undercutting the system's entire mission. And the constant false alarms might divert the attention of airport security officers from legitimate threats to security.

Editor's note: CAPPS II is the worst idea to have ever been dreamt up. At the present time, when a person books a flight, no authority is privy to that fact. If CAPPS II is passed, any time a person who is a threat to the government flies the flight could be blown up. There is proof that TWA 800 was blown up, so why not another plane?


The Journal of History - Fall 2003 Copyright © 2003 by News Source, Inc.