07/30/13 TSA Precheck


What if the medical lab marketed your health information after you had blood work done?

You’d be furious.

Well, the Department of Homeland Security may allow a similar type of activity to occur.

The Transportation Security Administration recently announced it’s expanding the TSA Pre-Check programPre-Check is a trusted traveler program wherein frequent travelers can go through a somewhat speedier security line at the airport.

You don’t have to disrobe.  You know: jackets, shoes, and belts – they don’t come-off.  Your laptop and baggie full of three ounce fluids remain in your carry-on.  And there are fewer people in the Pre-Check security line. [Passenger and baggage screening still occurs.]

But it comes with a cost.  I’m in the program.  Last year, I paid a $100 application fee, gave them considerable personal data, underwent a law enforcement interview and was fingerprinted before I got approved.

Currently only 40 of the nation’s nearly 800 commercial airports have Pre-Check.  And only 7 airlines participate. [These are: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.]

TSA is hoping nearly 400,000 travelers will pay the lower $85 fee and go through the screening process. 

Here’s the catch.  TSA is outsourcing the screening to private companies.  These third party companies will use your personal information and will data mine commercial sources to determine if you’re a risk. 

As this TSA document shows, how your data is used later by these companies is anybody’s guess.

[Note the language on page 5 of this TSA request for proposals. Instead of using a term such as “requires” or “mandates,” the TSA instead uses the term “anticipates” for “TSA ‘anticipates’ that submitters will obtain written authorization . . .’.”  In other words, third parties are NOT actually bound to obtain written authorization.]

[Excerpt from page 5: “TSA anticipates that submitters will obtain written authorization from each applicant to use the applicant’s biographic or biometric data for any purposes beyond those directly related to TSA third-party pre-screening, and must segregate (logically or physically) data collected for purposes of TSA third-party pre-screening from other data that the submitter may maintain on the same individual even where the same data element (name, for example) appears.”]

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