US Gov To Compile And Share Database Of Flier Personal Information

According to the Washington Post, the United States and the European Union have agreed to compile and share a database of information on consumers who travel on aircrafts between the two continents.

The database will ostensibly be used to combat terrorism.

From the Washington Post (emphasis ours):

Under the agreement, airlines flying from Europe to the United States are required to provide data related to these matters to U.S. authorities if it exists in their reservation systems. The deal allows Washington to retain and use it only “where the life of a data subject or of others could be imperiled or seriously impaired,” such as in a counterterrorism investigation.

According to the deal, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes “racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership” and data about an individual’s health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.

How would an airline get this data? Currently they only store your credit card numbers, names, addresses, contact info, and itinerary. Under the new program, airlines could turn over any information they obtained from questioning you, or any special requests that you make, such as asking for a wheelchair or a king size bed at a hotel.

The article says that the reason they’d need to know if you requested a wheelchair is to determine if you were trying to hide a bomb in your fake leg cast. We’re not sure why they need to know you want a king size bed. Is there a link between terrorism and people who date people who kick a lot at night?

Travelers Face Greater Use of Personal Data [Washington Post] (Thanks, Ian!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. CumaeanSibyl says:

    No, but clearly there’s a link between terrorism and people who date people who steal the covers.

    First the RFID chip in passports, now this. If the airline questions me about my political, religious, and philosophical beliefs, am I allowed to remain silent, or will that get me hauled off into the latex-glove room?

    I mean, I expect this kind of behavior from El-Al, and in fact I think questioning and profiling by trained agents at the airport is probably the best deterrent possible — it’s just that a) I don’t trust the TSA and b) I don’t like the “sharing” part. Government’s too damn insecure.

  2. ndavies says:

    Terrorists have a trade union now?

  3. Crazytree says:

    sexual orientation?

    I guess they want to know if you’ve got a Glock stuffed up your ass.

  4. Major-General says:

    Great, given my experiences with the TSA and the Dutch Gendarmerie, I won’t be able to go anywhere ever again.

    But at least we will be safe from Middle Eastern men who think that a binary liquid explosive is feasible.

  5. Maurs says:

    Philosophical beliefs? Finally, the government will be able to weed out the solipsists flying amongst us.

  6. deweydecimated says:

    that’s it, i’m wearing doctorow’s ZOMG BLOODRED ALERT tshirt on every flight from now on. um…. under my jacket. ([])

  7. zolielo says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: The newer thing with RFID is disposable tags that can be attached to various objects like one person’s luggage or on a parachute. Just food for thought.

  8. mconfoy says:

    Race — Fast
    Ethnic origin — Pict and Hun
    Political Opinions — Anarchy rules
    Religous or Philosophical beliefs — having a philosophy is dangerous, I worship my ancestors’ spirits
    Trade Union Membership — Irish glass blowers, chapter 9
    Health — dying since I was born, terminal lung cancer, scurvy
    Sexual Orientation – metrosexual

  9. brkl says:

    This is why I mostly will not be able to visit the US until stuff like this gets overturned (maybe never). There’re a thousand ways some clerical error could have your rabid administration detain me for years without a trial. I guess there’s always Canada.

  10. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    They will hear 4 words to every question they ask that is not about my flight number, credit card number, name, and/or whether or not I’m checking bags or I would like to upgrade to business/first: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS or MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

  11. guroth says:

    I have my own queen size bed, which I share with my girlfriend on occasion, but on the majority of nights sleep alone in.

    Does this flag me as some kind of terrorist?

  12. yellojkt says:

    You mean they don’t already have this information?

  13. Cowboys_fan says:

    I guess the terrorists are gonna’ have to fly in from another country like, I don’t know, Saudi Arabia

  14. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I’m waiting for the TSA to place little contest boxes at airports. WIN a $50 TSA Gift Card! Nothing to buy, just fill out this innocent little survey that we’d never use against you and win a chance at the Grand Prize…a vacation to Hawaii with your family and your 10 favorite TSA agents!

    (Other prizes include confiscated cheese, unclaimed luggage, and a TSA lapel pin!)

  15. ancientsociety says:

    Remember this is for our own good. No questions! Get back in line!

    Welcome to 1984.

  16. synergy says:

    But they’re not taking away our freedoms, not at all. The border fences are to keep people out not people in like, say, between East and West Germany during the Cold War…

  17. mac-phisto says:

    i’m beginning to wonder if j edgar hoover is really dead.

  18. FLConsumer says:

    Scary… very scary… but at the same time, interesting. Imagine what a data breach of that database would be worth. All of those names, credit card #’s, probably SS#’s hidden in there as well. Even if you could just snag 1/10th of that database, you’re set for life.

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    Are they going to have a category for Moralist Republican* Senator Into Crapping Into Diapers? Cuz THAT’S pretty scary…

    * Actually, “Republican” is sort of gilding the lily in the case of sexual preversion.

  20. Trackback says:

    Downgraded: Any last smidgen of credibility for inflight radio interviews If you’ve ever flipped through the inflight audio dial on American Airlines, you’ll know that there’s a channel (#9) devoted to “interviews.” University of Chicago economist and Freakonomics…