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CENSUS, NORTHWEST AIR GAVE FLIERS' INFO TO FEDS

Northwest Airlines and the Census Bureau teamed up to supply personal information on millions of people to a clandestine government travel security project -- one that's awfully similiar to the notorious Total Information Awareness and CAPPS II data-mining efforts.Last fall, JetBlue Airways forked over millions of passenger records to a defense contractor, who used it to test a terrorist-screening program. Around the same time, Northwest, the country's fourth-largest airline, claimed that they would never, ever do such a thing themselves."But Northwest acknowledged Friday that by that time, it had already turned over three months of reservation data to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center," notes the Washington Post.Using the travel data, government-funded researchers were able to track down the 1990 Census records of 439,381 passengers. This information was added to refine the data-mining project."Information given by American citizens for reasonable demographics information has been turned around and used to spy on people. This sounds like East Berlin, circa '74," privacy advocate Scannell tells the Washington Times.The Northwest discovery came after the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the government. The documents unveiled from that request are here.

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