No-Fly List Follies

line.jpgIt's been a while since we've tuned in to the long-running comedy "Secure Flight." That's the one where the feds try to screen airline passengers based on their data trails -- and wind up breaking the law and falling on their faces in the process. Defense Tech pal Ryan Singel catches us up on all the new plotlines.First up is the story of Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, the Catholic education chief who was mistaken for an Afghani terrorist -- and put on the Transportation Security Administration's "no-fly" list. A similar screw-up just cost a pilot his job."Collecting full names and birth dates will reduce false matches by 60%," a top TSA data-miner says. So will snagging "marriage and birth certificates, credit-card records, court filings, [and] newspaper clippings," supposedly. (Cue laugh track.)In a rare break with character, the TSA decided in last week there might, in fact, be some "privacy concerns" in harvesting all that commercial data. So the administration will knock it off, for now. Of course, this is after the TSA "secretly tested this procedure" on 100 million passenger records.The privacy worries are one reason why a Secure Flight advisory panel has recommended that all live testing of the system be stopped. There are one or two other minor concerns, as well. Small stuff, like "What is the goal or goals of Secure Flight?" and "What is the architecture of the Secure Flight system?"Jeez. Now I remember why I never bother to watch this show. Somebody, hand me the remote.THERE'S MORE: Last month, BJ notes, the feds supposedly trashed three million of its suspicious passenger records. Bill wonders whether that was housecleaning effort or "destruction of evidence?"

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