Critics Say U.S. Airline Screening Plan Intrusive
Mon Aug 25
By Deborah Charles
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Advocacy groups from across the political spectrum blasted the U.S. government's proposed air passenger screening program on Monday, calling it a "quantum leap" in surveillance that violates privacy and civil rights.
Groups as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) and the American Conservative Union criticized the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, known as CAPPS II, which was announced in July as part of an effort to improve passenger security.
Under the plan, the government will take basic information of all potential airline passengers -- name, date of birth, address and phone number -- as they book their ticket. It will run that information through a commercial data service to confirm the passenger's identity.
It was not immediately clear how the government will collect this information from airlines or whether the rules would apply to foreign airlines as well.
The program will also search watch lists and other national security information to determine if a passenger has any links to al Qaeda or other militant groups, or even if they are a violent criminal with a warrant out for their arrest.
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