TSA prepares to test passenger-screening system

TSA prepares to test passenger-screening system

The Transportation Security Administration today laid the groundwork for testing its revised passenger-screening program by issuing a draft request that airlines provide one month's worth of passenger name records.

TSA today also issued a privacy impact assessment for the Secure Flight screening effort.

'The posting of the proposed order to domestic airlines and the solicitation of public comment is evidence of TSA's commitment to maintaining an open and transparent environment for the development of this important security tool,' said retired Rear Adm. David M. Stone, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for TSA.

The Homeland Security agency earlier this year faced a whirlwind of criticism over the improper use of passenger name records. As a result, TSA abandoned the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II project that would have used advanced analytic tools to pinpoint risky travelers.

Using the 30-day pool of records, TSA plans to test a Secure Flight prototype platform through year's end and deploy the CAPPS II successor next year. The agency will accept comments on the draft records request and issue an official request next month.

The Secure Flight program calls for TSA employees to run the system, which will check passenger data against lists of suspected terrorists. For CAPPS II and its predecessor, CAPPS, the airlines did the checks.

TSA officials have said that switching the passenger-screening function from airline to government personnel will expand the intelligence data used and improve the protection of that data as well.

TSA also detailed how it will collect and use the data and noted that it will protect travelers' personal information during the Secure Flight test.

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