Owe Back Taxes Or Talk Bad About Government? No Travel for You Anymore
Planning on flying anywhere for the holidays? If you owe back taxes, are a frequent flyer, or own a blog that is critical of the government, you might want to rethink your plans. Under the radar in October, the TSA tightened their screening guide lines to include these in their “screenings”. In fact they want a full background check.
The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is stepping up its screenings to include even more information into your personal life before you can even board a plane. Before they will even “allow” you to travel to your next destination, they are going even further into the warrant-less search process and violating the Bill of Rights. While the majority of public in the United States will accept this as “routine” to “prevent terrorism”, the new checks may be anything but.
The agency is saying that the new goal is to “streamline” the process and changing the procedures to “protect” millions of Americans that do not pose a risk to travel. The new measures give the government greater power to use travelers’ personal data for part of their “domestic airport screenings”. They are applying the same measures that are supposed to be used for Immigration and Customization for people entering the United States.
The procedure has been in place but was not activated until recently. The TSA released the screening regulations in order to comply with government requirements. The new regulations put some of the data collection of the National Security Administration (NSA) scrutiny to shame. As usual the details of the new provisions were never announced to the public.
So what are the things they are looking in to? Here is a quick list from TSA and the New York Times.
- private employment information to include who you work for
- vehicle registrations
- travel history
- property ownership records and what property you claim
- physical characteristics
- tax identification numbers and tax history
- past travel itineraries
- law enforcement information
- “intelligence” information (the key word list used by the NSA)
- passport numbers
- frequent flier information
- other “identifiers” linked to DHS databases (including web history and information, critical speaking of the government)
It has gotten so far out of hand that people came to the New York Times to get the information out.
I think the best way to look at it is as a pre-crime assessment every time you fly,” said Edward Hasbrouck, a consultant to the Identity Project, one of the groups that oppose the prescreening initiatives. “The default will be the highest, most intrusive level of search, and anything less will be conditioned on providing some additional information in some fashion.”
The T.S.A., which has been criticized for a one-size-fits-all approach to screening travelers, said the initiatives were needed to make the procedures more targeted.
“Secure Flight has successfully used information provided to airlines to identify and prevent known or suspected terrorists or other individuals on no-fly lists from gaining access to airplanes or secure areas of airports,” the security agency said in a statement. “Additional risk assessments are used for those higher-risk passengers.”
An agency official discussed some aspects of the initiative on the condition that she not be identified. She emphasized that the main goal of the program was to identify low-risk travelers for lighter screening at airport security checkpoints, adapting methods similar to those used to flag suspicious people entering the United States.~New York Times
This brings up several factors that this is just wrong. Why are we applying these rules to the normal passenger? Where is the data stored? Why is your property you own their business? Are the records even secure?
There is already one victim of the tighter security that gets repeatedly searched even though he has done nothing wrong because their new computer program has flagged him as a potential terrorist.
That has happened to Abdulla Darrat, an urban planner from Queens who said he was flagged for extra scrutiny all eight times he flew since June. When he tries to check in online, a message tells him to check in at the airport, where he receives a boarding pass marked with “SSSS” indicating that he must undergo enhanced screening. His name has been handwritten on a card at the podium where an agent checks passengers’ identification, he said.
“They pat me down,” Mr. Darrat, 31, said. “Then they pull out every single article of clothing in my bag. They take out every shirt and every pair of pants.”
After the checkpoint search, which includes swabbing his luggage to check for explosive residue, he said he was often stopped at the gate before being allowed to fly. He said he assumed that the extra scrutiny was because he had flown to Libya to visit relatives. He also expressed support for protests against Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011, but the extra scrutiny did not happen until this summer.
“It adds this whole air of suspicion about me to everybody on the plane,” he said.~New York Times
It also seems that in some Minority Report like fashion strait from the movies that the entire process is automated for finding future potential terrorists.
At the heart of the expanded effort is a database called the Automated Targeting System, which is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and screens travelers entering the United States.
Data in the Automated Targeting System is used to decide who is placed on the no-fly list — thousands of people the United States government has banned from flying — and the selectee list, an unknown number of travelers who are required to undergo more in-depth screening, like Mr. Darrat. The T.S.A. also maintains a PreCheck disqualification list, tracking people accused of violating security regulations, including disputes with checkpoint or airline staff members.
Much of this personal data is widely shared within the Department of Homeland Security and with other government agencies. Privacy notices for these databases note that the information may be shared with federal, state and local authorities; foreign governments; law enforcement and intelligence agencies — and in some cases, private companies for purposes unrelated to security or travel.
For instance, an update about the T.S.A.’s Transportation Security Enforcement Record System, which contains information about travelers accused of “violations or potential violations” of security regulations, warns that the records may be shared with “a debt collection agency for the purpose of debt collection.”
A recent privacy notice about PreCheck notes that fingerprints submitted by people who apply for the program will be used by the F.B.I. to check its unsolved crimes database.~New York Times
This is unreal. We are labeling “potential terrorists”, giving the information to third parties including debt collectors, and violating the Bill of Rights? What happened to Freedom from Unreasonable Search and Seizures?
Sometimes we wish fiction was not becoming a reality. If people don’t speak up about these things, they relativity go un-noticed for years. This is verifiable with the TSA, Congressional Bills, and the New York Times. This is not their best seller list, this is real. When does the nightmare end and how deep does this rabbit hole go?