The Washington Post’s “Navigator” column discusses the issue of privacy and the Transportation Security Administration, which is an agency in the Department of Homeland Security.
And then it occurred to me: Airlines are now requiring passengers to provide their full name as it appears on a government-issued I.D., their date of birth and their gender as part of the Transportation Security Administration’s new Secure Flight initiative.
You probably know Secure Flight as the pesky requirement that the name on your passport or driver’s license be an exact match with the name on your airline ticket. But the program is much more than that. With the extra passenger data, the agency promises to improve the travel experience for all airline passengers, particularly those who have been misidentified as terrorists in the past. […]
I think it’s worth asking how those data are being employed. Specifically, can an airline use my personal information, such as my date of birth, to send me a card – or a promotional offer? […]
I asked the TSA about the personal information used for the program, and a representative pointed me to a statement on the agency’s Web site assuring air travelers that the data are collected, used, distributed, stored and disposed of according to stringent guidelines and all applicable privacy laws and regulations.
The actual requirement can be found in a document called the System of Records Notice. It specifies what information can be gathered (your name, birth date and gender), whom it can be shared with (the TSA and various law enforcement agencies, as appropriate) and when it must be disposed of (a week after your flight, for most records).