Secure Flight critics want info

American Civil Liberties Union officials asked the Homeland Security Department to provide more information on plans to begin testing the Secure Flight airline passenger screening program.

Government Accountability Office officials must evaluate the impact of Secure Flight on aviation security before funds can be used for an identity verification system that uses private databases, according to the DHS Appropriations Act of 2005. That review hasn't been completed, ACLU officials say.

Although TSA and DHS officials have been publicizing Secure Flight testing, they have not mentioned a GAO report.

The program is the revamped version of the controversial Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS) II. ACLU officials said their concerns with CAPPS II apply to Secure Flight, including its reliance on commercial databases that critics say are riddled with mistakes.

"Even as tens of millions of travelers take to the skies next week, the government appears to be rushing headlong to test this intrusive new screening program," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program. "Part of this screening program will rely on third-party commercial databases, and Congress wisely said there must be a thorough evaluation of the use of such databases before this test goes forward."

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