Thought the NSA Was Bad? TSA Spying On Travelers Before Folks Arrive at the Airport: Report

By on October 23, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

Many United States citizens are learning that ‘privacy’ is a term of the past when it’s used in relation with the federal government. Government agencies are using the excuse of finding a balance between liberty and security to further their expanding surveillance state.

As if the National Security Agency spying on millions of Americans through their telephone data, unwarranted, isn’t enough – now another federal agency is getting the scoop on your personal information.

According to a New York Times report on Tuesday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which already has a bad rap for inappropriate screenings, is now screening passengers before they even arrive at the airport. Without probable cause, of course, the agency is using a variety of private and government databases to uncover information regarding things like employment and vehicle registrations.

Of course, the TSA argues that the purpose in all of this is for our safety. Many are uneasy, though, because an inspection procedure such as this only used to apply to travelers entering the United States – not all travelers within US borders.

It’s not known how much or which pieces of information are key for the TSA to determine its “risk assessments”, but it’s startling knowing the wide array of information that it’s actually able to access, which as the Times reported, includes things like physical characteristics and tax identification numbers, among much more.

The measures go beyond the background check the government has conducted for years, called Secure Flight, in which a passenger’s name, gender and date of birth are compared with terrorist watch lists,” reported the Times.

Now the search includes using a traveler’s passport number…and other identifiers to access a system of databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.”

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