Check It News reports that the TSA has implemented the Secure Flight Program, a “behind the scenes program” designed to increase airline security. The program will be phased in with each airline, so it will not immediately take effect across the entire country. American Airlines is one of the first to adopt the program, with all passengers purchasing tickets on or after September 15, 2010 being required to submit additional personal information that will be cross-checked against the national No-Fly list.
The following information, from the Transportation Security Administration, details the specifics behind the new program, designed to keep America safer:
Secure Flight is a behind the scenes program that enhances the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. By collecting additional passenger data, it will improve the travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.
When passengers travel, they will be required to provide the following Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) to their airline when making a reservation:
- Name as it appears on government-issued I.D. when traveling
- Date of Birth
- Redress Number (if available)
The airline will transmit this information to Secure Flight, who uses it to perform watch list matching. This serves to prevent individuals on the No Fly List from boarding an aircraft and to identify individuals on the Selectee List for enhanced screening. After matching passenger information against government watch lists, Secure Flight transmits the matching results back to airlines.
According to American Airlines, the new TSA mandate will require passengers to submit this information several days prior to any scheduled flight to allow for a security check:
As a result of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandate, beginning November 1, all passengers will be required to have Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) in their reservation at least 72 hours prior to departure.
While we are in support of airline security programs, the new Secure Flight Program gives federal agencies the authority to restrict domestic travel for anyone suspected of being a potential threat. We note that, according to recent federal reports, a “threat” may include not only tried-and-true Islamic terrorists like the Christmas Day underwear bomber (who was allowed to board a plane even after failing a security check and tip-offs to authorities), but by the government’s broader definitions, may also eventually include individuals like war veterans, right-wing Christians, survivalist types, Tea Party supporters and Constitutionalists.
Naturally, these policies would not be implemented overnight, and if you are a Tea Party goer you can fully expect to be allowed to board a domestic airplane. There is, however, the potential for abuse with this system that may eventually lead to travel-pass requirements much like those used in the former Communist East Block from the 1960’s through 1980’s when citizens were not allowed to travel domestically or internationally without explicit permission from the government.
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