CAPPS II Abandoned

by TChris

The latest version of Homeland Security's attempt to use computers to assess the security risk of airline passengers (CAPPS II) is dead. CAPPS III might still be on the way.

A department spokeswoman Thursday said she couldn't elaborate on technology issues that hindered CAPPS II, but she did say that the project would be redirected to take into account data privacy concerns. "Homeland Security is still highly committed to replacing the antiquated passenger pre-screening program already in place [known as CAPPS], which Transportation Security Administration inherited," she said. There is no yet timetable for the new project.

The original CAPPS was administered by the airlines. CAPPS II raised concerns about privacy and due process. TalkLeft's coverage of the issue is collected here.

CAPPS II set a dangerous precedent by promising to give the government the power to fight terrorism by sifting Americans into trustworthy and not so trustworthy designations, says Jay Stanley, communications director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Project. "The way to stop terrorism is through good physical security and reliable intelligence," he says. "It's not effective to sort through hundreds of millions of Americans using computer algorithms."

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