U.S. Outsources to Get New Financial Watch List

Just because you haven't flown lately, or worked at an airport or on a cruise ship, don't think you are home free. The U.S. has contracted with WorldCheck, a private, overseas company to compile a financial watch list--a list of people who, in the company's judgement, are likely to commit financial crimes. The assessment is based on an assortment of public records and data.

"There's a real risk in a situation like this because there's really no accountability," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group based in Washington devoted to privacy issues. "People can find themselves on a watch list incorrectly, and the consequences can be very serious."

Mr. Rotenberg likened the trial program at the department to a Pentagon operation disclosed last year in which JetBlue airlines agreed to turn over data on millions of its passengers to a private contractor doing antiterrorism work for the military. In both cases, Mr. Rotenberg said, government officials effectively "outsourced" the job to private firms "in order to develop profiles on people and circumvent U.S. privacy laws."

With a proliferation of private companies looking to profit from a surge in national security contracts, he said, "we'll see more arrangements like this, and we're likely to see more and more companies in the dot-connecting business."

< Why Was This Middle Eastern Couple Fired? | Karzai: Osama is Nearby >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort: