Report: U.S. to push national air passenger database
02:31 PM PST on Monday, January 12, 2004


SEATTLE - There’s another big potential big change the next time you head to the airport, and it comes with plenty of controversy.

Despite stiff resistance from airlines and privacy advocates, the U.S. government plans to push ahead this year with a vast computerized system to probe the backgrounds of all passengers boarding flights in the United States.

The Washington Post reports Monday that the government will compel airlines and airline reservation companies to hand over all passenger records for scrutiny by U.S. officials, creating a huge database on the backgrounds of every passenger before they board an aircraft.

Airport security screeners perform body scans on passengers. (AP File Photo)
The order could be issued as soon as next month.

Under the plan, all travelers passing through U.S. airports will be scored with a number and a color that ranks their perceived threat to the aircraft.

A red rating means a passengers would be prohibited from boarding. A yellow a passenger would get additional questioning at the security checkpoint, and a green rating paves the way for a standard trip through security.

Also factored into passengers' scores would be intelligence about certain routes and airports where there might be higher-rated concerns about security.

Another program that will introduced this year would speed frequent fliers through security lines in exchange for 'volunteering' personal information to the government.

T he new security screening plan would be used with a system introduced last week to fingerprint and photograph millions of foreign visitors once they arrive in the U.S.



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