Secure Flight in Holding Pattern

Article excerpt

A government report, as well as its competing interpretations, has raised questions about when the latest passenger prescreening system for commercial flights will take wing. Secure Flight, the latest iteration of the scuttled Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II (CAPPS II), must overcome several serious challenges, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) "is making progress in the development and testing of Secure Flight and is attempting to build in more rigorous processes than those used for CAPPS II," including the drafting of program oversight and program requirements documents, says GAO.

But TSA has not finalized these documents, according to the report, nor has it tested the system in a real-life environment. Until those tasks are accomplished, GAO writes, "it is uncertain whether Secure Flight will perform as intended, and whether it will be ready for initial operational deployment by August 2005."

Other concerns are that the privacy rights of passengers will be infringed, that inaccurate data will bar passengers from flights, and that passengers wrongly kept off flights will lack redress. Similar problems dogged CAPPS II. In addition, the GAO auditors pointed out that no one has calculated the lifecycle costs of Secure Flight. …


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