Delta to launch new database-backed federal air travel security system

Color me orange. AP is reporting that Delta airlines will launch a government-developed air security system in March to check detailed background information and assign a personal threat level to each traveler that buys a ticket for a commercial flight. The system will be launched at three undisclosed airports, and widespread implementation throughout the US could be in place by the end of 2003.

Transportation officials say a contractor will be picked soon to build the nationwide computer system, which will check such things as credit reports and bank account activity and compare passenger names with those on government watch lists.

Civil liberties groups and activists are objecting to the plan, seeing the potential for unconstitutional invasions of privacy and for database mix-ups that could lead to innocent people being branded security risks."This system threatens to create a permanent blacklisted underclass of Americans who cannot travel freely," said Katie Corrigan, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. There also is concern that the government is developing the system without revealing how information will be gathered and how long it will be kept.

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