The Death of Secure Flight?

secureflight1a.jpgThe AP reports that Secure Flight, the elaborate program for using data mining to screen airline passengers, has been abandoned. Ed Felton says it best:

Instead of sticking to this more modest plan, Secure Flight became a vehicle for pie-in-the-sky plans about data mining and automatic identification of terrorists from consumer databases. As the program’s goals grew more ambitious and collided with practical design and deployment challenges, the program lost focus and seemed to have a different rationale and plan from one month to the next.

What happens now is predictable. The program will officially die but will actually be reincarnated with a new name. Congress has directed TSA to implement a program of this general type, so TSA really has no choice but to try again.

The program was originally called CAPPSII, but that was scrapped when it grew too broad and privacy-invasive. The program was then renamed with a nicer-sounding name — Secure Flight.

So Secure Flight is dead, but it will certainly be reincarnated. Meanwhile, the government has wasted a ton of money (about $150 million) that could have gone to more effective security measures.

How much value do these rather inept passenger screening lists have? Isn’t it time the government cut its losses and got smart? Nope . . . that’s not our government, which operates like a bad gambler. It’ll chase the millions it already lost by frittering away millions more on a program that hasn’t really worked and may never work. I bet the program namers are working on a new name as we speak. How about calling it “Money Flight”? Or maybe “Flight of Fancy”?

Hat tip: Michael Zimmer

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1 Response

  1. Adam says:

    A long time ago, I suggested “Free Wheelchairs for Paraplegic Children.” Like “Secure Flight,” it has little to do with what’s being done, and you sound like a monster opposing it. I should have trademarked it.