The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has broadened its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by using government and private databases revealing personal information.
The expanded screening, which used to apply only to people entering the United States, now affects domestic travelers, and can include TSA agents reviewing car registrations and employment information.
“It is unclear precisely what information the agency is relying upon to make these risk assessments, given the extensive range of records it can access, including tax identification number, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, and law enforcement or intelligence information,” Susan Stellin wrote for The New York Times.
TSA claims that the purpose of the expanded passenger data scans is to identify low-risk passengers in order to lighten their security screening at the airport and thus make actual searches more targeted. The agency’s goal is to be able to do that with 25% of all passengers by the end of 2014. Those designated low-risk travelers will get to move through a separate line and be able to keep their shoes and jackets on.