Oct 29 2008
Homeland Security Publishes Final Rule for the Secure Flight Program
Late last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the publication of the final rule for the Secure Flight program, an endeavor that would shift the responsibility of matching pre-departure watch lists from individual aircraft operators to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These changes were suggested by the 9/11 Commission.
TSA believes that, by shifting this responsibility to their organization, they can do a more effective job of solving issues related to misidentifications of valid travelers, when those travelers’ names are similar to names found on the watch list.
"Secure Flight is a critical tool that will further improve aviation security and fix the major customer service issue of watch list misidentifications, a frustratingly common occurrence for travelers under the existing airline-based system," said Michael Chertoff, secretary of DHS. "We know that threats to our aviation system persist, and Secure Flight will help us better protect the traveling public while creating a more consistent passenger prescreening process, ultimately reducing the number of misidentification issues."
Under the Secure Flight program, airlines will be required to collect passengers’ full names, dates of birth and gender when those passengers are making their flight reservations. These addition data collected will assist TSA in parsing valid travelers from those on the watch list.
The Secure Flight program, according to TSA, will be implemented in two pages. In early 2009, TSA will begin taking over matching responsibilities from the airlines for passengers traveling domestically. In late 2009, TSA will take over matching responsibilities for travelers coming to the U.S. on international flights.