Homeland Security, Airlines and Canada:the usual Sunday roundout up of "security" newz (ARG!!)
U.S. Plan for Airline Security Meets Resistance in Canada
OTTAWA, Oct. 13 — Canadian airlines are balking at a Department of Homeland Security plan that would require them to turn over information about passengers flying over the United States to reach another country.
The proposal, which appears at odds with Canada’s privacy laws, would mostly involve Canadians who join the annual winter exodus to Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean. It is also viewed by the Canadian airline industry as a rejection of several costly measures already taken to assuage American concerns.
“I appreciate and respect United States citizens’ concern for their safety and security,” said Fred Gaspar, the vice president of policy and strategic planning for the Air Transport Association of Canada. “But we need to understand what the gap is they need to fix.”
The proposal is part of a broad Transportation Security Administration plan known as the Secure Flight Program. Last month, the agency released rules it hopes to impose when it takes over from the airlines the job of matching passenger names with terrorism watch lists and no-fly lists.
Christopher White, a spokesman for the security administration, said the new program was not a negative comment on Canadian security measures.
“We need a multilayered approach,” he said. “Any security system that relies on one process is a very vulnerable system.”
In June, Canada put in effect its own no-fly list of potentially dangerous travelers. The Canadian program was developed after extensive consultation with the United States.
Mr. Gaspar said that the Canadian airlines’ understanding was that once Canada’s program was under way, the only information they would have to give the United States would be about passengers headed to that country.
“Either the United States places no value whatsoever in the Canadian list, which it helped develop, or I have to suspect what’s going on here is a pure and simple data-fishing exercise,” Mr. Gaspar said.
Among other things, he speculated that the data could be used by American authorities to track Americans who violated the trade embargo against Cuba by flying there on Canadian airlines.
Mr. White, of the Transportation Security Administration, said the rules were open for comment until Oct. 22, “including from our Canadian friends.”