Private security firms are licking their chops over a potentially high-dollar government contract to conduct background checks on thousands of frequent fliers.
Our friends at Politico report The Chertoff Group and Clear are jostling for the privilege of prescreening America’s air travelers.
The TSA is said to be exploring the idea of putting a third party in charge of conducting background checks on passengers who apply for the agency’s expedited-screening program, known as PreCheck.
Chertoff, of course, has made millions by exploiting the paranoid fears of American taxpayers. Clear, too, has been complicit in creating a “papers please” state.
But the average air travelers may see this as nothing more than free enterprise in action — a potential public-private venture that will help keep the skies safer.
That would be a mistake.
First, we know how careless third parties can be with your personal information. In 2008, a laptop containing 33,000 names and other personal information from a pre-check program was lost in San Francisco. It was later recovered, but no one appears to have been disciplined after the breach.
But an expansion of PreCheck raises even bigger questions. While you may support the current administration and its policies, giving the federal government and a third party your personal information means that any administration that comes afterwards, and indeed, any contractor the government chooses to do business with, will potentially have access to your personal data.
Do you really want that? Didn’t think so.