"Not Participating in CAPPS II:" They Say Data Got Away From
by Tim Kern
ANN got a call back from jetBlue's Vice President, Corporate
Communications, Gareth Edmundson-Jones, who wanted to go on the
record, in the wake of the lousy publicity his airline had
gotten yesterday. He wanted us to know, in no uncertain terms,
that, "jetBlue is not entered into an agreement to
participate in CAPPS II."
Where did the data come from?
He answered: "We completely separately -- about last July -- we
got a request from Department of Defense to assist with a project
that had a military purpose -- it had nothing to do with civil
aviation, nothing to do with CAPPS II." How did the data become
public? "Their agent is Torch," he explained.
How would that have worked?
"What happened was, we had provided historical PNR data for this
military project, for the DoD, and so it [DoD] had given access to
[the data to] Torch. Ubeknownst to us, that data was the basis of
the presentation you saw."
We figure any airline wouldn't want its data floating around the
Internet -- not so much for security, or even privacy -- but the
competition would love to get its hands on them. "The jetBlue data
were not in the report with our knowledge or consent," he said,
quite clearly. "The access was given for a DoD military project,
that didn't even have anything to do with aviation."
How long were they waiting for this to blow up? Not very long...
it just blew up. "We were just as surprised..." he said, "We just
found out about that presentation yesterday [Tuesday]."
The data in the purported report were more-comprehensive than
the data that airlines gather. How did that happen? "Obviously, PNR
data do not include dates of birth, SSNs, anything like that," he
explained. Well? "It depends; I don't know how they extrapolated
For the Record:
"It's important to state very clearly that TSA has NO live or
historical data from jetBlue whatsoever. We have not shared any
customer data with the TSA, or with the DHS. The only jetBlue data
shared was on behalf of the DoD, to their contractor (Torch), not