Airport screeners in the US (at least) are watching what you read while waiting for your flight. I’ve been doing a lot of flying lately and this scares the crap out of me. They better not take away my copy of Mr. Pip before I find out what happens to Mathilda and Pop Eye.
The Identity Project filed Privacy Act requests for five individuals to see the data stored on them by the government.
The requests revealed that the PNRs also included information on one requester’s race, the phone numbers of overseas family members given to the airlines as emergency contact information, and a record of a purely European flight that had been booked overseas separately from an international itinerary, according to snippets of the documents shown to Wired News.
The request also revealed the screening system includes inspection notes from earlier border inspections.
One report about Gilmore notes: “PAX (passenger) has many small flashlights with pot leaves on them. He had a book entitled ‘Drugs and Your Rights.’” Gilmore is an advocate for marijuana legalization.
Another inspection entry noted that Gilmore had “attended computer conference in Berlin and then traveled around Europe and Asia to visit friends. 100% baggage exam negative…. PAX is self employed ‘Entrepreneur’ in computer software business.”
“They are noting people’s race and they are writing down what people read,” Scannell said.
It doesn’t matter that Gilmore was reading a book about drugs, rather than Catcher in the Rye, according to Scannell. “A book is a book,” Scannell said. “This is just plain wrong.”
“After scarfing back a five dollar bagel with questionable cream cheese, a cannister of Pringles, and a Snickers, PAX turned pale and began to frantically search for a restroom. Analysis from the chemset located in the toilet shows the PAX to have eaten nothing but pre-packaged junk for for the last six months. Computer models suggest arresting the passenger on humanitarian grounds.”
That last bit was mine.