TSA: Speed through security if you give us your social media and browser history

nextgov-mediumNow all U.S. citizens can apply to speed through airport screening — if they don’t mind contractors potentially mining their social media posts for signs of threatening behavior.

On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration opened up to the entire American public a voluntary program once reserved for frequent fliers that lets travelers walk, with their shoes and belts on, to express checkpoint lines. Laptops and TSA-size compliant liquids and gels can stay in place too. Body scans are still required.

“Pre✓” enrollment is expected to cost $85 — and the loss of privacy. TSA is weighing a contract that would hire private screeners to parse an applicant’s consumer data, such Web browsing histories, for signs of danger before admission into express inspection programs.

“TSA Pre✓ is one expedited aviation screening initiative” and the agency is researching “a further expansion of expedited physical screening” to understand how “pre-screening processes conducted by non-governmental entities (‘third parties’) can enhance aviation security by placing more focus on pre-screening individuals,” states a January call for industry demonstrations.

Agency officials said in April that they aimed to finish evaluating the concept by the end of this year.

Under the plan, a company would aggregate biographic and biometric “non-governmental data elements to generate an assessment of the risk to the aviation transportation system that may be posed by a specific individual,” the notice states. The vendor would have to provide a “reliable method that effectively identifies known travelers, based on a sound analysis and the application of an algorithm that produces dependable results.”

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