“Quiet Skies” – A TSA Surveillance Program Targets Ordinary U.S. Citizens

Here we are once more to discuss another surveillance program that could threaten the privacy of U.S. citizens. This time, our topic is the previously-undisclosed “Quiet Skies” program.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has admitted that the program has monitored about 5,000 U.S. citizens on domestic flights in recent months.

Like any other surveillance program, Quiet Skies was criticized by privacy advocates because the authorities have begun monitoring U.S. citizens that aren’t suspected of a crime or of involvement in terrorist organizations.

The domestic surveillance program aims at collecting extensive information about the movements of the citizens and their behavior.

“The previously undisclosed program, called ‘Quiet Skies,’” specifically targets travelers who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” states a bulletin issued in March by the TSA.

U.S. authorities launched the Quiet Skies program to thwart threats to commercial aircraft “posed by unknown or partially known terrorists.” Under the program, the TSA is authorized to focus its investigation on any person of interest, even if he/she was not believed to have been involved in activities representing a threat to homeland security.

The program may target people who have spent a certain amount of time in specific countries or have visited those counties within a certain period of time. Other elements factor in: a reservation which includes email addresses or phone numbers associated to terrorism suspects could trigger monitoring.

Passengers remain on the Quiet Skies watch list “for up to 90 days or three encounters, whichever comes first, after entering the United States,” according to the TSA. Travelers are not notified when they have been added to the watch list.

Small teams of armed, undercover air marshals are involved in the monitoring activities. The records collected by (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from InfoSec Resources authored by Pierluigi Paganini. Read the original post at: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/infosecResources/~3/WWDZq4KRT9o/