TSA Now Pre-Screening Passengers Before They Arrive at Airport

| by Michael Allen

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now pre-screening passengers before they ever arrive at the airport.

The pre-screening includes government and private databases, which could include TSA searches of everything from employment information to car registration, according to The New York Times.

The TSA has not revealed exactly what type of information it is seeking and relying on when pre-screening millions of passengers.

In the past, the TSA has used a computer program called "Secure Flight," which it describes on its website:

Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that enhances the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. Collecting additional passenger data improves the travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.

An unidentified TSA official told The New York Times that the new security screening will check a traveler's itinerary, how long they plan to stay abroad (for international flights), passport, membership in frequent-flier programs and past travel reservations.

The TSA is also trying to get more people into its existing program PreCheck, which requires fingerprint checks and a criminal background check. That program is also used by the FBI for its unsolved crimes database.

The TSA claims it wants to lighten security screenings on 25 percent of passengers by the end of 2014, which means some people could keep their shoes and jackets on, use special lines and keep their laptops in laptop bags.

Besides airline safety, the TSA says that its Security Enforcement Record System may be shared with “a debt collection agency for the purpose of debt collection.”

Sources: The New York Times and