Outrage at secret probe into 47,000 innocent flyers
Police secretly investigated the travel habits, family, friends and backgrounds of 47,000 innocent people last year after they bought plane tickets to fly into and out of Britain.
The intrusiveness has provoked fury among civil liberties campaigners and now may be stopped by Britain’s new coalition Government.
Police have also used it to produce 14,000 intelligence reports on travellers for ‘future use’. They can be shared by security services worldwide.
‘Suspect’ requests likely to lead to innocent holidaymakers receiving ‘red flags’ as potential terrorists include ordering a vegetarian meal, asking for an over-wing seat and travelling with a foreign-born husband or wife.
The system will also ‘red flag’ anyone buying a one-way ticket and making a last-minute reservation and those with a history of booking tickets and not showing up for flights.
All information passengers give to travel agents, including home address, phone numbers, email address, passport details and the names of family members, is shared with an unknown number of Government agencies for ‘analysis’ and stored for up to ten years.
The Home Office claims the system has led to arrests of murderers and rapists – and to 1,000 people being denied entry to Britain.
But it refused to say if any terrorists had been caught by the system, despite it being a counter-terrorist measure.
Even as the ‘profiling’ system went live, its reliability was being called into question. An internal Home Office document revealed that during testing one ‘potential suspect’ turned out to be an airline passenger with a spinal injury flying into Britain with his nurse.
Okay, now I understand that the Daily Mail is a bit of a trashy tabloid, so maybe I shouldn't take it's tone too seriously.
But, maybe someone can explain to me: What's the BF Deal here???
First of all being "innocent" is a reason to not be punished, not a reason not to be investigated. The whole concept of not investigating someone because he or she is innocent is absurd on its face.
Second, so what??? So, the government collects your info when you buy a plane ticket? So, certain seemingly innocent behaviors are considered red flags to prompt further investigation? What's so terrible about this? Why do people get so up in arms about their "privacy" regarding information they voluntarily give when purchasing airline tickets?
Now, I understand that the government should not be intruding into areas where people have reasonable expectations of privacy. The government should not be allowed to search your home without a warrant/probable cause/ whatever the applicable standard is in [fill in country]. I can even understand the sentiment that the government shouldn't be picking data from people's gmail accounts and whatnot. But sifting through data you voluntarily provide in applications for services for red flags? What's bad about that? I simply don't get the objection.