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Transportation Department dismisses post-9/11 passenger privacy complaint against Northwest Airlines

[JURIST] The US Transportation Department has dismissed a complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center [EPIC] against Northwest Airlines Corp. The complaint was filed after Northwest shared passenger data with federal researchers weeks after the September 11 attacks. Samuel Podberesky, assistant general counsel for aviation enforcement, found Northwest did not violate its privacy policy and wrote that even if the company had, the policy was unenforceable because Northwest is required to share passenger data with the government upon request.

EPIC argued that Northwest promised not to "sell" passenger data to third parties but Podberesky found "sell" means just that, and leaves open the possibility of sharing data with the government. Read the order dismissing the EPIC complaint here[PDF]. EPIC will appeal. In June, a federal court in Minnesota dismissed seven class-action lawsuits brought by passengers against Northwest finding the passengers had not been harmed. Click for more information on the Northwest disclosure to federal agencies here. AP has more.

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