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Federal lawsuit challenges data collection under Secure Flight program

[JURIST] Four people filed suit Thursday against the Transportation Security Administration [official website] in an Anchorage federal court alleging that the agency illegally collected information about passengers in testing the Secure Flight Program [official website] last fall. Earlier this month, Department of Homeland Security [official website] Secretary Michael Chertoff said that privacy concerns about the program were being overstated [JURIST report]. However, in July, a Government Accountability Office report [PDF text] concluded that the TSA violated the 1974 Privacy Act [text] by collecting personal information on people without their knowledge [JURIST report] and also collected data to test the Secure Flight program without Congressional approval [JURIST report]. The lawsuit is based on a provision of federal law that allows individuals to know what data was collected and review it; the four plaintiffs want access to the information TSA collected [Wired report] about them. The agency said they have no such information, which led the plaintiffs to argue that the records were not adequately searched. Reuters has more.

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