Your frequent flyer data & complete fare information public knowledge?

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood withdrew a proposal yesterday that would have required airlines to submit passenger frequent flyer program data and complete fare basis code information to the government. The pending rule dated back to 2005 where the DOT had proposed additional data collection measures required of the airlines. I haven’t researched the full details of that proposal online yet, but at the minimum wanted to share that this potentially damaging information will not be released.

The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) praised both the DOT and Secretary LaHood for the withdrawal speaking on behalf of the airlines. Part of the distaste of the rule was for the expense of programming the airlines would be required to comply with. And of course the larger issue from a traveler perspective would be the privacy issues and potential for misuse of the information. ATA is quoted as saying:

It is surprising to me that data isn’t currently collected from regional carriers given the scope they have in today’s route networks at the major airlines. On the privacy front, while I’m sure the proprietary would not be shared openly to the general public, it would still increase exposure to hackers with multiple file transmissions & storage on government databases. In fact, revealing basic data about ones travels can lead to potentially damaging situations. Once I research a bit more of the Essential Air Service program, I’ll be sure to make another posting should anything of interest still be present that will go live in the future. The latest item, if you recall, was the requirement for airlines to collect birthdate and gender information to store & submit to the TSA.

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