Deployment of CAPPS II Delayed by Congress

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on September 26, 2003

As part of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, H.R. 2555, Sec. 519, Congress is blocking the implementation of CAPPS II pending a review (to be completed by February 15, 2004), by the GAO, of the system’s privacy standards.

  • Sec. 519, Research, Development, Acquisition, and Operations, states in part: “None of the funds provided by this or previous appropriations Acts may be obligated for deployment or implementation, on other than a test basis, of the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to utilize to screen aviation passengers, until the General Accounting Office has reported to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives that–
    (1) a system of due process exists whereby aviation passengers determined to pose a threat and either delayed or prohibited from boarding their scheduled flights by the TSA may appeal such decision and correct erroneous information contained in CAPPS II;
    (2) the underlying error rate of the government and private data bases that will be used both to establish identity and assign a risk level to a passenger will not produce a large number of false positives that will result in a significant number of passengers being treated mistakenly or security resources being diverted;
    (3) the TSA has stress-tested and demonstrated the efficacy and accuracy of all search tools in CAPPS II and has demonstrated that CAPPS II can make an accurate predictive assessment of those passengers who may constitute a threat to aviation;
    (4) the Secretary of Homeland Security has established an internal oversight board to monitor the manner in which CAPPS II is being developed and prepared;
    (5) the TSA has built in sufficient operational safeguards to reduce the opportunities for abuse;
    (6) substantial security measures are in place to protect CAPPS II from unauthorized access by hackers or other intruders;
    (7) the TSA has adopted policies establishing effective oversight of the use and operation of the system; and
    (8) there are no specific privacy concerns with the technological architecture of the system.”

  • Congress demands study of CAPPS II
  • Congress Puts Brakes on CAPPS II
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