Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced yesterday that the Senate Commerce Committee approved an amendment that would put into place Congressional oversight of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) controversial Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II).
The CAPPS II system is at the center of a contentious battle between advocates of the privacy and civil liberties of airline passengers and the government's position that national security and the fight against terrorism require increased data collection, surveillance and the designation of the potential level of threat presented by individual passengers via a color coding system (green - I'm ok you're ok; yellow - you need a second look; and red - you are not flying today!)
The language of Wyden's amendment will be incorporated into S. 165, the Air Cargo Security Bill, which awaits Senate action.
The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and other civil liberties groups sent a letter in support of the Wyden amendment to the Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.
TSA administrator Adm. James M. Loy responded to the issues raised by privacy advocates in a press release, TSA's CAPPS II Gives Equal Weight to Privacy, Security, dated March 11.