The Boston Globe reports today that the FBI has been keeping millions of records on air travelers who flew in the months before September 11th:
If you’re among the millions of Americans who took airline flights in the months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI probably knows about it and possibly where you stayed, whom you traveled with, what credit card you used and even whether you ordered a kosher meal.
The bureau is keeping 257.5 million records on people who flew on commercial airlines from June through September 2001 in its permanent investigative database, according to information obtained by a privacy group and made available to The Associated Press.
Privacy advocates say they’re troubled by the possibility that the FBI could be analyzing personal information about people without their knowledge or permission.
”The FBI collected a vast amount of information about millions of people with no indication that they had done anything unlawful,” said Marcia Hofmann, attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which learned about the data through a Freedom of Information Act request.
And I say. BIG DEAL.
I believe in privacy. I’ve been a member of the ACLU since I was 16 years old – I’m a long time member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations – and I’ve written a ton of letters and done some individual lobbying about issues like the Clipper chip, digital telephony, and other issues.
But you also have to draw a line about what’s reasonable from the standpoint of investigations – and I’m trying to see the issue here.
If you think the FBI really has the time to go digging through these records to see if you and your mistress were flying somewhere together because they’re trying to co-opt your vote – then I recommend that you pull the tin foil hat down a little closer around your ears to block the alien rays.