Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System
Overview
 
The Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (often abbreviated CAPPS) is a counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 system in place in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 air travel industry. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Transportation Security Administration
Transportation Security Administration
The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the safety and security of the traveling public in the United States....

 (TSA) maintains a watchlist, pursuant to 49 USC § 114 (h)(2), of "individuals known to pose, or suspected of posing, a risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety." The list is used to pre-emptively identify terrorists
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 attempting to buy plane tickets or board planes traveling in the United States, and to mitigate perceived threats.
CAPPS systems rely on what is known as a Passenger Name Record
Passenger Name Record
In the travel industry, a passenger name record is a record in the database of a computer reservation system that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers traveling together...

, often abbreviated PNR.
Encyclopedia
The Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (often abbreviated CAPPS) is a counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 system in place in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 air travel industry. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Transportation Security Administration
Transportation Security Administration
The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the safety and security of the traveling public in the United States....

 (TSA) maintains a watchlist, pursuant to 49 USC § 114 (h)(2), of "individuals known to pose, or suspected of posing, a risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety." The list is used to pre-emptively identify terrorists
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 attempting to buy plane tickets or board planes traveling in the United States, and to mitigate perceived threats.

Overview

CAPPS systems rely on what is known as a Passenger Name Record
Passenger Name Record
In the travel industry, a passenger name record is a record in the database of a computer reservation system that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers traveling together...

, often abbreviated PNR. When a person books a plane ticket, certain identifying information is collected by the airline: full name, address, etc. This information is used to check against some data store (e.g., a TSA No-Fly list, the FBI ten most wanted fugitive list
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
The FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list arose from a conversation held in late 1949 between J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Kinsey Hutchinson, International News Service Editor-in-Chief, who were discussing ways to promote capture of the...

, etc.) and assign a terrorism "risk score" to that person. High risk scores require the airline to subject the person to extended baggage and/or personal screening, and to contact law enforcement if necessary.

CAPPS I

CAPPS I was first implemented in the late 1990s, in response to the perceived threat of U.S. domestic and international terrorism. CAPPS I was administered by the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 and FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

. CAPPS screening selected passengers for additional screening of their checked baggage for explosives. CAPPS selectees did not undergo any additional screening at passenger security checkpoints.

September 11, 2001, attacks

On the morning of the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, several of the hijackers
Organizers of the September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks were carried out by 19 hijackers affiliated with al-Qaeda. The hijackers were organized into four teams, each led by a pilot-trained hijacker with four "muscle hijackers", who were trained to help subdue the pilots, passengers, and crew.The first hijackers to arrive in the...

 were selected by CAPPS. Wail al-Shehri
Wail al-Shehri
Wail Mohammed al-Shehri was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, which was hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the September 11 attacks....

, and Satam al-Suqami
Satam al-Suqami
A law student, Satam Muhammed Abdel Rahman al-Suqami was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 as part of the September 11 attacks....

 were selected for extra screening of their checked bags, before they boarded American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11 was American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California...

 at Logan International Airport
Logan International Airport
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is located in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts . It covers , has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people. It is the 19th busiest airport in the United States.Boston serves as a focus city for JetBlue Airways...

. Waleed al-Shehri
Waleed al-Shehri
Waleed Mohammed al-Shehri was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, which was crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the September 11 attacks....

 was also selected, but since he had checked no bags, CAPPS selection had no effect on him. Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta was one of the masterminds and the ringleader of the September 11 attacks who served as the hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, crashing the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the coordinated attacks.Born in 1968...

 was selected by CAPPS when he checked in at Portland International Jetport
Portland International Jetport
Portland International Jetport is a public airport located two miles west of the central business district of Portland, in Cumberland County, Maine, United States. It is owned by the city of Portland...

.

All five of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77
American Airlines Flight 77
American Airlines Flight 77 was American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight, from Washington Dulles International Airport, in Dulles, Virginia to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California...

 were CAPPS selectees, with Hani Hanjour
Hani Hanjour
Hani Saleh Hasan Hanjour was the hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, crashing the plane into the Pentagon as part of the September 11 attacks....

, Khalid al-Mihdhar
Khalid al-Mihdhar
Khalid Muhammad Abdallah al-Mihdhar was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which was flown into the Pentagon as part of the September 11 attacks....

, and Majed Moqed
Majed Moqed
A former law student, Majed Mashaan Ghanem Moqed was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 as part of the September 11 attacks....

 chosen by the CAPPS criteria. Nawaf al-Hazmi
Nawaf al-Hazmi
Nawaf Muhammed Salim al-Hazmi was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon as part of the September 11 attacks....

 and Salem al-Hazmi
Salem al-Hazmi
Salem al-Hazmi was one of five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77 as part of the September 11 attacks.A Saudi, Hazmi had a relatively long history with al-Qaeda before being selected for the attacks...

 were selected because they did not provide adequate identification, and had their checked bags held until they boarded the aircraft.

Ahmad al-Haznawi was the only hijacker selected of those on United Airlines Flight 93
United Airlines Flight 93
United Airlines Flight 93 was United Airlines' scheduled morning transcontinental flight across the United States from Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco International Airport in California. On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the Boeing 757–222 aircraft operating the...

, and none of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 175
United Airlines Flight 175
United Airlines Flight 175 was United Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight, from Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California...

 were selected by CAPPS.

After 9/11

In November 2001, control was transferred to the TSA, where it has "...expanded almost daily as Intelligence Community (IC) agencies and the Office of Homeland Security continue to request the addition of individuals..."

In 2003, the Transportation Security Administration
Transportation Security Administration
The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the safety and security of the traveling public in the United States....

 (TSA) presented a proposal for an expanded system (CAPPS II), which was reviewed by Congress and later canceled by the United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

 (DHS).

The Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II
Computer Assisted Passenger PreScreening System II
The Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System was a program of the United States Department of Homeland Security instituted to increase security at airports by assessing the risk level of passengers before they're allowed to board...

 was a proposal for a new CAPPS system, designed by the Office of National Risk Assessment (ONRA), a subsidiary office of the TSA, with the contracted assistance of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

. Congress presented the TSA with a list of requirements for a successor to CAPPS I. Some of those requirements were:
  • The government, not the airlines, would control and administer the system
  • Every ticketed passenger would be screened, for instance not just those who check bags
  • Every airline and every airport would be covered by the system


Like its predecessor, the CAPPS II proposal would rely on the PNR to uniquely identify people attempting to board aircraft. It would expand the PNR field to include a few extra fields, like a full street address, date of birth, and a home telephone number. It would then cross-reference these fields with government records and private sector databases to ascertain the identity of the person, and then determine a number of details about that person. Law enforcement would be contacted in the event that the person was either present on a terrorist or most-wanted list or had outstanding Federal or state arrest warrant
Arrest warrant
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by and on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.-Canada:Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under the Criminal Code of Canada....

s for violent crime
Violent crime
A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end, such as robbery. Violent...

.

Otherwise, the software would calculate a "risk score" and then print a code on the boarding pass indicating the appropriate "screening level" for that person: green (no threat) indicates no additional screening, yellow (unknown or possible threat) indicates additional screening, and red (high risk) indicates no boarding and deferral to law enforcement. Exactly how this risk score would be calculated was never disclosed nor subject to public oversight of any kind outside of the TSA.

The CAPPS II system was criticized in a report (pdf) by the United States General Accounting Office in early 2004, and faced increased opposition from watchdog groups like the ACLU, ReclaimDemocracy.org, and Electronic Privacy Information Center
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Electronic Privacy Information Center is a public interest research group in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values in the information age...

. These advocacy groups believed it would undermine both privacy and safety. They expressed concern that the system would be unconstitutional and that terrorists could use it to their advantage.

CAPPS II was cancelled by the TSA in the summer of 2004. Shortly thereafter, the TSA announced a successor program, called Secure Flight
Secure Flight
Secure Flight is an airline passenger pre-screening program to be implemented starting in August 2009 by the Transportation Security Administration . Secure Flight will match passenger information against blacklists maintained by the federal government...

, that would work much the same way as CAPPS II. TSA hoped to test Secure Flight in August 2005 using two airlines. Secure Flight has been blocked by Congress until the government can prove that the system can pass 10 tests for accuracy and privacy protection as follows:

Annex I: Legislatively Mandated Secure Flight Issues to be Certified by DHS and Reviewed by GAO

Legislative mandated issue (number and short title) Description of mandated issue

1. Redress process:
A system of due process exists whereby aviation passengers determined to pose a threat are either delayed or prohibited from boarding their scheduled flights by TSA may appeal such decisions and correct erroneous information contained in CAPPS II or Secure Flight or other follow-on/successor programs.

2. Accuracy of databases and effectiveness of Secure Flight:
The underlying error rate of the government and private databases that will be used to both 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. Stress testing:
TSA has stress-tested and demonstrated the efficacy and accuracy of all search technologies in CAPPS II or Secure Flight or other follow-on/successor programs and has demonstrated that CAPPS II or Secure Flight or other follow-on/successor programs can make an accurate predictive assessment of those passengers who may constitute a threat to aviation.

4. Internal oversight:
The Secretary of Homeland Security has established an internal oversight board to monitor the manner in which CAPPS II or Secure Flight or other follow-on/successor programs are being developed and prepared.

5. Operational safeguards:
TSA has built in sufficient operational safeguards to reduce the opportunities for abuse.

6. Security measures:
Substantial security measures are in place to protect CAPPS II or Secure Flight or other follow-on/successor programs from unauthorized access by hackers or other intruders.

7. Oversight of system use and operation:
TSA has adopted policies establishing effective oversight of the use and operation of the system.

8. Privacy concerns:
There are no specific privacy concerns with the technological architecture of the system.

9. Modifications with respect to intrastate travel to accommodate states with unique air transportation needs:
TSA has, in accordance with the requirements of section 44903 (j)(2)(B) of title 49, United States Code, modified CAPPS II or Secure Flight or other follow-on/successor programs with respect to intrastate transportation to accommodate states with unique air transportation needs and passengers who might otherwise regularly trigger primary selectee status.

10. Life-cycle cost estimates and expenditure plans:
Appropriate life-cycle cost estimates, and expenditure and program plans exist.

TSA expects that Secure Flight will begin operational testing at the end of 2008 for domestic passenger vetting, with full implementation in 2010. TSA is working with DHS to explore ways to efficiently accelerate the schedule to implement the program, as appropriate and within established lifecycle cost estimates.

Surveillance Detection Report (SDR)

On July 21, 2006, TV station ABC 7 in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 released a report, citing air marshals that were using a quota
Quota
-Commerce:* Import quota, a type of trade restriction* Production quota* Sales quota, a minimum sales goal for a set time span* Tariff-rate quota, a type of trade restriction-Electoral systems:* Droop quota* Election threshold* Hagenbach-Bischoff quota...

 system of reporting one person per month as a requirement for advancement. These reports are filed as Surveillance Detection Reports: it is unclear how many such reports are required on a person to place them on the watch lists.

See also

  • Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment
    Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment
    The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, is the U.S. Government's central database on known or suspected international terrorists, and contains highly classified information provided by members of the Intelligence Community such as CIA, DIA, FBI, NSA, and many others.There are about 550,000...

  • Secondary Security Screening Selection
    Secondary Security Screening Selection
    Secondary Security Screening Selection or Secondary Security Screening Selectee, known by its acronym SSSS, is an airport security measure in the United States and Canada which selects passengers for additional inspection. This may also be known as Selectee, Automatic Selectee or the Selectee list...

  • No Fly List
    No Fly List
    The No Fly List is a list, created and maintained by the United States government's Terrorist Screening Center , of people who are not permitted to board a commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States. The list has also been used to divert away from U.S. airspace aircraft not...


External links


CAPPS II

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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