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Managing Editor

Secure Flight’s Wings Clipped by TSA Managerial Challenges

Feb 09, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program is being hindered by serious managerial challenges, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Secure Flight is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) planned passenger prescreening program, where airline travelers are screened against terrorist watch lists to determine if additional security measures are necessary.

According to the highlights report, “TSA has not followed a disciplined life cycle approach to manage systems development, or fully defined system requirements…Without following a more rigorous and disciplined life cycle process, including defining system requirements, the Secure Flight program is at serious risk of not meeting program goals.”

Though the report notes that the Department has made some progress towards past GAO Secure Flight recommendations it still has a ways to go before it addresses all pertinent recommendations.

Here’s a list of additional pain points the GAO identified:

  • Key program stakeholders, like the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Terrorist Screening Center, say they need more definitive information on system requirement from TSA in order to support Secure Flight

  • TSA has conducted name-matching tests that compare passenger and terrorist screening data to determine the system’s effectiveness; however, TSA has not made key policy decisions that could impact program operations, like what types of data air carriers need to provide and the specific technologies it will use to match names

  • Secure Flight’s system development documentation does not completely explain how privacy protections for passengers are to be met, or how TSA will protect passenger data once it’s gleaned from travelers

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Managing Editor

Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.

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