-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FW: secure Flight
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2011 10:10:23 -0400
From: Casanova, Luis M
To: Gardner Selby <wgselby@statesman.com>


...


 Bottom line we compare against watch lists, we do not conduct background checks (unless you are coming to work with us).

 

 

As part of the Secure Flight Final Rule, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires airlines to provide specific passenger information to conduct watch list matching and ensure the safety of the traveling public. TSA currently conducts watch list matching for all domestic and international airlines with service into, out of and within the United States. The full implementation of this program fulfills a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Prior to Secure Flight individual airlines were responsible for conducting watch list matching, which resulted in inconsistencies and misidentifications for passengers with similar names to those on the watch lists.

 

Secure Flight Implementation Dates

October 2008*

Secure Flight Final Rule published

August 15, 2009

Secure Flight requires airlines to request and collect full passenger data for flights within the United States

October 31, 2009

Secure Flight requires airlines with flights into and out of the United States to request and collect full passenger data; Start of airline year-long grace period for incomplete Secure Flight Passenger Data submissions

June 22, 2010

Secure Flight completes deployment to all domestic airlines

November 1, 2010**

End of airline grace-period; Secure Flight no longer accepts incomplete passenger data

November 23, 2010

Secure Flight completes deployment to all international airlines with services to and from the United States; Program completes deployment to all airlines originally scheduled for Secure Flight implementation

 

*The Secure Flight Final Rule was posted on the TSA website on October 22, 2008, was published in the Federal Register on October 28, 2008 and became effective December 29, 2008. Secure Flight began implementation in January 2009. The Final Rule outlined an implementation plan to shift pre-departure watch list matching responsibilities from individual aircraft operators to TSA and implements a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

 

**November 1, 2010: As part of the phased-in process, TSA allotted a grace period of one year to allow for all reservations made before these deadlines, without complete data, to clear out of the system. Therefore, for a full year after the October 31, 2010 compliance date, TSA allowed the Secure Flight system to process reservations without all required passenger data elements to be sure that earlier reservations have been completely processed by the system.

 

As of November 1, 2010, all airlines must submit complete passenger data including full name (as it appears on a government-issued identification the passenger will use when traveling), date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if available) to TSA to conduct watch list matching and prevent individuals who pose a threat to aviation or national security from boarding an aircraft. Secure Flight will not conduct watch list matching or approve the issuance of a boarding pass by an airline if complete passenger data is not submitted to TSA. Passengers will be directed to airline ticket counters or kiosks to provide any missing information before the watch list matching process can proceed.

 

 

·         As of November 1, 2010, Secure Flight will no longer approve airlines to issue a boarding pass when incomplete passenger data is received. Incomplete passenger data prevents effective watch list matching.

·         The November 1, 2010 date represents the end of the year-long grace period that TSA allotted airlines in order to clear out older reservations made before Secure Flight requirements went into place beginning in October 2009.

·         By providing complete information ahead of time, more than 99 percent of passengers will be cleared to print their boarding passes at home. As of October 31, 2009 TSA required airlines to begin collecting Secure Flight data. After November 1, 2010 airlines and those making reservations on their behalf will need to provide full passenger data before a boarding pass can be issued.  

 

·         Secure Flight has a highly effective watch list matching process when complete passenger data is provided.

·         TSA continues to work with airlines and third party booking entities to ensure the collection of complete passenger information for watch list matching.

·         Secure Flight makes travel safer by more effectively identifying individuals that may pose a known or suspected threat to aviation. In addition, it will help prevent the misidentification of passengers who have names similar to individuals on government watch lists.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

GENERAL

 

Q.        What is Secure Flight and what does it do?

A.        Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that streamlines the watch list matching process. It provides enhanced watch list matching capabilities to identify individuals that may pose a known or suspected threat to aviation. It will also improve the travel experience for all passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.

 

Q.        When did Secure Flight complete deployment to all covered airlines?

A.        On November 23, 2010, Secure Flight completed deployment to all domestic and international airlines. 

 

Secure Flight will continue to work with the airline industry to deploy to airlines implementing new service or adding additional flights covered by the Secure Flight Final Rule.

 

Q.        Are all airlines currently operational with Secure Flight?

A.        Currently, Secure Flight is fully implemented for all domestic and international airlines with service into, out of and within the United States.

 

 

Q.        How quickly can Secure Flight differentiate between a No Fly and a ‘false positive’?

A.        The Secure Flight watch list matching system takes a matter of seconds to conduct effective matching and determine whether an individual is on a watch list. To avoid misidentifications and possible delays at the airport, it is to the passenger’s benefit to supply complete data when making a reservation, including full name (as it appears on the government-issued ID that will be used when traveling), date of birth, gender and if applicable, a Redress Number. If the passenger believes they have been improperly delayed or prohibited from boarding an aircraft, they may apply for redress through the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), at www.dhs.gov/TRIP. 

 

Q.        Why are passengers required to provide their full name, date of birth, and gender under Secure Flight?

A.        It is to the passenger’s advantage to provide the required data elements as doing so may prevent delays or inconveniences at the airport, particularly for those individuals who have similar names to those on the watch lists. Based on comments received during the rulemaking process and through extensive testing and analysis, TSA determined that mandating the provision of the additional data elements of date of birth and gender would greatly reduce the number of passengers misidentified as a match to the watch list. TSA will not collect or use commercial data to conduct Secure Flight watch list matching.

 

Q.        Does a passenger need to provide this information?

A.        Current regulations require an individual who makes a reservation to provide their full name, date of birth, and gender.  If a passenger chooses not to provide the additional data, TSA will not be able to clear the passenger and the passenger may have to go through additional steps at the airport ticket counter to verify their identity.  By providing the additional information when booking airline travel, passengers can expedite the process.

 

One of the key goals of the program is to reduce inconveniences and prevent passengers from having to go through additional steps to verify identity at the ticket counter while preventing misidentifications.  Initial estimates indicated that under Secure Flight, in excess of 99 percent of passengers will be able to use internet check-in and will not experience delays in obtaining their boarding pass.

 

Q.        What if a passenger chooses not to provide the additional data for watch list screening?

A.        If full passenger information is not provided at the time of booking, TSA will not be able to clear a passenger to fly. Passengers will be directed to provide any remaining information at airline ticket counters or kiosks before Secure Flight can conduct watch list matching and approve the issuance of a boarding pass.

 

            It is to the passenger’s advantage to provide the required data elements as doing so may prevent delays or inconveniences at the airport, particularly for those individuals who have similar names to those on the watch lists.

 

            On background: If a passenger refuses to provide the required information, TSA will be unable to conduct watch list matching and cannot approve the issuance of a boarding pass.

 

Q.        If I don’t provide the necessary information when I book my travel, does my reservation get cancelled?

A.        TSA does not require airlines to cancel reservations if complete passenger information is not provided at the time of booking. If complete information is not provided during the booking process, passengers will be directed to airline ticket counters or kiosks to supply any missing information before Secure Flight can conduct watch list matching and approve the issuance of a boarding pass.

 

Q.        Up to what point before a flight are airlines able to submit passenger data for Secure Flight vetting?

A.        Passengers can provide information up until the time of a flight’s departure.

 

            If a passenger does not provide all necessary information for watch list matching at the time of booking, they will be directed to provide remaining information at airline ticket counters or kiosks when they arrive at the airport for their flight.

 

Q.        What if a person is not on the watch list when the initial Secure Flight prescreening occurs but is subsequently added before the flight actually takes off?

A.        Secure Flight’s system is quickly updated when notified of additions to the No Fly or Selectee lists. Because Secure Flight will match every active travel reservation in the system against the updated watch list, TSA will be able to ensure passengers added to the watch lists receive enhanced screening at the airport or are prevented from flying.

 

Q.        Has there ever been a security vulnerability up to this point?

A.        No. Secure Flight is one layer in TSA’s threat-based layered approach to security. All passengers still receive the same thorough screening at airport security checkpoints. 

 

Currently Secure Flight is watch list matching all domestic and international airlines with service into, out of and within the United States.

 

Q.        What are the required data elements?

A.        TSA will collect the following data elements: 

Required:

§  Name (as it appears on the government-issued identification passengers plan to use when traveling; airline must collect it and passenger must provide it)

§  Date of Birth (airline must collect it and passenger must provide it)

§  Gender (airline must collect it and passenger must provide it)

§  Redress Number (airline must request it but it is optional for passenger to provide it, if available)

 

Q.        Why are passengers required to provide full name, date of birth, and gender under Secure Flight?

A.        TSA only collects the minimum amount of information in order to conduct watch list matching. Based on comments received during the rulemaking process and through extensive testing and analysis, TSA determined that mandating the provision of the additional data elements of date of birth and gender would greatly reduce the number of passengers misidentified as a match to the watch list.

 

It is to the passenger’s advantage to provide the required data elements when booking air travel as doing so may prevent delays or inconveniences at the airport, particularly for those individuals who have similar names to those on the watch lists.

 

TSA will not collect or use commercial data to conduct Secure Flight watch list matching.

 

Q.        Are there children on the watch lists?

A.        TSA is a customer of the Terrorist Screening Center, a branch of the FBI that maintains the government watch lists. TSA can work with airlines to help verify passenger identity for both children and adults and enable them to fly.

 

With full implementation of the Secure Flight program, misidentifications will be greatly reduced. All passengers can apply for Redress with DHS TRIP if they feel their child has been misidentified as a potential match by going to www.dhs.gov/trip.

 

Q.        Can passengers still get last-minute tickets?

A.        Yes. Secure Flight is designed with the capability to perform real-time matching for all flights, to include next-day or same-day flights. Watch list matching takes a matter of seconds and can be conducted up until the time of a flight’s departure.

 

Q.        If the name printed on a passenger’s boarding pass is different than what appears on their government ID, will they still be able to fly?

A.        Boarding passes may not always display the exact name you provided when booking your travel. The name you provide is used to perform the watch list matching before a boarding pass is ever issued, so small differences should not impact your travel.

Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes process that TSA and airlines collaborate on to compare the information you provide against government watch lists. The additional data elements that you may be asked to provide, such as date of birth and gender, serve to better differentiate you from individuals on the government watch list.

Q.        What if my name and I.D. do not exactly match when I arrive at security? Will I be turned away and unable to fly?

A.        No. Secure Flight will not impact the process at the security checkpoint in any way.

While Secure Flight and travel document checking are both critical security functions, they serve different purposes at different points in the security process. At the security checkpoint, TSA strives to ensure you are who you say you are. TSA performs travel document checking to see that you, your identification, and your boarding pass match and are valid. TSA performs this function because identity matters and it is critical to security to ensure that individuals with hostile intent do not board aircraft.

Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes process that TSA and airlines collaborate on to compare the information you provide against government watch lists. The additional data elements that you may be asked to provide, such as date of birth and gender, serve to better differentiate you from individuals on the government watch list.

Q.        What is the objective of Secure Flight?

A.        The goals of the program are to:

§  Identify known and suspected terrorists;

§  Prevent individuals on the No Fly List from boarding an aircraft;

§  Identify individuals on the Selectee List for enhanced screening;

§  Reduce the number of false positive matches and thereby, the number of passengers inconvenienced when obtaining a boarding pass;

§  Facilitate passenger air travel; and

§  Protect individuals’ privacy.

 

Q.        How will a passenger’s travel experience be different under Secure Flight?

A.        The biggest change for most passengers will be providing additional information when booking a reservation for air travel. Under Secure Flight, airlines require that passengers provide their full name, date of birth, and gender when making a reservation to travel and will request a passenger's Redress Number and passport information if available.

 

            Otherwise, the passenger experience under Secure Flight will be the same for most travelers. For those who encounter misidentification, Secure Flight helps prevent watch list name confusion by consolidating the watch list process within TSA and using the DHS TRIP effectively in the watch list matching process. The Secure Flight rule requires that passengers provide additional data to help differentiate a passenger from an individual on the watch list and prevent misidentification.