Traveling? Uncle Sam is Watching

Feds are keeping track of Americans: who they fly with, where they stay... what they read
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2007 3:39 PM CDT
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks during a news conference at Washington's Reagan National Airport, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007, to announce new international flight screening procedures....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Feds are stockpiling data on millions of Americans as they travel, the Washington Post reports. Civil liberties activists charge Homeland Security with violating the Privacy Act, saying that travel partners, hotel bookings and reading material should not be in the Feds’ database. But Michael Chertoff claims that the data helps unravel terrorist plots and avoid "inconvenient screening of low-risk travelers." 

The Feds have been collecting such info for more than 10 years, but now it's gathered by more border guards and by airlines via electronic links. Reservation systems are also coughing up data on itineraries and travel partners. Says one traveler, "My first reaction was I kind of expected it. My second reaction was, that's illegal."