A peek into the TSA's records of an average traveler

Sean O'Neill filed a FOIA request to get his travel records from the Department of Homeland Security. Here's what he found had been collected about his travels: • The IP address of the computers he used to buy tickets from online agents. • Itineraries. • The amount paid for tickets. • Airports through which he passed. • "Basic" identifying information about his travel companions. Sean's just an average guy; it's reasonable to suspect that the DHS holds similar records about each and every citizen's travel. (If you'd like a copy of your own records, he's got details on how to request them.) A rare peek at Homeland Security's files on travelers [Budget Travel/Newsweek] • Michael Chertoff on the TSA and "Security Theater"
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9 Responses to A peek into the TSA's records of an average traveler

  1. nixiebunny says:

    I’ll be happy to never fly again. Road trips are the way of the future.

    Sooner or later, the GPS-phone-home device in the car will become mandatory, then it’ll be down to bicycle road trips.

  2. JayeRandom says:

    Out of curiosity, why would a journalist (who seems to primarily associated with travel writing) be making airline reservations from the offices of a Washington law/lobbying firm? (The address is in a network registered to Arnold & Porter LLP)

  3. Milly Knob says:


    Let’s see, the guy with purple animal droppings (he thinks they are pink) as food for his family, is upset by this horrible contradiction between a page saying TSA has this infomation, while the article says it’s U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

    Let’s try this. What is the government department, headed by Michael Chertoff, the one who would be a cabinet secretary. Well, to answer the question you riase, that would be the Department of Homeland Security.

    And what agencies fall under the mighty sway of Mr. Chertoff. Well it would be a large group that is supposed to work together, with information consolidation.

    It happens that two of those many agencies are U.S. Customs and Border Control — and, no kidding, the Transportation Safety Administration. They would be working with the same overall systems of records. And the cagenet Secretary who heads itall, is the one who determines how that’s done.

    Tell you what, Pinky Doo, if it makes you feel better that the guy who checks your bag for valuables, slices your luggage open, etc. is the guy who has your home address works for the same guy who determines whether you can get in and out of the country. Doesn’t worry you? Some of the people who were rendered unto torture were U.S. citizens. I am encouraged to know that 97.1 percent of these people are absolutely rock solid hones – and thank you good people for your work — and we’re supposed to look the other way about abuses by employees that reach into the thousand.

    Try the Border and Customs — and, surprise, The Transportation Safety Administrations.The latter is the one that had a criminal racketeering charge against some of its LEOs at the major New York City airports.

    Great job, Brownie. Another empoyee of the Department of Homeland Security. Hey, folks in New Orleans are secure ..ummn not, that’s the wrong city.

    Find yourself an organizational chart.

  4. pinkydinkydoo says:

    This post says TSA has this info, but the article you linked to says it’s U.S. Customs and Border patrol. Isn’t the title of the post inaccurate?

  5. Reluctant_Paladin says:


    “The terrorists have won”

    Yes. Because the fact that DHS knows my IP address, and how much I paid for an airline ticket, is exactly the same as being blown into tiny pieces by a nutbag religious extremist.

  6. The Lizardman says:

    @2 I’m with you in spirit but that trans-atlantic bridge is taking forever to be built. I’d drive it if it was there though

  7. zuzu says:

    The terrorists have won.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The purpose of terrorism is to cause fear and panic. The fact that the US now has databases full of information about everyone that travels even though they are not suspected of terrorism, in the name of fighting terrorism, not only gives the terrorists what they want (restricting our freedoms and causing fear and panic), but is also un-Constitutional and an invasion of privacy. Private citizens have always had the ability to move about the country, unrestricted and unrecorded by the government, prior to a certain terrorist attack. So, YES, the terrorists have already won.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You wanted nationalized airport security, well this is the inevitable result.

    Government schools keep centralized databases on student performance, classes & interests, discipline problems, etc.

    Government health care systems keep centralized databases on physical characteristics, health problems, and lifestyle choices, in addition to the standard address and employer and such.

    This is only shocking or controversial because you haven’t had a lifetime to be conditioned to accept it as a normal function of government. In 20 years, this will just be considered sensible safety regulations, and you will be dutifully condemning anyone skeptical of the TSA as a right-wing nut-job.

    Much like gun-control started as a right-wing police-state tactic in the 1960s as a reaction to the Black Panthers calling themselves a ‘militia’, but then over time became rather mainstream moderate left ‘safety regulation’, this right-wing police state tactic will be defended by tomorrows ‘progressives’ as the sensible norm. All that right-wing police state stuff eventually trickles down to the left.

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