The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on March 31, 2009, the implementation of the Secure Flight Program, which shifts pre-departure watch list matching responsibilities from individual aircraft operators to TSA. By using one watch list matching system, the Secure Flight Program should provide a consistent matching process across all airlines.
Under Secure Flight, airlines will gather a passenger’s full name, date of birth, and gender when making an airline reservation to determine if the passenger is a match to the No Fly or Selectee lists. By providing the additional data elements of gender and date of birth, Secure Flight will more effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on the watch list. Moreover, Secure Flight uses the results of the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) in its watch list matching process to prevent future misidentification of passengers who may have a name that is similar to an individual on the watch list.
TSA believes that Secure Flight will improve security and protect passenger privacy and civil liberties by ensuring the confidentiality of government watch list matching protocols.
TSA’s goal is to vet 100% of all domestic commercial flights by early 2010 and 100% of all international commercial flights by the end of 2010.