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TSA Ends PreCheck Application Expansion Program

Agency cites problems in protecting personal information in expanding program beyond airports.

The plan to allow contractors to expand the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck program has come to an end, without awarding a contract to a single suitor. In an amended request for proposal (RFP), the TSA announced the program would be terminated effective October 26, 2016.

The contract was killed on concerns that the third party contractors would not be able to maintain the level of privacy required to protect flyers who are joining the program. After consulting the Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate, the agency decided there was no viable way to move forward.

“As currently written, there is risk in using personally identifiable information during the testing phase of the process,” the agency wrote in their amendment. “While risk mitigations were included in the current RFP testing approach to protect the sensitive data during testing, TSA has determined it will no longer accept the risk associated with sharing the test data.”

The TSA first announced the program in September 2014, before opening the RFP in October 2015. Earlier this year, the agency expanded their internal efforts to get the word out to more flyers about the program, including opening more application centers in airports and advertising the program, after the U.S. Travel Association suggested that enrollments were sluggish.

Cybersecurity attacks have been a regular concern among frequent travelers in the last two years. In 2015, American Airlines, United Airlines and Hyatt Hotels all confirmed hacker attacks targeting frequent flyer accounts, while Omni Hotels confirmed a similar attack targeting guests’ credit card numbers.

[Photo: AP]

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