Menu
Senator questions airlines' data privacy practices

Senator questions airlines' data privacy practices

Jay Rockefeller raises concerns about airlines collecting and sharing personal information

A senior U.S. senator is asking airlines about their data privacy practices, saying he's concerned about what information the companies are collecting and sharing with third parties.

Some consumer advocates have raised concerns that airline privacy policies "can contain substantial caveats and that it is difficult for consumers to learn what information airlines and others in the travel sector are collecting, keeping, and sharing about them," Senator John "Jay" Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, wrote in a letter to 10 U.S. airlines Monday.

The airlines receiving the letters included United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. Airlines contacted about Rockefeller's letter didn't immediately respond to requests for comments.

A spokeswoman for Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, didn't point to specific complaints about airline privacy policies, but noted that he has focused on raising consumer awareness about the personal information they provide online. This year, Rockefeller has introduced theData Security and Breach Notification Act, which would create a federal standard for companies to safeguard the personal information they hold and to notify consumers if their systems are breached.

"Data collected during ticket purchase can include a passenger's name, credit card numbers, date of birth, addresses, travel destinations, and travel companions, among other information," Rockefeller wrote in the letter. "No comprehensive federal privacy law currently applies to the collection, use, and disclosure of consumer travel information."

Some privacy groups have raised concerns about airline privacy in recent years, but the focus has been more on airline security measures after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. than on airlines collecting and sharing personal information.

Much of Rockefeller's letter covers add-on fees that airlines charge customers for carry-on luggage, priority seating and other services. But the letter also asks the airlines what personal information they collect, how long they keep it and what privacy and security protections they have in place.

The letter also asks the airlines whether they share the personal information with third parties and the reason for sharing it.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyindustry verticalsamerican airlinestransportationDelta Air LinesU.S. SenateSouthwest AirlinesUnited AirlinesJohn "Jay" Rockefeller

Featured

Slideshows

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Hundreds of leaders from the New Zealand IT industry gathered at the Hilton in Auckland on 17 November to celebrate the finest female talent in the Kiwi channel and recognise the winners of the Reseller News Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) 2020.

The Kiwi channel gathers for the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards

The leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry joined together for the annual Reseller News Women in ICT Awards event at the Hilton in Auckland, during which hundreds of guests celebrated 13 outstanding individuals who won awards, chosen from more than 50 finalists representing over 30 organisations.

Leading female front runners honoured at the 2020 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards
Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments