October 16, 2007

Travelers Pre-Screening Program Includes Privacy Ombuds

Verified Identity Pass, Inc. -- the largest passenger pre-screening provider -- has incorporated a privacy ombuds into its Clear Registered Traveler program. (Travelers who are pre-screened and pay a fee to Clear may shortcut TSA lines at about a dozen airports.) Clear has appointed UC Berkeley Law Professor Paul Schwartz as an independent, outside Privacy Ombudsman. According to the company's website:

He will be identified to members as the person to contact if a member has a privacy complaint or privacy problem with administration of the Clear system or fidelity to our published Privacy Policies. The Independent Privacy Ombudsman is empowered to investigate all privacy complaints, gather the facts, and respond to members, as well as to post responses publicly and prominently on our website. He will also provide Clear's management with recommendations for resolving disputes in keeping with our Privacy promises. (Clear's Ombudsman; Clear's Privacy Policy.)

The ombuds may also be able to post his findings on Clear's website without interference from the company. (ConsumerAffairs.com.)

It's reassuring to see that Clear has designated an independent ombuds, especially one with Schwartz's privacy credentials. However, it is not clear whether or not the Privacy Ombudsman will comply with IOA or USOA standards. (Thanks, Rachel.)

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