The most recent documents released in response to one of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests may have identified the data brokerpowering the TSA’s ‘ID verification’ system as Accurint – the current incarnation of a component of the discredited and supposedly disbandedTotal Information Awareness program – rather than Acxiom as we had speculated (and as had powered other TSA passenger-profiling schemes).
We found this clue to the company behind the curtain in the daily reports on the operation of the TSA Identity Verification Call Center (IVCC) thatgets the call whenever someone tries to fly without having, or without being willing to show, government-issued ID satisfactory to the TSA or contractor staff at an airport checkpoint:
Over the past 48 hours the IVCC experienced on-going internet connectivity issues that caused IVCC operations to be disconnected from Accurint and WebEOC databases…. The interrupted service resulted in extended call times when either database conductivity was abruptly discontinued or unavailable. At approximately 1430, TSOC IT contacted the Accurint Customer Support who indicated the issue was internal to Accurint. At approximately 1615, service appeared to be restored. At 1900, the connectivity issue resurfaced but with limited impact to operations. The TSOC Network Engineer is monitoring the Accurint situation and EMOC Security is working to identify and resolve those issues separate to Accurint.
This report strongly suggests that it’s Accurint that provides the database and ‘verification’ algorithms used by the IVCC, the TSA, and TSA contractors to decide who to allow to fly, and who not to allow to fly. There’s no other apparent reason why the IVCC would need connectivity to Accurint, or why an outage in IVCC connectivity would would be significant.
This post was published at Papers Please on Nov 9, 2015.