Transportation Department launching probe of major airlines’ privacy policies


1 of 2 | The Department of Transportation announced Thursday it is launching a probe into the privacy practices of the major U.S. airlines. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
March 21 (UPI) — The Department of Transportation said it is reviewing its privacy policies at the country’s 10 largest airlines to make sure passenger information is not being deceptively sold or shared with third parties. While a statement by the department did not mention a specific incident that sparked the review, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg the agency will be looking for “evidence of problematic practices” that expose the personal information of passengers. Advertisement
The review includes the carriers Allegiant, Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United.
“Airline passengers should have confidence that their personal information is not being shared improperly with third parties or mishandled by employees,” Buttigieg said in a statement.
“This review of airline practices is the beginning of a new initiative by DOT to ensure airlines are being good stewards of sensitive passenger data.”
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said such information can fall into the hands of “shady” data brokers for illegal marketing uses.
“Customers will often never know that their personal data was misused or sold,” Wyden said in a statement. “I will continue to work with DOT to ensure that it is holding the airlines responsible for harmful or negligent privacy practices.”
The Transportation Department said the privacy review is the first of periodic reviews of airline practices. The reviews will look at employee training, complaints from customers and how the carriers store and maintain such information.
The announcement marked the latest step the Transportation has taken in connection with the airlines, including fining Southwest Airlines for a holiday technical meltdown and a policy regarding wheelchairs.



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