The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it will be a little less quick to report the activities of air travellers to intelligence officials, although monitoring under the agency’s controversial Quiet Skies programme will continue.
CNN reports that under Quiet Skies, armed air marshals track the movements and activities of travellers even if they are not on terrorism watch lists or suspected of terrorist or criminal activities.
Previously, the air marshals would report all such monitoring to intelligence agencies. Under the revised rules, such “after action” reports would no longer be filed if surveillance subjects don’t do anything noteworthy during their travels.
“The only change to the program has been in the reporting mechanism,” a TSA spokesperson said.
Critics welcomed the change but continued to express concern about Quiet Skies in general.
“Federal law enforcement shouldn’t be tracking and monitoring travellers and then logging detailed information about them without any basis to believe that they’ve done anything wrong,” wrote ACLU attorney Hugh Handeyside in a memo.
TSA defended the programme as needed to protect the flying public.