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Airlines may screen fliers for risk
Codes based on criminal, travel info planned in '04 that could block thousands from flights.
September 9, 2003: 7:43 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Airline passengers could soon be assigned a color code to assess their security risk that could keep tens of thousands of passengers daily from boarding a flight, according to a published report.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the new system from the Transportation Security Administration, is set to debut next summer in a pilot program. The system will consider passengers' personal information, criminal records and intelligence information, as well as their city of departure, destination, traveling companions and date of ticket purchase.

The paper said that most passengers will be assigned a green code and not be subject to additional scrutiny. But the paper, quoting people familiar with the program, said 8 percent of passengers will be coded "yellow" and will undergo additional screening at the checkpoint, while 1 to 2 percent will be coded red and be prevented from boarding. That could equal about 30,000 passengers a day who would not be allowed to board based on the average daily passenger volume.

The program has critics. The paper reported that Delta Air Lines (DAL: Research, Estimates), the nation's No. 3 carrier, backed out of a testing program with the agency earlier this year.

"This system is going to be replete with errors," the paper quotes Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program as saying. "You could be falsely arrested. You could be delayed. You could lose your ability to travel."  Top of page

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