JetBlue admits it gave passenger itineraries to defense contractor

September 20, 2003

By Brad Foss, Accociated Press

NEW YORK - Violating its own privacy policy, JetBlue Airways gave 5 million passenger itineraries to a Defense Department contractor that used the information as part of a study seeking ways to identify "high risk" airline customers.

The study, produced by Torch Concepts of Huntsville, Ala., was titled "Homeland Security: Airline Passenger Risk Assessment." The apparent goal of the report was to determine whether it was possible to combine travel and personal information to create a profiling system that would make air travel safer.

The New York-based airline sent an e-mail apologizing to angry customers and said it has taken steps so the situation will not happen again. "This was a mistake on our part," JetBlue chief executive David Neeleman said.

Neeleman insisted the data JetBlue provided was not shared with any government agency and that Torch has since destroyed the passenger records.

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