British Airways is suffering a backlash from privacy advocates after they announced their plans to create dossiers on their passengers by using Google to search for photos and other information about its passengers.
The airline said it wanted to be able to deliver a more personal touch by researching passengers. The “Know Me” programme will use Google images to find pictures of passengers so that staff can approach them as they arrive at the terminal or plane.
BA staff will also search individual data held by the airline, including if a regular traveller has experienced problems on previous flights, such as delays, so that crew are primed to apologise.
Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at BA, said: “We’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favourite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers. This is just the start — the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future.”
No, just no. A restaurant that a person frequents is a small business. If a person wants to visit Chilis for dinner every Friday and have ribs, that’s fine. People in the community will recognize them. If they go to Chilis in another state, no one there is going to recognize them. That’s the way it should be.
It’s highly creepy for strangers that you are likely to never see again to know personal details about you, including what you look like because an airline did some data mining on you. It’s creepy and borderline stalkerish.
“The most recent advancement of the system enables the British Airways team to search Google images for a photo of specific customers so they can recognise them and proactively approach them. The airline is aiming to send 4,500 personal recognition messages a day by the end of the year.”
Why would anyone think this is a good thing? Who determined that it’s okay for an airline to start playing detective and putting information in a dossier about us? How do we even know that this information is correct? If it’s not, how do we change it?
British Airways has however, been added to my list of airlines I will never fly on so long as this policy is in place.
Home Secretary Theresa May outlines planned changes to the law in The Communications Data Bill.
Local authorities are likely to be stripped of their current powers to access phone call data in an effort to win over critics but the proposals have still been branded a “snooper’s charter” by civil liberties campaigners.
Rachel Robinson, policy officer for Liberty, said: “It’s good that local councils won’t be able to watch the entire population but even law enforcement should be targeting suspects – not all citizens.
“Just like the internet, any private home can be a crime scene, but should we install hidden cameras and microphones in every bedroom in the land?”
Under current legislation, communications companies must keep phone records and information about messages sent via their own email services for 12 months.
The new proposals would require UK communications companies to keep details of a much wider range of data including use of social network sites, webmail, voice calls over the internet, and gaming. Websites visited could be recorded, although pages within sites would not be.
Those who know what they’re doing will continue to evade such systems while the UK government “assures” the general population that they are fighting terrorism.
The difference in this case is that the Pentagon, Citibank, and everyone else were the hackees. News of the World were the hackers. You can’t lump victim and perpetrator in the same category. This attempt at spin is so incredible that I’m near speechless.
It doesn’t matter if this happened a long time ago. It happened. It was and still is against the law. Until they were caught, New of the World continued these practices. It’s only a matter of time before more of their despicable practices comes to light.
Yeah, let’s move on to other, more important things, like Casey Anthony. Apparently, she is more important than anything News Corp. has going on.
If you want to understand more about this scandal, Ross Anderson’s blog post, Phone hacking, technology and policy, is a good place to start.