The Transportation "Security" Administration might have to rethink its name after it misplaced a laptop containing all of the unencrypted data from 33,000 people who've enrolled in the TSA Clear program for over a week. The info in question includes names and passport, driver's license, and green card numbers — you know, the important stuff.
The laptop belonged to the private company Verified Identity Pass, which runs the program that allows passengers to pay a fee and register to clear security faster in 17 different states. The computer went missing on July 26, but the TSA wasn't notified until Sunday. All of the applicants have to be notified of the security breach. Obviously. The laptop has now been mysteriously recovered, hidden in a "not obvious" location. An investigation is underway as to whether the laptop was stolen and returned, or just misplaced.
Though they might have lost track of that data, they found a whole new (and personal) place to search. To see where, read more.
Meanwhile, the TSA has been given the new power to poke around in our laptops during screening. The grab-the-computer policy has been in place for a while, but they've only just disclosed it officially under pressure from civil liberties groups. TSA can peek through cell phones, iPods, pagers, and hard drives to their hearts' content. Maybe they'll find the data they misplaced?
Have you enrolled in this program? Does the missing info say anything about TSA's ability to keep us safe?