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TSA Loses Laptop Containing All Data in Clear-to-Fly Program

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,


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?


Join The Conversation
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 8 years
This sounds like the blame should fall on who the laptop belonged to; the private company Verified Identity Pass, no?
estefi77 estefi77 8 years
this kind of info should never be stored on a computer's hard drive, be it a laptop or a desktop, but rather on a secured network drive. that would eliminate any risk of 'losing' a laptop. it would also ensure that no data would be lost if the computer crashed.
em113 em113 8 years
Well yeah clearly, I would agree that's a pretty bad call on the company's part. But I still have my own personal info on my mac which apparently can be accessed and I'm pretty bummed out about it.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I don't even have a laptop but this is still unsettling.
Meike Meike 8 years
Eew, that's all I have to say.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>I don't have a desktop...not everyone has multiple computers. This blows. I'm also assuming, then, that you don't store personnel files for the Royal Navy, payroll data for AT&T, salaries and addresses of Pfizer employees, patient data for a hospital, or social security numbers of D.C. city employees. These are all data stored on laptops that were lost or stolen in recent months. I keep a ton of personal stuff on my own laptop, but I certainly wouldn't risk toting around that kind of info about thousands of others.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Why didn't they at least encrypt it? This is the government, they have access to some great encryption programs. Sure, encrypted data can still be hacked, but it is so much harder, but at least it would have had SOME protection. Many government agencies also have laptop locking stations, to keep laptops safe when not in use. Why couldn't they have used one of those? (if they don't have one, they need one!) This is inexcusable - especially since this is not the first time something like this has happened.
em113 em113 8 years
I don't have a desktop...not everyone has multiple computers. This blows.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I don't get all these stories about missing laptops with personal data. Just keep the data on a frickin desktop!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Wow, I feel soooo much safer with TSA in charge! UGH!
sassy_chick sassy_chick 8 years
And we're supposed to trust these people to keep us safe?
pinky23 pinky23 8 years
wow - i'm not impressed.
a-geek a-geek 8 years
I don't believe the "we lost this laptop but later found it in the same room where we thought we lost it." Not a fan of these programs as they don't actually reduce the amount of screening despite the amount of data you give up- they just let you skip part of the line.
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