Friday, July 27, 2007

BIGBR: US, Europe to share psychological information about travelers

There is a disturbing story by Paul Lewis and Spencer S. Hsu, “Travelers Face Greater Use of Personal Data: Pact Covers Passengers Flying from Europe to U.S., on p, A1 in print, The Washington Post, Friday July 27, 2007, link here:

The story relates to the collection of personal and psychological data about passengers, such as personal or religious philosophies, even sexual orientation. It is unclear how such data would be known. Generally, airlines do not ask for personal information about passengers. Sometimes, travel information, such as the use of a king-sized bed (or the number of beds in a room) and the gender or other obvious circumstances about passengers, could imply other probably conclusions.

When I worked for Univac in 1972 and was assigned to Public Service Electric and Gas in Newark, NJ I wrote a program analyzing the log files for programmer processor use. It was named “BIGBR” and called “Big Brother” by the employees there.

Big Brother is definitely back.

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