Are Airlines Selling Your Personal Information to Third-Parties?
As if traveling isn't stressful enough, with the TSA clown show, delayed flights, rate increases, crowded airplanes, and more. Now comes the revelation that many airlines might be potentially making you a target for ID theft.
The leading airline travel consumer rights group, Flyers Rights, says many airlines are likely selling the information they have on you to third-party vendors. It's all part of the airlines efforts to raise more and more cash.
A recent article shared by Flyers Rights comes from the Center for Democracy and Technology. Writer Alethea Lange wrote last fall the airlines might already be selling your information:
"Airlines might be making money by selling personal information to third-party marketers. The process of flying requires individuals to give up a lot of contact information as well as inadvertently reveal other potentially useful metrics like their gender and preferences for travel destinations. This kind of information is valuable to marketers looking to tap a potentially lucrative market with tailored offers based on your travel patterns."
The airlines and some travel groups defend their practices as part of what they call "personalization" of travel. They say they use the data to create opportunities and give their customers the preferences they want when traveling. But privacy advocates say the airlines can already tell you "who the top five customers are in the cabin" on each flight; that's a scary thought that they know that much about you.
This has led to renewed efforts by legislators to enact privacy and limitation laws that would protect travelers from such practices, especially if they DON'T want such preferences - they just want to travel and get from Point A to Point B.
Airlines already grab a lot of information from travelers, it's gathered from the numerous points of "touch", as it's called, from check in to security, from ticket purchases to baggage claim. Travelers have to submit a significant amount of data. Flyers Rights says that's a scary proposition:
" The issue is, passengers have no way of knowing what data is captured, how long it is retained, how it is used, and who it's shared with, because it is concealed behind so much secrecy, including non-disclosure rules."
Flyers Rights is attempting to pressure legislators to end many of the non-disclosure rules and force the airlines to reveal what type of data they get, and prove they are not selling it for profit.