TSA kicks off privacy education program

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National Press Release
Tuesday, March 9, 2004

WASHINGTON -The Transportation Security Administration today announced a privacy education kick-off week with a series of educational programs emphasizing the role and responsibilities all employees have in protecting individual privacy.

"In carrying out the TSA mission to secure our nation's transportation systems, we must respect and protect the privacy rights of all individuals we serve," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, Acting TSA Administrator. "This week is an opportunity for all TSA employees to sharpen their awareness of how to deliver security while preserving privacy."

The March 8-12 series will reinforce the requirements and spirit of the Privacy Act of 1974 to the 53,000 TSA employees throughout the nation and around the world. The theme of the week is "Respecting Privacy, Preserving Freedoms."

"This kick-off period will signal the beginning of an ongoing commitment to privacy awareness and education for all TSA employees," Stone said.

From the acting administrator to the newest screener, all TSA employees will complete Web-based and multimedia training on protection of personal privacy rights. Dual emphasis has been placed on assuring proper handling of information and on providing protections for those going through airport screening.

These activities are part of a five-point plan to assure that TSA is a model agency on privacy issues:

  • TSA has implemented ongoing educational and training programs for all employees;
  • TSA will appoint an external privacy advisory board;
  • TSA will disseminate a privacy statement specific to the tasks and circumstances at TSA;
  • TSA will enforce specific internal policies and controls on use of data and private information; and
  • TSA will hire a privacy officer to oversee compliance and to report on agency performance.

"This is a top priority for our agency," Stone said. "All Americans need to know that our employees will understand and follow the letter and spirit of privacy laws."