Lawmakers from both houses of Congress have joined the battle over the Department of Transportation’s decision to dismantle the Block Aircraft Registration Request (Barr) program, with 26 senators and 33 representatives telling DOT Secretary Ray LaHood in separate letters that it is “a troubling reversal of a decade-old policy” established to uphold the privacy rights of Americans.
The senators noted that in light of advances of for-profit flight tracking services, Congress included a provision in the 2000 FAA reauthorization bill enabling the Barr program. For reasons of individual security, privacy and business competitiveness, the program provides owners of general aviation aircraft the ability to prevent public dissemination of their aircraft movements.
In a June 29 letter, the senators took issue with the DOT’s claim that it needs to severely curtail Barr to promote greater transparency in government. “While all Americans support an open and transparent government process,” the lawmakers told LaHood, “the Barr program is about the preservation of personal citizens’ right to privacy and has nothing to do with shedding light on our federal government.”
Sunday, July 31, 2011