Homeland Security seeks vendor to test no-fly system

The Homeland Security Department's Transportation Security Administration today will release a complete request for proposals from vendors interested in testing its Secure Flight system.

A procurement notice [http://216.33.118.202/EPSData/DHS-BT/Synopses/35287/Reference-Number-HSTS04-04-R-SECFLIGHT/SecureFlightNotice10.6-v2.doc] issued earlier this week provided a broad outline of what will be required of the company chosen to test the department's system for pinpointing risky flyers. Testing will include validating the effectiveness of Secure Flight's methods of identifying terrorists.

TSA developed Secure Flight to replace its Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, which is operated by airline employees. Secure Flight is meant to identify terrorists, reduce false positive results and eliminate false negative results as it checks passenger names against federal no-fly and selectee lists.

TSA wants vendors to submit their proposals by Oct. 18. According to the notice, the agency will award a contract by Oct. 29.

DHS scuttled its earlier project to develop next-generation no-fly-list technology, known as CAPPS II, earlier this year after an outcry over the privacy implications of the developmental system's data-mining technology (see GCN story here [http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/homeland-security/27077-1.html]).

While CAPPS II would have used data mining to identify risky passengers, Secure Flight relies on checking passenger records against databases of known terrorists.

TSA officials announced in August that if the tests succeed, the agency would begin to deploy Secure Flight next year.

TSA has classified the procurement's statement of work as sensitive security information and restricted work on the project to U.S. citizens.

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