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“Following the money” in travel surveillance / Oct 7, 2016

The growth of a homeland-security industrial complex funded by single-source contracts and shielded by knee-jerk invocation of “security” as an excuse for secrecy has created huge opportunities for cronyism and collusion between lobbyists, contractors, and government officials.

The poster child for this revolving door and its invidious effects on government policies and spending is former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and his work as a lobbyist for Rapiscan, the supplier of the TSA’s virtual strip-search machines.

Unsurprisingly, the US isn’t alone in allowing the commercial interests of spy-tech companies to drive government decisions to spy on travelers.

In the latest issue of the EDRi-gram newsletter, our friends  at the European Digital Rights Initiative explore “The curious tale of the French prime minister, PNR and peculiar patterns.”  It seems that the French military technology contractor Safran, whose “Morpho” division is one of the leading vendors of turnkey PNR-based traveler surveillance and profiling systems, is one of the largest employers in the home town ofFrench Prime Minister Manuel Valls.


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