U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recently announced the Department of Transportation (DOT) would undertake a privacy review of the nation’s ten largest airlines. Specifically, they will look at their policies and procedures as they relate to the collection, handling, maintenance and use of passengers’ personal information.

“Airline passengers should have confidence that their personal information is not being shared improperly with third parties or mishandled by employees,” he said, according to a news release.

Some key points

  • DOT, in partnership with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), will also probe whether airlines are unfairly or deceptively monetizing or sharing that data with third parties.
  • DOT has stated that mishandling consumers’ private information may be considered an unfair or deceptive practice by airlines
  • The privacy review is the first of what will be periodic reviews of airline privacy practices by the DOT.
  • As part of the privacy review, DOT sent a letter to the airlines requesting information regarding their policies and procedures on data privacy,
    any complaints filed and their privacy training.
  • DOT has the authority to investigate complaints and take enforcement action against airlines and ticket agents that engage in unfair or deceptive practices involving passenger information. The DOT can also impose civil penalties where appropriate.
  • DOT enforces airlines’ compliance with COPPA