(Updates with security authority comments in seventh paragraph.)
Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian air-transport security authorities are collecting too much information about some travelers and not handling it properly, the country’s privacy watchdog said.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority went “beyond its mandate” in collecting passenger information unrelated to security, the office of privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said in an e-mailed statement. Stoddart’s findings were based on an audit her office conducted of the agency’s privacy policies and practices.
CATSA officials gathered data and contacted police about passengers carrying large sums of cash on domestic flights, even though it’s not illegal to carry such sums, she said the audit found.
As well, incident reports and personal information gathered by CATSA weren’t always properly safeguarded.
“Documents containing sensitive personal information were left on open shelves and in plain view in a room where passengers may be taken for security checks,” Stoddart said in the statement.
CATSA has implemented most of the privacy commissioner’s recommendations and is putting in the place the rest, said Mathieu Larocque, a spokesman for the agency.
“Our procedures evolve constantly, because of new threats, new technologies and new regulations,” Larocque said by phone. “We’re always looking for feedback to improve policies to make sure that they ensure the security of the traveling public but also that they respect their privacy.”
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