The Centers for Disease Control now wants airlines, travel agents, and online reservations systems to collect a lot of information—e-mail address, cellphone number, traveling companions' names, your name, your address, and your emergency contacts name, address, and phone number—to help control the spread of disease during a bird flu pandemic, according to Government Health IT.
- Battling a pandemic disease such as avian flu requires the ability to quickly track sick people and anyone they have contacted.
In response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have proposed new federal regulations to electronically track more than 600 million U.S. airline passengers a year traveling on more than 7 million flights through 67 hub airports.
The new regulations, which are available on the CDC's Web site and will be posted for a 60-day comment period in the Federal Register starting Nov. 30, would require airlines, travel agents and global reservations systems to collect personal information that exceeds the quantity of information currently collected by the Transportation Security Administration or the Homeland Security Department.
I am totally torn on this one. On one hand, it could help prevent a huge outbreak. On the other, it's an absolute invasion of privacy. Is this OK in the name of health, but not for security reasons? Or vice versa? I guess, if it came down to it, I could learn to live with it, as long as the information is guarded like Fort Knox, only better.