NBAA Furious over FAA’s Changes to Barr

NBAA strongly denounced a decision, announced by FAA officials late Friday, to push ahead with the proposed changes to the Block Aircraft Registration Request (Barr) program. “We are outraged at the government’s move,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “As we’ve said, there can be no legitimate reason for a government agency to facilitate the monitoring of wholly private activity by anyone with an Internet connection. This incomprehensible policy reversal gives anyone in the world–terrorist, criminal, tabloid stalker, business competitor–the equivalent of an Internet homing device to track the movements of citizens and companies in real time.” Bolen also rejected the FAA’s claim that publishing an airplane tail number doesn’t reveal the identity of the travelers aboard: “With an aircraft tail number, anyone with a little initiative can quickly determine the travelers on an aircraft.” An FAA spokeswoman said the rule will take effect 60 days after it is published later this week in the Federal Register. Congress could override the FAA’s decision via the FAA Reauthorization currently in a conference committee, as the House version contains an amendment to preserve Barr. But if the change does take effect, U.S. operators wishing to have their tail numbers blocked could register their aircraft in a foreign country, such as the Cayman Islands or Aruba, since only U.S.- and Canadian-registered aircraft are displayed by online flight-tracking providers.

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