Sunday musings: Corvette’s illegal recordings, Air rage, slow electric-car sales

GM warns Chevrolet Corvette spy feature may break law GM has apparently discovered that secret recordings are illegal in many states. A notice to dealers explaining the problem was posted last week on, a website for Corvette owners. It says GM is working on a software update, due next month, that should take […]

Why privacy is important for travelers

When I talk about privacy and travel, most travelers look at me blankly. I get the “What-me-worry?” stare. But, travel records tell a lot about travelers and privacy rules and regulations are few and far between. Airlines, hotels, rental cars, tour operators, cruise lines and other facets of the travel industry all operate via giant […]

Why a consumer voice is important in travel industry dealings — transparency, comparison shopping, privacy

Today two organizations that most consumers barely know, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Open Allies for Airfare Transparency, are sitting down in Miami to discuss the future of travel distribution. In consumer-speak, they are discussing setting new technical standards that will ultimately determine how travelers will be able to purchase airline tickets, extra fees, hotels, rental cars, cruises and packaged tours.

Call for U.S. DOT to act on travel privacy

Next Monday, 16 December 2013, the ACACP will meet to consider privacy protection actions to recommend to the Secretary of Transportation. Pursuant to the law which mandated the establishment of the ACACP, the Secretary must report to Congress on what the ACACP has recommended, and what, if any, action the Secretary has taken on those recommendations. So unlike many advisory bodies, the ACACP can set its own agenda and can not be completely ignored.

TSA’s new Pre-Check program raises major privacy concerns

Privacy advocates and some consumers are uneasy about government trusted-traveler programs like this one. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved, and if you aren’t, you may never know why. And Pre-Check status is no guarantee that you can avoid a standard TSA screening, which includes a full-body scan or a so-called “enhanced” pat-down.

Airline passenger rights, a casualty of government gridlock

Today, the government shuts down. If it were one day of shutdown, two or three, it might not make much difference. But, one day of the government closing affects months of hard work and benefits no one. For travelers, it means passengers will have a harder time learning about their rights. Citizens returning from overseas and visitor arriving in the US will wait in longer lines. Future privacy protections will be put on hold possibly for months. And, airlines will be allowed more time to obscure airfares and fees.

Safely post your vacation photos while you’re away, especially of your children

Posting your vacation photos online via social media sites, or online galleries while you’re traveling can have serious unintended consequences. Ned Levi discusses the problems of privacy when posting vacation photos online, the consequences which can result from the postings, and what you can do to prevent those consequences.