Class action lawsuit filed over data shared by Northwest Airlines

Wednesday, January 21st 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Northwest Airlines is being sued on behalf of passengers angered that the company shared passenger data with the government after the 2001 terror attacks.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, contends that the airline violated its own privacy policy as well as federal and state laws with the disclosure.

Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said Wednesday that the airline had no comment on the lawsuit.

Northwest gave passenger records covering October 2001 to December 2001 to the federal government for a study on passenger screening. Transportation Department figures show the airline carried more than 10.9 million people during that time.

Shawn Raiter, an attorney with the Larson King law firm in St. Paul, told the Star Tribune for its Wednesday editions that he will attempt to get millions of Americans certified as an affected class.

Also Tuesday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center called for a Transportation Department investigation into the disclosure. The complaint calls for possible sanctions for what it called unfair and deceptive trade practices. The privacy group's general counsel, David Sobel, said it also plans to file suit this week to force the release of more information, including whether other airlines shared such data.