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This is from today's The Travel Insider's newsletter (which is a fun, free
e-read). As epidemiology is very much a social network phenomenon, I
"Being as how air travel is the major route through which this potential
pandemic would be spread, and being as how air travel will be terribly
affected if bird flu does become a problem (remember how the airlines
suffered collapses in passenger numbers during SARS) you'd think the
airlines would be eager to help with this as much as possible.
"If you think this, you'd be, alas, wrong. In comments about the
proposal, British Airways said the data-collection requirement amounts to
'a wholly unreasonable demand' (even though conceding it already collects
and stores most of this information through its Departure Control system.
"The Departure Control system only holds data for 24 hours, however. No
big deal, you'd think - simply buy another hard disk and archive the data
for longer. BA said that updating its systems for 60-day storage 'is not
feasible,' because to do so would force it to 'build a completely new
database' in order to comply with the guidelines.
"Virgin Atlantic joined forces with its arch-rival in contesting the
proposal, saying this would cause considerable operational problems and
additional time for passengers at checkin.
"ASTA also sided with the airlines, saying this would impose a cost on
travel agents, and described it as 'important that the travel industry not
be presented with what amounts, in practical terms, to random requirements
to collect, store and transmit personal information about travelers'."
It's interesting that the airlines didn't protest that it's an invasion of
privacy -- which has become another network analysis speciality in the
past few years.
Barry Wellman Professor of Sociology NetLab Director
wellman at chass.utoronto.ca http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
Centre for Urban & Community Studies University of Toronto
455 Spadina Avenue Toronto Canada M5S 2G8 fax:+1-416-978-7162
To network is to live; to live is to network
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