19 October 2006
The Guild of Travel Management Companies is warning corporate clients that they may be handing over more personal data about employees than is necessary to third-party suppliers of travel-related software.
The GTMC is most concerned about the mainly American providers of traveller-tracking software which help identify where travellers are in an emergency and push out security alerts according to the destinations they are visiting. Guild members are regularly requested by clients to pass on complete passenger name records (booking details) to the software companies as part of the clients' contracts with the software providers.
According to Michael Hare, managing director of Fleet Street Travel and chairman of the GTMC technology working party, the only flight booking details really needed are departure and arrival points, flight number, time and date. However, additional information such as home addresses and the cost of the flight are routinely being handed over as well. "At Fleet Street Travel, we find out why the client wants the information for a third party and then we mask out the details that are not needed," he said.
Paul Tilstone, executive director of the Institute of Travel Management, believes that data protection standards may have slipped in the rush to subscribe to tracking software. He urged companies to tighten up their contracts with the providers. "Some corporations are not totally aware of the data being provided to third parties or have not investigated whether it is being used for other purposes," he said.