Category Archives: Legal Affairs

Yes, You Are Increasingly Exposed In Our Connected World

By Debby McElroy
It is incredibly ironic that you are reading a blog from me about cyber security and social media.  I don’t have a smart phone, consider email cutting edge and am one of the few people that doesn’t have (and doesn’t want) a FaceBook page.  But please don’t stop reading, even though this post is written by someone you might consider a 21st century Luddite.

During the “Are You Exposed” session this afternoon, Dom Nessi, Deputy Executive Director/Chief Information Officer of Los Angeles World Airports, provided compelling – and often frightening- information about how vulnerable today’s IT systems can be.  Airports are vulnerable to attacks to our network or wireless network, baggage systems and websites. Nessi noted the particular risk posed by the widespread use of USB sticks, where 10 percent are infected with a virus. I actually felt a bit vindicated when he also emphasized that smartphones aren’t so smart when it comes to malware, with the rapid roll out of new technology being too quick for current security standards, resulting in more and more breaches.

Nessi also covered an entirely new challenge for airports as they receive service from “eEnabled aircraft”, such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus 380. Emphasizing that “this is going to be a major new frontier”, he talked about the impact that an airport network being hacked could have on such sophisticated aircraft. I found it fascinating and a bit comforting that airlines operating the A380 keep a “sealed CD” so they can reload the necessary software inflight in the event of a catastrophic failure.

Michael Kalt, an attorney with San Diego based Wilson Turner Kosmo, addressed the exposure businesses face with the ever changing and expanding world of social media. When the question was posed “Can you disciple an employee because of comments made using social media?”, the answer was a definitive maybe. That is because so much depends on the individual circumstances, what is in your company policy and the applicable state as well as evolving federal law. The best defense is to stay informed and ensure your policy is up to date and reasonable. You can’t just say no, given the important role social media plays in most people’s lives.  (But not mine…)

The session was very educational in providing valuable information about cutting edge challenges airports face. Also, I learned a new term so I can better communicate with both the cool tech kids and the informed HR directors – “dooced”.   Never heard it?  Well, the Urban Dictionary defines “dooced” as to lose one’s job because of one’s website.  I can’t wait to use it the next time I play Scrabble- which I still play the old fashioned way; not on a computer!

SMS is it Risky Business?

Posted on Centerlines Blog on Oct. 17 by Chris Oswald
Speaking today on ACI-NA’s Are You Exposed session, David Bannard with Foley & Lardner discussed a number of the challenges facing U.S. airports as they begin implementing airport safety management systems and concrete steps that airports can take to address them.  These steps include identifying and budgeting for the resources required to implement SMS, strengthen relationships with FAA staff and other key safety stakeholders, incorporating safety risk analyses into planning and design at early stages, and consulting with counsel regarding ways to protect the data from inappropriate disclosure.

Bannard also highlighted the urgent need for legislative remedies that will enable airports to limit the disclosure of the data and protect those involved from excessive liability exposure.  ACI-NA has been actively pursuing such legislation in Washington.

Lawyers Get a Briefing on Airport Security Issues

By Monica Hargrove
Airport Security—at the checkpoint as well as at the border—Are there cameras at your security checkpoint? What concerns do they raise? Are there cameras at other places at your airport? What are the privacy concerns? What are the notice requirements? What issues do airport lawyers need to be prepared to address?

Our panelists:

  • Francine Kerner, Chief Counsel, Transportation Security Administration, a frequent guest speaker at ACI-NA’s Legal Committee meetings;
  • Joanne M. Halley Office of Associate Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Los Angeles Office;
  • Professor Chris Guzelian, who teaches Constitutional Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.

The title of the session is fairly comprehensive in explaining what the panelists will be discussing. In addition to a discussion of these issues from a TSA security checkpoint perspective, we will also have the opportunity to compare and contrast how Customs and Border Protection operations addresses these issues. We will also have an academic perspective on Constitutional rights of privacy concerning airport security.

Airports Urge DOT to Deny Slot Swap Request and Uphold Airport Proprietary Rights

By Morgan Dye

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) has submitted comments in response to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice on its grant of the joint petition of Delta Air Lines’ and US Airways’ slot swap at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

ACI-NA’s comments stressed that the DOT should not grant the waiver petition set forth in its Notice as it fails to recognize the primary role of local airport proprietors in managing congestion at their airports and seeks unlawfully to impose restrictions on the proprietary rights of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to control how their facilities at LGA and DCA are used.

“ACI-NA has advocated that slots should be treated as community assets that are used to benefit the airport/community of their location, and not the airlines,” said Principato. “As such, the interests of the operating airport proprietor should be considered in evaluating the treatment of a petition by air carriers for the exchange of slots.”

Principato also noted that airport proprietors have been given adequate market alternatives to resolve capacity constraints under the DOT’s Amended Rates and Charges Policy.

“It is especially important that such market alternatives not be distorted by a system that allows those most responsible for creating congestion problems to achieve even greater economic benefits by being given property rights in new slots that are created at the very airports which their flights caused to become congested,” emphasized Principato.

“The airport proprietors are in the best position to manage the use of the facilities they planned, designed, funded, built and currently operate,” he concluded.

View ACI-NA’s full comments.

Impact of FAA Shutdown: Tucson International Airport

By Bonnie Allin

We are grateful our nation’s leadership did the right thing and passed the 21st short term FAA extension that returned thousands of people to work.  It is unfortunate that the aviation system suffered a two-week shutdown of FAA and approximately $400 million in lost revenue before it was accomplished.  It is also unfortunate that thousands of FAA personnel and many contractor employees and others associated with delayed projects had their livelihood so adversely impacted.

Tucson Airport

It is absolutely imperative that Congress resolve their differences and pass a long term bill to fund FAA which will keep critical aviation infrastructure projects going and workers employed when they come back from their recess.  The system cannot afford another shutdown.

The impact to Tucson is that Tucson International Airport is awaiting a final grant to begin a $10 million reconstruction project involving its crosswind runway and associated taxiways.  This project has a critical path schedule due to weather and operational constraints.  Further delays in receiving the remaining grant would result in missing the construction window and delaying the project start until next year.  In addition, this project is expected to employ approximately 50 high-paid construction personnel.  At Tucson’s reliever airport, Ryan Airfield, the shutdown has delayed the purchase and installation of emergency standby generators, which will protect the tower, airfield, and landside from disruption of power.  Several planning projects in various stages were shut down due to FAA personnel furloughs.  Additionally, the environmental work that had just begun on a replacement for TUS’ aging Air Traffic Control Tower was suspended.

As we await the summer recess for negotiations to begin again, we ask that Congress consider the losses that have already occurred and come together on a new FAA reauthorization measure that removes the constant uncertainty for long-term operations.