How would you feel if you found out that an airline was using the Internet to track down photographs and personal information about you before you even boarded the flight?

Surprise — it’s happening.

Over the course of the last year, British Airways has implemented such practices, equipping airline employees with iPad devices used to search private records that include passenger food preferences and previous travel plans, as well as Google images to help airline staff get up close and personal with a traveler before they ever step foot on the plane.

While the London-based airline says its “Know Me” program is simply designed to provide a more personalized service to its VIP passengers, privacy advocates are not at all impressed with the airlines attempt to stick its nose where it doesn’t belong.

“Since when has buying a flight ticket meant giving your airline permission to start hunting for information about you on the Internet?” asked Nick Pickles, director of the London-based privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch.

However, British Airlines suggests that there is no reason to be concerned with their VIP program, and that they are only attempting to reproduce the ambience one experiences when they are recognized and welcomed into their favorite restaurant.

There is no word yet if this type of “Know Me” program is coming to the United States.

[Los Angeles Times]

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