Technology

Sabre slams “highly speculative” media report alleging company is helping FBI spy on travellers

Sabre has rubbished a recent news story claiming the company is working with the US government to spy on travellers, and could potentially use its data to track COVID-19.

According to an article published by Forbes earlier this month, Sabre has been called upon by the US government to provide travellers’ data and even track a suspect in real time on at least one occasion.

“Sabre can be compelled to proactively watch and report on a persons’ whereabouts as soon as they start travelling,” the article reads.

“In an order from December 2019, feds asked Sabre to provide the FBI with ‘real-time’ updates on the travel activities of a hacking suspect, an Indian fugitive called Deepanshu Kher.

“Sabre was told to provide ‘complete and contemporaneous real-time account activity information of the traveller [Kher] on a weekly basis’ for six months. Sabre would provide ‘any travel orders, transactions or reservations’ for the suspect.”

Forbes claims the order is one of at least four where Sabre agreed to provide such traveller information.

The news outlet also speculated that the travel tech company could also end up using its vast amount of data to help track and eradicate the coronavirus.

“The same data tap that’s been turned on by the FBI could prove a boon for the US government in surveilling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a constant and accurate record of the movements of global populations,” the article states.

In a statement issued yesterday, Sabre said it has received a number of inquiries related to the “highly speculative” story and wanted to “clear up misconceptions” reflected in Forbes’ article.

“First, Sabre has not been asked to participate in any projects related to COVID-19 tracking or tracking of populations as suggested in the article,” the company said.

“Second, Sabre, as with all companies, responds to lawful process according to applicable law. Sabre closely examines any requests and only complies with court orders, subpoenas or other requests that are legally valid.

“The article may leave the perception that Sabre receives a large number of such requests. This is wholly inaccurate.”


Featured image source: iStock/kontekbrothers

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