Jet Blue: Say It Ain’t So

The news that JetBlue Airways has been sued by customers for disclosing passenger information is a terribly sad note on what had been a very upbeat business story. Two federal agencies are looking into JetBlue’s admission that it violated its own privacy rules by handing over travel records on more than a million passengers to a Pentagon contractor.

The company did this in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, helping a private firm match its passenger records against another database to determine the passengers’ Social Security numbers, occupations and family size in an effort to identify potential terrorists.

Should JetBlue get a pass, given the post-Sept. 11 environment and the threat for additional terrorist attacks? Or do you think JetBlue never should have violated its own privacy rules, no matter what?