GA Groups Challenge BARR Change

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The Transportation Department's recent decision to dismantle the BARR (Block Aircraft Registration Request) program, which allows aircraft operators to block identifying data from public flight-tracking systems, now faces a legal challenge from general aviation advocacy groups. NBAA, AOPA, and EAA said on Monday they will seek an injunction to prevent the DOT decision from taking effect and will ask the courts to invalidate the new policy altogether. "The DOT ... appears to have simply ignored the thousands of individuals and companies that voiced their strong and principled opposition to this change," said NBAA President Ed Bolen.

Bolen said the BARR decision is "an alarming development" with implications that extend well beyond aviation. "This is the first time an agency has claimed the public's interest in 'open government' requires public dissemination to anyone with an Internet connection of wholly personal and private information simply because it happens to be in the government's possession." Bolen said BARR retains widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate. "Unfortunately, the Administration's sudden, unilateral decision to curtail the program forces us to look to the courts for help in preserving the privacy, competitiveness and security of Americans and American companies while Congress reviews the program," Bolen said.