A group of passengers has sued JetBlue Airways Corp. for passing their personal information to a Defense Department contractor.

The suit, filed Monday, follows JetBlue’s acknowledgment last week that, in violation of its own privacy policy, it had given information from about 5 million passenger records to Torch Concepts of Huntsville, Ala.

Torch produced a study, “Homeland Security: Airline Passenger Risk Assessment,” that was purported to help the government improve military base security.

The class-action lawsuit, filed in Utah’s 3rd District Court, alleges fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract and invasion of privacy.

Also on Monday, a privacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing JetBlue of engaging in “deceptive trade practices.”

The complaint, filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, also includes Acxiom Corp., a Little Rock, Ark.-based data-mining company that provided additional demographic information that was used in the Torch analysis.

The FTC is reviewing the complaint “carefully,” agency spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farell said Tuesday.

JetBlue chief executive David Neeleman said Monday the information the airline provided contained “name, address and phone number, along with flight information, but absolutely no payment or credit card information.”

Utah attorney James W. McConkie filed the lawsuit on behalf of five named plaintiffs and a representative class, seeking compensatory — but not punitive — damages.

“We got the sense that Mr. Neeleman wanted to make this right, so we commented in our lawsuit that we wanted to pursue the matter, but not in a way that would damage the financial viability of the company. It’s a good company,” McConkie said.

JetBlue spokesman Gareth Edmondson-Jones said that he had not seen the lawsuit and was unable to comment.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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