October 07, 2002
Registering air travellers?

Internet veteran and privacy campaigner Lauren Weinstein has written an article for Wired News titled "Register Air Travelers? P-shaw!" adressing the dangers of a new, proposed system in the US. Apparently they want to issue ID cards tied in with biometric authentification to let certain frequent travellers skip a lot of the current security scrutiny of passengers. I completely share his fears and comments as to the dangers of this approach:

All the fancy computerized biometric systems in the world won't tell you if the person holding the card is a would-be terrorist who successfully qualified for registered status. They could be all-American, too. Oklahoma City bomber and decorated Vietnam vet Timothy McVeigh might well have qualified for a registered traveler card.

Even one screwup in handing out these IDs -- if it permits a terrorist to pass through airport security with a lesser degree of scrutiny -- could be catastrophic.

John Magaw, until recently Transportation Security Agency head, opposed a trusted/known/registered traveler program precisely due to its potential for manipulation by terrorists. That opinion, unpopular with the airlines and many in government, probably contributed to his reportedly forced resignation from that post.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has started issuing ID cards called Privium that lets the holders skip lines for passport control (authenticating themselves with iris scans) and so on, but all travellers are still subject to the same security measures (metal detectors; baggage scanners etc); a much saner approach in my opinion.

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I never go for the charitable adage of 'If it helps just one person, then it was worth it'. However, I totally agree in the opposite where if one person gets through, then it was not worth it.

Thanks for pointing out the working one. However, seems like there is already a bandwagon for a non-working solution!

Posted by: davidj on October 7, 2002 03:48 PM

Something that grossly overlooked in the source/transit indirtiction is the fact that Cocaine piggy backs it's way into the US visa vie fresh Flower flights conducted daily from columbia

Posted by: bb on December 31, 2002 11:43 PM
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