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.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.
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.
Anders Jacobsen |