Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Travel security scam? Airport security as a way to create a boondoggle?

It's important to remember that public statements of purpose aren't always the real reason that something happens. For example the public statement of why the U.S. defied International law to invade Iraq was the threat posed by the supposed Weapons of Mass Descruction still owned by Iraq. It's clear in hindsight that even the U.S. administration knew they were lying up a storm (so why haven't they been impeached yet?) and that something else was the reason. (Probably Iraq's oil)

In any case, today there's an announcement of a program allowing people, who pay a fee, to bypass airport security.

A $79.95 opportunity to breeze through security (Published: September 13, 2005, 10:22 AM PDT, By Joe Sharkey, The New York Times, published by C|NET News)

The deal is this new company is offering, for $79.95, to provide a high quality and hopefully unforgeable identity card that embeds all sorts of personal data. Thumbprints, iris scans, etc.

The stick is the pain airport travellers have to "endure" in going through airport security checks. If you've traveled by air you know the stupid rigamarole ... take off your shoes (because one idiot supposed terrorist made a halfway decent attempt using shoe based bombs) ... take off your belt, jewelry, cell phone, other metal object (but, I can't take the rods out of my legs, and tend to end up being checked anyway) ... take your laptop out of its case (as if that's a real problem?) ... and wait through a line.

That carrot is the being able to bypass that pain. But, by offering a way past the pain for some that's probably gonna delay the time when the system has to be fixed. But the system itself needs to be fixed.

Isn't it stupid to have to take off your shoes? This stems from the attempt by "the shoe bomber" to blow up an airplane by lighting his shoes on fire. One person, one time, makes a half assed attempt that failed, and now we all have to take our shoes off? I say this is stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.

But let's stay with the topic here. What's really happening is that because of the stick held by the TSA, those who agree to the carrot are having to turn over personal biometric data. Hence, the TSA is pushing us all along a path towards a day when we are all tracked everywhere we go. Today it's airport travellers, tomorrow who knows what?

The other day when I renewed my drivers license, they took a biometric scan of my thumbprint. Why? What are they gonna use it for?

I do agree that an identity card that isn't secure and doesn't do a good job of identification is practically worthless. e.g. how easy is it to get a forged drivers license?

For this airport card they're requiring a social security number and two forms of government ID. Uh, wait, the social security number is not supposed to be used for identification. In any case, how easy is it to obtain falsified social security numbers or government ID cards?

And, is total tracking of our every move what we want???