Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to board a plane without ID -- be a pageant queen

New York airports are now making security exceptions for graceful girls with big smiles. A tipster who saw the first episode (airing tonight) of MTV’s new reality show, “Pageant Place,” told us that when Miss Universe Riyo Mori forgot her ID while trying to board a flight from JFK to Bloomington, Ind., she convinced a TSA agent to let her through - by flashing her sash. “First she showed her head shot, but it didn’t work . . . so then she just pulls out her sash and the agent sent her through to security,” gasped the snitch. more...

Does your face need to match your ID?

Angry veteran reports that the TSA doesn't care about matching your face with your ID:
Finally after all of this I went to the supervisor and attempted to ask him why no one looked at my face when they checked my ID. He told me they are looking for fake ID's more than anything else. I then asked him why it would matter if it was "fake" or not, if you don't look at the face on the ID. So as long as you have a real ID regardless if it is yours, you are all set to fly, as far as the TSA is concerned. To this he responded "I will talk to the ID checker". This useless ass though that there wasn't a problem with their security. more...

Friday, October 19, 2007

No ID necessary says TSA, IDs to be checked with blacklight

According to TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley:

Do you need a photo ID to fly?
No, but you'll undergo "secondary screening," the more involved screening that some passengers find time-consuming and/or invasive. If many passengers arrive without IDs, that would add to wait times, officials said.

Also, the Transportation Security Administration, which has taken over document-ticket screening at U.S. airports, is rolling out small black lights and loupes (magnifying lenses) to 1,300 specially trained screeners who check suspicious IDs in the ticket lines.

Secure Flight update


US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly | The Register: Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) , all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline's national origin.
The new rules mean this information must be submitted 72 hours before departure. Only those given clearance will get a boarding pass. The TSA estimates that 90 to 93 per cent of all travel reservations are final by then.

The proposed rules require the following information for each passenger: full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number (assigned to passengers who use the Travel Redress Inquiry Program because they have been mistakenly placed on the no-fly list), and known traveller number (once there is a programme in place for registering known travellers whose backgrounds have been checked). Non-travellers entering secure areas, such as parents escorting children, will also need clearance.

The TSA held a public hearing in Washington DC on 20 September, which heard comments from both privacy advocates and airline industry representatives from Qantas, the Regional Airline Association, IATA, and the American Society of Travel Agents. The privacy advocates came from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Identity Project. All were negative.

The proposals should be withdrawn entirely, argued Edward Hasbrouck, author of The Practical Nomad and the leading expert on travel data privacy. "Obscured by the euphemistic language of 'screening' is the fact that travellers would be required to get permission before they can travel."

Hasbrouck submitted that requiring clearance in order to travel violates the US First Amendment right of assembly, the central claim in John Gilmore's case against the US government over the requirement to show photo ID for domestic travel.

In addition, the TSA is required to study the impact of the proposals on small economic entities (such as sole traders). Finally, the TSA provides no way for individuals to tell whether their government-issued ID is actually required by law, opening the way for rampant identity theft. ...

Airline ID rejected at Reagan National

As with anything posted here, this could have been due to the whims of an individual TSA agent at Reagan National:

TSA agent checking boarding passes would not accept her airline ID as identification. Her
FAA-approved, state-issued ID that allows her to walk through security gates at her own airport without even taking her shoes off. It had to be a driver’s license, she was told, and only a driver’s license. source

Monday, October 15, 2007

TSA takes on primary ID checks at airports

Here are more details about my observation that TSA is now doing the primary ID checks at airports:
September 26 was the first day that TSA took over the ID checking.
News reports suggested that the process can now take almost an hour since Transportation Security Administration agents took over the job of checking travel documents on Wednesday. Prior to the change, airlines checked passengers' identification. The TSA says it will do a more thorough job, causing longer delays at checkpoints. Passengers must still show their identification and tickets to security personnel, but the personnel are now government workers.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this means that TSA is probably now enforcing the policies of the airlines (unless they are letting people fly without ID who haven't been approved by the airline). I worry that this may be unconstitutional.
Source 1. Source 2.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, August 2007, Successful after changing airlines

Airline: Multiple
Airport: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (STT),
ID Offered: None
Date: August, 2007
Reference: Andy
Reason given: Fly as a selectee/without ID
Result: Successful, after changing airlines and giving fingerprints
On my return trip I experienced I bit of a delay due to the ignorance of some of the personnel at the air line check-in counters. I tried some friendly arguing with them as best I knew how, mostly in the form of simple questions, but in the end I found that such an approach was not very fruitful as I am not likely to be able to teach anyone anything they didn't already know and because I also found that both TSA and the US Customs personnel claimed, as I understood them, that they were not allowed to provide any info or orders to any of the airline personnel. By my dialogue with various parties, including also the local airport police officers, I was able, eventually, to gather that the most likely solution to such ignorance is to simply go to another airline ticket counter and buy another ticket from them. I did so both in St Thomas (STT) and in West Palm Beach (PBI) and both times I was able to promptly get the required boarding passes without any further trouble.

Additionally, before I learned to go to the next air line ticket counter for alternate travel, I learned that I could go through the US Customs at St Thomas prior to getting my boarding pass, thereby breaking the false presumptions of the airline personnel that the US Customs would not allow me to pass. By so doing I was routed to the Customs supervisory officer who courteously handled the situation by fingerprinting me, and by so doing recognizing me, by my God given identifiers – not by a Government ID - as having the rights of traveling within the 50 states of the union.

LAX to Virgin Islands, Successful, August 2007

Airline: ??
Airport: LAX
ID Offered: None
Date: August, 2007
Reference: Andy
Reason given: Fly as a selectee/without ID
Result: Successful
During the latter half of August this year (2007) I traveled from Los Angeles (LAX) to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (STT) and back without using any government issued IDs, passports, or indeed any identification documents issued by man.

When asked for my IDs I simply answered: "I am traveling without IDs today." I was then promptly and without further comments issued a special boardingpass with an "SSSS" code which was highlighted in yellow and/or circled, after which I was able to proceed onto my plane without further trouble. However, I was urged to make certain that I got the TSA stamp upon the boarding passes while going through the TSA security check. Said stamp was obtained without any further initiative from my side. Because of my traveling without IDs I did get an extra careful security check including also my bags. (There were no further security checks when transferring between planes of the same airline at other airports.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

TSA now recording names of people who fly without ID

At Midway airport this past weekend, when I chose to fly without ID, the TSA agent took my boarding pass and wrote down the majority of information from the boarding pass (Name, flight into, destination, confirmation number) onto a form. I asked her what the form was, and if I could have a copy, and she basically indicated to me that it was not my business. (Note that no forms were filled out on my return trip through Philly.)

This brings up a number of rather important questions:
1. Is there a statute or rule that allows the TSA to routinely record traveler information, with or without an ID?
2. How long does the TSA store this information for, and what is it used for? Do travelers have a right to check the accuracy of the information, or to have it expunged?
3. Is this really a secret form that citizens are not allowed to have a copy of? If a traveler requests that information not be recorded will that traveler be denied passage?

TSA now checking IDs at airports - government enforcing corporate policy

For all previous airline travel since ID checking began, IDs were checked by representatives of the airline or airport. It was these ID checkers responsibility to check for a valid government issued ID, unless the traveler had been approved by the airline for an additional security screening, in which case they either ensured that the boarding pass was appropriately marked for TSA or directed the traveler to TSA's attention. Since no ID is required by the TSA, it was these representatives who both enforced the airline's ID requirement (usually assumed to be a source of revenue control) and did the screening for ID for TSA.

Now that TSA has taken control of this process, it would appear that TSA is enforcing the airline's revenue control measures. Since TSA doesn't require an ID to fly, if a traveler cannot get the airline to let them fly without ID (e.g. Continental will not mark "SSSS"), will TSA enforce this corporate rule? At this point, it would then be easy for the TSA to suggest to each airline that they require ID, at which point they could deny the right to fly without ID despite their own rule. Is the TSA enforcing corporate policies? Corporate policies limiting free travel that are enforced by federal officers seems one step away from facism.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Southwest, Philadelphia, Successful, 9/31/07

Airline: Southwest
Airport: Philadelphia
ID Offered: None
Date: 9/31/07
Reference: Personal
Reason given: Fly as a selectee/without ID
Result: Successful
Description: As at Midway, Southwest handled my request to fly without ID as a selectee quickly and without a single word. However, this time, instead of stamping and writing on my boarding pass, the agent printed a new boarding pass with "SSSS" printed on it. I noticed upon getting up to security that TSA is now checking all IDs (on my return to Midway, I noticed the same there. See my post about this). I pointed the "SSSS" out to the TSA lady, and she wrote "No ID" a bit bigger on the pass and sent me down the same line as everyone else (this is different than at Midway; also she didn't write anything down). I put my things into the XRay scanner, and the TSA dude looked at my boarding pass and sent me just to the side, where I was quickly patted down (no puffer here); they transferred my bag and about 30 seconds later the explosives test was done and I was sent on my way via a very nice TSA agent. Took maybe one minute more than my traveling companion.

Southwest, Midway, 9/28/07, Successful

Airline: Southwest
Airport: Chicago Midway
ID Offered: none
Date: September 28, 2007
Reference: personal
Reason given: Asked to fly without ID/as a selectee
Result: Successful
Description: Upon asking to fly without ID as a selectee, the southwest agent immediately typed some information, took out a stamp and stamped something on my boarding pass (which I had printed at home), then took out a pen and wrote "no ID" and some numbers over the stamp. I said "thank you" and went on my way. It was over in less than 30 seconds, and was no hassle at all.
I got in the line and showed it to the ID checker. That person directed me to a TSA woman, who then wrote a bunch of information from the boarding pass onto a form, including, I think, my name and confirmation number, and flight information. She then escorted me to a separate screening area where I waited for them to fix the puffer machine. After several minutes, I went through the puffer machine. A few minutes later, they finished explosive testing my single bag, and I was on my way. I was a few minutes behind my travel companion.