Monday, July 21, 2008

Problems with new TSA id procedures


In a series of posts in their blog, the TSA has expanded on its
claimed authority for the changes to "ID verificationprocedures"
announced in a press release last month.

Lawmaking by press release exemplifies the evils of "secret law" which
the Supreme Court declined to consider in Gilmore v. Gonzalez. The TSA
now says that, "Our position is that Gilmore v. Gonzalez affirmed our
ability to require ID for transportation via air and the law that
formed TSA, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA)
empowers the TSA to make these decisions."

In fact:

1. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Gilmore v. Gonzalez reached
its decision without addressing whether it would have been permissible
for the airline or the TSA (or anyone else) to require Mr. Gilmore to
show evidence of his identity, or to prevent him from travelling if he
failed to do so. The court found that, as of that time and in that
particular case, Mr. Gilmore could have flown without showing ID.
2. The section of the statute cited by the TSA in its press release
and blog grants the TSA authority to issue certain regulations. But
such regulations must be issued in a particular way, published in the
Federal Register for comment, etc. Whatever they have done in secret,
the TSA has not, in fact, issued any actual "regulations" requiring
would-be passengers to display evidence of their identity, or to
answer questions related to their identity.
3. If the TSA were to promulgate such regulations, they would
exceed the authority granted by the statute cited by the TSA, which
defines TSA authority to limit access to "sterile" areas in airports
as limited to screening for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries —
not absent or unsatisfactory evidence of identity.
4. Finally, any statute purporting to grant the TSA such authority
— were one to be enacted, which it hasn't been — would have to pass
muster under both Constitutional and international human rights treaty

So the question isn't what authority the TSA has to issue regulations
for screening, but what authority they have to compel answers to
questions, to compel production of documentary evidence, or to prevent
or delay people from travelling, in the absence of regulations or
statutory authority for such actions.

But that's not all. The TSA's new "procedures" may violate several other laws:

1. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, an agency may not
conduct, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of
information unless the collection of information displays a valid
control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget
following publication of the proposal for the information collection
in the Federal Register, and an opportunity for public comment. We
haven't seen any OMB control number on any TSA signs requesting the
collection of either ticket or identity document information, and we
can find no record of any Federal Register notice of a TSA proposal to
collect either sort of information from travellers. If the TSA asks
you to complete any sort of ticket or identity verification form, look
for the OMB control number. If there is one, let us know what it is.
(We'd love to see a copy of the actual form as well.) If there's no
OMB control number, politely remind the TSA that they aren't allowed
to collect this information, and you aren't required to provide it.
2. Under the Privacy Act, it is a crime for a Federal employee to
operate a system of records without providing notice — both in a
System of Records Notice in the Federal Register, and when requesting
information from individuals — of the authority for the system and the
ways the information will be used. We haven't seen any Privacy Act
notices being provided to travellers when they are asked to show their
tickets and identity documents, and we can't find any record of a SORN
in the Federal Register for any system of records of tickets or
passenger ID for domestic flights within the US. If this information
is to be recorded, ask to see a Privacy Act notice for what system it
will be stored in and how it will be used. (if you can get one, please
send us a copy of this notice.) And remind the TSA politely that
anyone who is storing it without such a published notice is committing
a Federal crime.
3. The TSA has admitted in their blog that they are using "public
source" information about would-be travellers to determine whether to
allow them to fly. But under Section 513 of the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2007 (P.L. 110-161, H.R. 2764), "(d) … (a), no
information gathered from passengers, foreign or domestic air
carriers, or reservation systems may be used to screen aviation
passengers, or delay or deny boarding to such passengers, except in
instances where passenger names are matched to a Government watch
list." It's unclear if the new TSA identity verification procedures
are limited to passengers whose names match those on watch lists, but
it seems unlikely. So if you are stopped or delayed by the TSA, on the
basis of the information you have provided (including on the basis of
that infomation being nonexistent because you decline to provide it,
as any attorney would probably advise you to decline to do), remind
the TSA that they are forbidden by law from taking any such action
without an actual match of your name with a watch list.
4. Perhaps most importantly, Section 513 of the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2007 (P.L. 110-161, H.R. 2764), also provides
that, "(f) None of the funds provided in this or any other Act may be
used for data or a database that is obtained from or remains under the
control of a non-Federal entity". It's unclear what exactly the TSA
means by "public source" identity verification data, but if that data
comes from a commercial source — as it likely does — and if the TSA
has paid for it — as they likely have — they are breaking the law.
(For what it's worth, this is a slightly different sub-section of the
latest version of the same law the TSA violated, and continues to
violate, by operating their Automated Targeting System for
international travel.)

We look forward to the TSA's response to our FOIA request for more
information about what the TSA is up to with this illegal scheme.

Everything is fair game to the feds to verify your identity at the airport


Panic, embarrassment and shock.

When Julie Brown lost her wallet shortly before she was to fly from
Kansas City to Columbus, Ohio, she didn't know what to do.

While passing through Lawrence on her way to Kansas City from Topeka,
Brown misplaced her wallet at a gasoline station as she was filling
up. Despite a frantic search and filing a report with the Lawrence
Police Department, the Columbus resident went to Kansas City
International Airport with no proof of identification.

"At first, I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm going to have to drive my rental
car all the way to Columbus,' " she said. But then, "I thought to
myself, 'I'm not the first person in the world to have done this.'"

Acting on advice from employees at the Transportation Security
Administration, Brown arrived to the airport two hours early, ready to
state her case and to be rigorously questioned.

When a flight agent refused to issue a boarding pass, Brown pleaded
with her. She was finally issued a boarding pass.

"I was shocked that they just handed it over to me," she said.

Security measures

But they did, and the bottom line is that not having identification
doesn't mean travelers will be barred from flying, said Brandy King, a
spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines.

"We will do what we have to, to get you on the plane," King said. "If
you have your name and your flight number, then (agents) pull it up to
make sure you have a reservation for that flight."

King said it was also important to bring the record locator number
that airlines use to confirm reservations.

Brown's ordeal didn't end until more than an hour later, shortly
before her flight took off. She was required to fill out a form, which
TSA agents compared to public records to verify her identity; the Ohio
Department of Motor Vehicles provided a photo of her; and she was
questioned about everything from her trip to her family. Agents also
reviewed a tax return she was carrying.

Brown's story is reminiscent of many travelers' frantic foibles at the
airport. But it's not unique, and TSA has protocols to deal with
travelers who lack proper identification.

"I think most people are accustomed to presenting a photo ID with
their boarding pass," said Carrie Harmon, a TSA spokeswoman. "If an
individual does not have identification, we have always had a
procedure in place to give those people extra security."

Identity matters

A new rule, enacted June 21, prohibits people who willfully lack an ID
from receiving a boarding pass. But if you happen to lose your ID, or
leave it at home, there is still a chance to get a boarding pass.

"We believe that identity matters, so we've taken several steps over
the last year to streamline the process of identifying an individual
before they get on the airplane," Harmon said.

In the event of a lost ID, travelers had better plan.

Harmon said to arrive several hours in advance, and be prepared for
questioning that will prove your identity. Travelers can be subject to
further pat-downs by TSA agents, luggage examination and may even have
to speak with behavioral specialists.

But before travelers even make it to security, they have to get their
boarding pass from airline flight agents.

King said there is no set protocol for airlines to deal with
passengers who don't have identification; they are dealt with on a
case-by-case basis.

And if you're checking bags? Not to worry, King said.

"Every bag goes through an intense screening," she said. Each bag is
searched to ensure its owners are accounted for, part of security
measures enacted after 9/11.

"The key to this is communication," Harmon said. "To tell the security
screening officer that you've lost your ID, but you're willing to
cooperate to verify your ID."

For Brown, it was an experience she'll not likely forget, but it could
have been worse.

"It was traumatic," she said. "But it was also not as hard as I thought."

Friday, June 27, 2008

ACLU Statement on TSA's new ID policy

reposted from

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set off a minor firestorm in the blogosphere over its new ID policy, which went into effect this past Saturday. At least one passenger has reported that he was asked which political party he is registered to vote for, as part of TSA's new authentication process.

TSA's new rules relate to passengers who attempt to fly without ID -- itself a relatively rare occurrence. According to TSA, of the 2 million people who fly every day, approximately 300 do not show ID.

Many of these have lost or forgotten their identity documents, but in some cases, these passengers have ID, and refuse to do so, citing their belief that US citizens have the right to travel without showing papers to government agents. The most famous of these activists is John Gilmore, who took his case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals back in 2006. While Gilmore lost his case, the court did at least confirm TSA's policies (which had been a secret up until then), which were that passengers could fly without ID if they were willing to undergo a more stringent level of security screening.

Fast forward two years, and TSA has now changed the rules -- In a way that seems to clearly target Gilmore and other activists. Passengers who refuse to show ID citing their rights not to do so will be denied boarding. Passengers who claim to have lost or forgotten their ID, will be permitted to fly, after going through an even more extensive security check than before.

Security experts have blasted TSA's decision as "security theatre" -- that is, a decision done for show, which does nothing to improve security. On the legal front, GW Law Professor Dan Solove has also chimed in, stating that he thinks that the new rules "may run afoul of the First Amendment."

While the new policy just went into effect on Saturday, details of the new security process are already leaking out. One traveler sent a detailed report to the Consumerist blog. Highlights include:

"So you know how the new TSA regulations went into effect yesterday, where you can only fly without ID if you "cooperate" with the TSA? Well, it turns out you also have to take a test about your personal life. They call up a service to administer it, and the last question they asked was which political party am I registered under (I correctly answered "democrat" and they still let me on board)."

"Finally satisfied that I didn't have ID, Laurie took my boarding pass and went away. She came back a few minutes later having photocopied it, and also had an affidavit that she requested I sign. It asked for my name and address, and stated in small print at the bottom that I did not have to fill it out, but if I didn't I couldn't fly. It also said that if I choose to fill it out and then provided false info, I would be in violation of federal law."

After filling out the affidavit, Laurie called a service to verify my address. The service needed me to then correctly answer three questions about myself, which Laurie relayed to me. The first was my date of birth, the second was a previous address (which I only got right on my second try), and the third was "You are registered to vote. Which political party have you registered with?" I got all three right, and only then did Laurie clear me to go through security."

TSA quickly responded to the allegations on its own official blog. TSA head honcho Kip Hawley issued the following statement:

"It's unequivocally not our policy to use political, religious, or other sensitive personal topics as identity validation. If it happened, it was wrong and will not be repeated."

Unlike in other past controversies, this is not one where TSA can merely blame a poorly trained screener or a badly written policy. In this case, the screener relayed the questions to the passenger that were asked by whomever was on the other end of the phone. This may be a private contractor, or it may be TSA's national counter-terrorism ops center. In either case, the problem here is more systemic, and frankly, speaks volumes about the fact that this change in policy was rushed out, with no public comment period.

We applaud TSA for taking rapid action to ensure that no more passengers are asked for their political affiliation. However, we believe that this minor controversy is merely the tip of the iceberg -- and that problems with this new policy may go far deeper. If the TSA is relying on private databases, the same types of databases which are riddled with errors and cause invalid and false information to end up on credit reports, how can this information possibly be used as a reliable security indicator? Furthermore, if the information is publicly available, a terrorist could also look up correct answers to the expected questions before arriving at the airport.

TSA needs to thoroughly re-examine this new ID policy. It needs a full privacy impact assessment (as it has done for other projects) and an opportunity for public comment so that the agency can develop a plan that ensures that due process, privacy, and free speech rights are being properly respected at all levels of the system.

TSA asks about party affiliation, records your information to fly without ID

Reposted from

So you know how the new TSA regulations went into effect yesterday, where you can only fly without ID if you "cooperate" with the TSA? Well, it turns out you also have to take a test about your personal life. They call up a service to administer it, and the last question they asked was which political party am I registered under (I correctly answered "democrat" and they still let me on board).

Anyway the full story is that I had to go Florida for a funeral, and accidentally left my driver's license in my apartment in Manhattan. I made it through LaGuardia on Thursday the 19th in about 3 minutes, but when I tried to fly back through Fort Lauderdale Airport yesterday, it took about 45.

When I first approached security, I told the initial guard screening all passengers for ID that I had none. Instead of immediately calling the supervisor over like at LaGuardia, he paused and asked if I was sure I didn't have any ID on me, like a social security card or something. I said I only had a credit card, so he then radioed for the area supervisor. She arrived in just a few seconds. Her name was Brenda, and she very politely and apologetically informed me that things had changed, and that the TSA supervisor for the whole airport needed to handle this situation because of the new regulations.

Luckily I had arrived an hour early so had plenty of time. I chatted with Brenda while we waited for the main supervisor to arrive. I started to get a little nervous that I wouldn't be allowed on board, and Brenda repeatedly assured me it wouldn't be a problem — they just had a few additional steps to go through.

After about 15 minutes, the main supervisor, Laurie, arrived. Again, Laurie was exceedingly nice and professional, but seemed a little more concerned than Brenda. She asked if I was sure I didn't have photo ID, like a credit card with my picture on it, or even a CostCo card. I wound up going through my wallet in front of her to show that I didn't, and she pointed to various cards and receipts in it to ask if they were IDs. I wound up showing her everything to prove I was telling the truth. She repeatedly said they had no way of "verifying" that I was who I said I was, and that someone could have stolen my credit card and traveled under my name. I didn't want to mention that they shouldn't need to verify who I am, because I was afraid they could then say I wasn't cooperating and deny travel on that ground. In fact, I even mentioned several times that I wanted to fully cooperate with them because I was aware that was a component of the new regulation, and they assured me that I was.

Finally satisfied that I didn't have ID, Laurie took my boarding pass and went away. She came back a few minutes later having photocopied it, and also had an affidavit that she requested I sign. It asked for my name and address, and stated in small print at the bottom that I did not have to fill it out, but if I didn't I couldn't fly. It also said that if I choose to fill it out and then provided false info, I would be in violation of federal law.

After filling out the affidavit, Laurie called a service to verify my address. The service needed me to then correctly answer three questions about myself, which Laurie relayed to me. The first was my date of birth, the second was a previous address (which I only got right on my second try), and the third was "You are registered to vote. Which political party have you registered with?" I got all three right, and only then did Laurie clear me to go through security.

Of course, I still had to submit to secondary screening, including a full-body pat-down and total luggage search. Brenda and Laurie stayed with me to make sure the process went as quickly as possible, and were again incredibly helpful and nice. They kept explaining over and over how necessary it was to "verify" who I was, and how times have changed, and how these new regulations must have been as a result of someone trying to get away with something, because there's always a reason for these thing but they don't always know what those reasons are. They were so nice and considerate that I waited until the very end before I finally said that I do not agree with the new regulations, but that I was thankful that the two of them acted so professionally and considerately to me. Laurie actually seemed a little dejected when I said this, because I had been playing along the entire time out of fear that I would not appear cooperative otherwise.

But I made it onboard my flight, and am back in Manhattan. I have flown without ID in the past, a couple years ago, and it was no problem. I almost preferred it because I got to skip the line. This time around though, it was incredibly burdensome, and involved the full attention of two high-level local TSA employees for a considerable period of time. I kept wondering if Laurie and Brenda were so busy with me for so long, what if someone really bad was doing something in another terminal or area? So even though I cannot say enough good things about how these particular TSA employees handled it, I still feel the new regulation is entirely inappropriate and unnecessary. Why do you need to provide a home address to fly? And what if I refused to answer the question about my political party allegiances? Luckily I kept my cool and even befriended the screeners just so they couldn't resort to the subjective lack-of-cooperation carve-out, but 45 minutes of standing at security not knowing if you'll make your flight seems specifically designed to test people's mettle and upset them. The TSA has turned flying without ID into an overly cumbersome and almost unmanageable chore.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Your papers please: TSA bans ID-less flight

This is reposted from Chris Soghoian's blog.

In a major change of policy, the Transportation Security Administration has announced that passengers refusing to show ID will no longer be able to fly. The policy change, announced on Thursday afternoon, will go into force on June 21, and will only affect passengers who refuse to produce ID. Passengers who claim to have lost or forgotten their proof of identity will still be able to fly.

As long as TSA has existed, passengers have been able to fly without showing ID to government agents. Doing so would result in a secondary search (a pat down and hand search of your carry-on bag), but passengers were still permitted to board their flights. In some cases, taking advantage of this right to refuse ID came with fringe benefits--being bumped to the front of the checkpoint queue.

For a few years after September 11, 2001, TSA's policies when it came to flying without ID were somewhat fuzzy. The agency, like many other parts of the Bush Administration, has hidden behind the shroud of classification--in TSA's case, labeling everything Sensitive Security Information.

Seeking to clarify the rules, activist John Gilmore took the U.S. government to court in 2004. Gilmore chose to take a particularly hard line, by refusing to show ID to TSA and also by refusing to undergo the more thorough "secondary screening" search. He eventually lost his case before the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

While the judges were not willing to let Gilmore avoid the secondary screening search, they did at least recognize the right to travel without showing ID--providing that passengers are willing to be subject to a pat down and a bit of probing:
"The identification policy requires that airline passengers either present identification or be subjected to a more extensive search. The more extensive search is similar to searches that we have determined were reasonable and consistent with a full recognition of appellants constitutional right to travel."

Since then, in at least two letters to citizens, TSA has re-affirmed this right. In March 2008, a TSA official wrote that:

"If a traveler is unwilling or unable to produce a valid form of ID, the traveler is required to undergo additional screening at the checkpoint to gain access to the secured area of the airport."

A change in policy

In a press release issued on Thursday with little fanfare, TSA announced a major change in its rules.

"Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity."

This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers. Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures."

To clarify: Passengers who refuse to show ID, citing a constitutional right to fly without ID will be refused passage beyond the checkpoints. Passengers who say they have left their ID at home, will be searched, and then permitted to board their flights.

While TSA's announcement stated that the goal of the change was to "increase safety," this blogger disagrees. The change of rules seems to be a pretty obvious case of security theater. Real terrorists do not refuse to show ID. They claim to have lost their ID, or they use a fake.

TSA's new rules only protect us from a non-existent breed of terrorists who are unable to lie.

Fixing flaws vs. security theater

In a research paper published in 2007, I outlined a number of glaring loopholes allowing the total circumvention of the much criticized no-fly lists. The two main flaws were that passengers can modify boarding passes, and that they can refuse to show ID.

In December 2007, TSA began testing out a secure, authenticated, tamper-proof boarding pass scheme. It has since been rolled out to a number of major airports around the country.

With hundreds of millions of dollars having already been spent on the various no-fly lists, it is at least interesting to see that someone at TSA is now spending time on fixing the loopholes in the system. The most glaring of this has long been the fact that passengers can refuse to show (or claim to have forgotten) their ID. Simply put, without being able to know who is walking through a checkpoint, there is no way to know that the "bad guys" have been caught by the no-fly list.

TSA's new rule, while perhaps motivated by a desire to beef up security, is significantly flawed. Terrorists will lie, and claim to have lost their ID--while law-abiding citizens wishing to assert their rights will be hassled, and refused flight.

Of course, all of this is premised on the idea that the no-fly list is actually a useful safety tool--something that I, and a number of other prominent security experts, strongly disagree with. Simply put, terrorists do not pre-register their intent.

As Bruce Schneier has noted before, the no-fly list is a collection of hundreds of thousands of people who are too dangerous to fly, but not guilty enough to be charged with a crime.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Successfully flew with expired ID from Dallas

Airport: Dallas (DFW)
Date: April, 2008
Reason given: Expired ID
Reference: Erin
Result: Successful
Description: It seems my driver’s license expired this year on my birthday, unbeknownst to me. I am now finally in the habit of leaving the house for domestic flights without even thinking about digging out my passport, which was a necessity anytime I flew anywhere while we lived in Amsterdam. So, armed only with an apparently expired driver’s license to identify myself, the security guard informed me he was going to have to write in huge black letters across my boarding pass “No ID.” Then I had to wait five minutes for a “female assist” to come pat me down, search through my belongings, and exclaim that I certainly don’t look my age and at first she wondered why they would be so up in arms about a high-schooler not having an ID. (For those of you reading who are unaware: it’s been over a decade since I was in high school.)

TSA allows Houston traveller in with no ID, boarding pass after a smoke break

S Kaye Alston reports that a fellow traveler left the terminal for a smoke break, but without an ID or boarding pass. The TSA seems to have let her back in without much trouble:

It was time to jet to the outside elements to burn one. Well, one of the "other" traveling butt head walked right out the door with nothing but her cigarettes!!! No ID, no boarding pass - NOTHING. Try this stunt in a busy airport, and see what happens. The southern charm was whipped out and throunced on "Larry the TSA agent", and the security dance began for her to make it back into the terminal. I have NEVER in my Life been able to gain access to such a secured environment without any form of ID. Thanks Judy for the laugh and adventure to see if we could pull this one off. We did.

TSA advises passenger by phone they need minimal or no ID

Two reports lately indicate that TSA is telling travelers who inquire by phone that they can get by with minimal ID. This is a bit strange, because in my experience, the TSA either wants to see proper ID or no ID at all, and misleading because, of course, you don't need any ID at all. However, it is better than the old days, when TSA seemed even more confused about ID.

Adeline reports that Delta wouldn't give her a boarding pass without an ID, even though she had alternative ID. However, TSA was pretty clear with her over the phone that, as far as they are concerned, they just need a boarding pass. As Adeline found out from the TSA, she doesn't actually need any ID. Delta has strict rules about ID for the sake of thir own revenue control--they don't want you buying someone else's ticket. Of course, this it their right. However, a traveler can check in online and print their boarding pass, or print it at a kiosk. This may mean no checking any bags (depends on the airline). However, once you get that boarding pass, you are free to travel. Even the strictest airlines, like Delta, will usually give you a boarding pass if you can provide them of enough evidence of who you are, so I am surprised they are being so hard line about it. Adeline writes:

So all I had was my BYU ID, and [Delta] didn't accept that because BYU is a private institution so the ID is not issued by the state. The dumb part is that the agent would have issued me a boarding pass if I had a library card. A library card? It has no photo, it is easily stolen, and is easy to get. That really didn't make sense to me. And yes, I did cry at the airport. She still didn't give me that little piece of paper. She did however transfer my flight to tomorrow night, free of charge.
So I went home and stripped my room to look for my license while sitting on hold with Delta Airlines and then TSA for an hour to see what forms of ID I could use to get on the plane tomorrow. Let me preface this by saying that I understand that it is a federal law that they can't give me a boarding pass without proper ID. The problem is that no one knows what proper ID is. This is how the 3 separate phone calls went:
1) The first lady said that I could use my library card and she said that her supervisor told her that he was 80% sure that my International Student Identity Card would pass through an agent, but that I should call TSA to make sure.
2) TSA didn't help me because they said you can pass through security with practically no ID as long as you have a boarding pass. They just do a secondary screening.
3) The third lady (back at Delta) said that I couldn't use my International card and that I couldn't use a library card and that the agent that said I could was just being nice.
So if the agent wasn't "supposed" to let me in with a library card, then why couldn't she just let me in with a BYU photo ID (which is harder to fabricate and cannot be used in someone else's name)?
Epenshade reports that relatives "were in a panic about how she would get home since she had no ID" when a purse was presumed stolen:
As Ty put Elise to bed, I pulled up the TSA phone number and called them to see how she could get home. They were very kind, and told me with a police report she could fly, but she would be subject to additional screening. When I called her back to tell her this, she seemed a little calmer.
Why is TSA saying they require a police report to fly without ID?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

TSA defers to Delta at DFW: Consumerist Thread on Flying without ID

The Consumerist has a thread on flying without ID. Unfortunately, their answer isn't very helpful--basically they advise that even though ID isn't necessary--run out GET ID as soon as possible anyway. Some of the commenters share interesting experiences about flying without ID. Unfortunately, the experiences described don't have any date information, so they won't be posted here directly. There is one particularly relevant post TSA deferred to Delta airlines on deciding about ID. This seems recent because TSA was in fact checking the IDs at the time, and let the passenger fly as a selectee on the originating flight. This is disturbing because it suggests that TSA is enforcing corporate policies, rather than the law (secret or not). The Delta rep also threatens that the flyer will be put on a list:

At the sceurity screening in Charlottesville, Virginia, I realized that I'd left my driver's license at home. "No problem," said the kindly TSA ID-checker. "You can travel without a driver's license. You'll just be a selectee."

With that he wrote "SSS" on my boarding pass, and when I went through I was taken aside for the extra-special treatment: full wanding, luggage dump, jokes about having to confiscate my doughnut.

They couldn't have been nicer.

On the way back, however, in Dallas, the TSA ID-checker sent me to the Delta counter, where the Delta representative told me that I couldn't possibly fly without an ID. "I don't care what they told you in Charlottesville. Looks like you'll be taking the bus home."

Eventually, an even nastier Delta supervisor decided to let me travel. "But you'll be on a list from now on." He wouldn't tell me what kind of list, and I decided not to press my luck.

Curiously, the authority that made the decision as to whether or not I could fly apeared to rest with the Delta supervisor, and not the TSA screeners.

KCTV Channel 5 Cites Right To Fly Without ID, Is Subjected to Investigation, Questions Secret Laws

from KCTV (Kansas City Channel 5 News)
The Transportation Security Administration investigated KCTV5 News for exposing what some experts called a serious flaw in airline security.Last year, KCTV5 News was able to board flights to Washington and Chicago using IDs the station created.Document checkers at Kansas City International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport glossed over the homemade ID.One airline screener couldn't tell if the ID was real or not, but he let an undercover producer through anyway, and the producer headed off to Washington.

Since then, the TSA took over document checking at KCI.So earlier this year, KCTV5 News decided to try to fly again with the homemade ID.That time, a TSA screener questioned the undercover producer and said he had to have a government-issued ID to fly.Technically, that's not true.

On the TSA's Web site, the policy "recommends" that ID be carried, but there's never been a public law requiring it, and after a secondary screening, the undercover producer was able to catch a flight to Chicago and back.A month later, the president and CEO of KCTV5's parent company received a letter from the TSA informing the company that KCTV5 was being investigated for using "homemade photo identification" in an attempt to "circumvent required additional security measures and procedures."It's an accusation attorney Jim Harrison finds especially interesting given there is no rule requiring any ID whatsoever to board a plane."TSA is not necessarily looking for weapons or explosives. They're using our transportation network as a dragnet for law enforcement," Harrison.Harrison argued a lawsuit against the government that would have forced it to reveal the source of the so-called ID requirement, but that lawsuit was dismissed -- in part, Harrison said, because the regulation requiring ID is shrouded in secrecy."They designated it SSI, or sensitive security information, and said the release of which would be detrimental to the safety of transportation," Harrison said.

According to court documents, the details of the SSI shall only be disclosed on a "need to know" basis.In effect, TSA is saying people are required to abide by laws but people aren't allowed to know what those laws are."One of the problems is that TSA's own security personnel don't understand what the law is because the law seems to be so secret that TSA will keep it from their employees," Harrison said.

In fact, many people don't realize the origin of the so-call ID requirement didn't follow a terrorist attack.In 1996, 230 passengers were killed when TWA Flight 800 exploded midair.On July 18, 1996, then-President Bill Clinton said, "While we seek the cause of the disaster, let us all agree that we must not wait to alleviate the concerns of the American people about air safety and air security."To address those concerns, according to former counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, new airline security measures were introduced by the Clinton administration, and the so-called requirement to present "government-issued photo ID" became a staple at U.S. airports.

More than 10 years later, the TSA says security personnel are required to request ID but government ID is not required to fly."The best form of Homeland Security is liberty and for the people to exercise that liberty, and when you start curtailing that liberty in the hopes of providing more security, then you're just asking for trouble," Harrison said.Late Wednesday afternoon, the TSA sent KCTV5 News a statement calling the station's investigation "irresponsible" and a "disservice to passengers." Nevertheless, KCTV5 News was told that the TSA completed its investigation and decided not to take action against KCTV5 for the story.The TSA said new regulations are expected to go into effect later this year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution took testimony from from IDP Director Jim Harrison on “Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government”. Following is his submitted written testimony. It is definately worth a careful read, because it lays out the central issues behind the secret law which regulates travel identification.

Statement of James Harrison
before the Subcommittee on the Constitution Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate
Hearing on “Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government”
April 30, 2008

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Subcommittee.

My name is James P. Harrison. I am a private attorney and also director of the Identity Project (IDP), , which provides advice, assistance, publicity, and legal defense to those who find their rights infringed, or their legitimate activities curtailed, by demands for identification, and builds public awareness about the effects of ID requirements on fundamental rights.

IDP is a program of the First Amendment Project, a nonprofit organization providing legal and educational resources dedicated to protecting and promoting First Amendment rights.

As a private attorney, I represented John Gilmore in Gilmore v. Gonzales, a recent federal case that extensively examined the issue of secret administrative law involving identification requirements for domestic air transportation.


Among the many categories of secret law addressed by the Subcommittee are secret transportation security directives issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The specific security directive addressed here is that which involves a passenger’s presentation of identification (ID) to travel domestically by commercial air carrier.

While the rule that “Passengers Must Show Identification” is printed on TSA posters prominently displayed about security screening checkpoints in airports, TSA refuses to release the actual written rule that requires passengers to produce identification because it designates the rule itself as part of a control category of information known as “Sensitive Security Information.”

The secrecy surrounding this specific security directive, which has the force and effect of a law, broadly illustrates the dangers inherent in secret law. It is important to make absolutely clear at the outset that the specific security directive at issue here does not involve the training procedures of TSA employees, or the manner in which any aviation security procedure is conducted by the TSA. What is at issue here is the federal requirement imposed directly by federal employees upon domestic air transportation passengers indicating that they must show their ID to fly, which it turns out is actually not the case.

As a result of the secrecy surrounding this law, the public remains misinformed about TSA’s identification requirements. This public confusion has now broadened to include the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) misinformation that the federal penalties imposed upon the citizens of states that decide not to comply with REAL ID results in their inability to travel by air.

Further, not being able to actually read the law that requires ID to fly renders it largely unchallengeable in a court of law by those upon who it is arbitrarily enforced, and legislatively unreviewable by their representatives. It appears that this is a result of deliberate choice and official policy on the part of DHS.

Accepting, or even turning a blind eye to, this secret law invites the public to become accustomed to something antithetical to our systems of justice and liberty.

I invite this Subcommittee to recognize and publicly decree this example of secret law for what it is, an abomination.

The Specific Law at Issue

Various statutory provisions govern airport security screening. The Under Secretary of Transportation is directed to provide for the screening of all passengers and property. 49 U.S.C. 44901(a). In addition, the Under Secretary must direct airlines to refuse to transport a passenger who does not consent to a search establishing whether the passenger is carrying nlawfully a dangerous weapon, explosive or other destructive substance.
Id. § 44902(a).

Neither of these statutes mentions passenger identification.

Congress has generally forbidden the use of secret law. However, there are narrowly tailored exceptions to the requirement of disclosure. 49 U.S.C. 114(s) provides that notwithstanding FOIA, TSA is authorized, upon making particular findings, to prescribe regulations prohibiting the disclosure of information obtained or developed in carrying out security under authority of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act or under chapter 449 of this title.

These findings include a required administrative determination that disclosure is inappropriate for specified reasons, principally because it would be detrimental to the security of transportation.

TSA’s implementing regulations address “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI) that the agency will refuse to disclose pursuant to the just-cited statutory provisions.

The regulations define SSI to include, for example, all threat information, security measures, and security screening information. 49 C.F.R. 1520.5(b)(7)-(9). But the regulations go further to define as SSI “[a]ny Security Directive or order” issued under relevant regulatory provisions, together with “[a]ny comments, instructions, and implementing guidance pertaining thereto.” Id. §1520.5(b)(2).

A Security Directive is the document setting forth mandatory measures that airports and TSA personnel must follow in conducting airport screening. Id. §1542.303(a).

Every Security Directive or Information Circular, and information contained in either document, is forbidden to be disclosed to persons other than those who have an operational need to know. Id. §1542.303(f)(2).

At issue here is the TSA requirement that all passengers show identification before they are permitted to board a domestic commercial airline flight in the United States.

The government categorically refuses to make public the document that imposes this legal obligation on commercial airline passengers as it has determined it to be SSI.

The secrecy surrounding this directive is quite unusual in two respects.

First, although the document itself is withheld from public disclosure, its requirements are disclosed every day to millions of people, who are advised that they must show identification.

Thus, the government’s secrecy does not involve keeping sensitive information non-public.

What is at stake is instead the government’s refusal to prove that what it claims is the law is, in fact, required. Second, and relatedly, it appears that the directive or implementing guidance purposefully or inadvertently causes transportation security officials to mislead the public.

DHS’ Admission of Misinformation

Passengers are consistently advised that federal law requires them to show identification.

That representation is false, however. There is another option.

Passengers in reality can generally travel even without showing “proper” identification so long as they undergo a more extensive security screening.

The government s secrecy here in refusing to disclose the actual directive thus has the effect of misinforming the public of what the law actually requires.

During the pleadings phase of Gilmore v. Gonzales before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the government defendants asserted that Mr. Gilmore’s various rights were not violated by the identification requirement in part because he had the option for a “heightened” level of physical search instead.

After being pressed on this issue during oral argument, defendants were ordered by the Court to file under seal for its ex parte and in camera examination.

In its ruling, the Court referred to its examination of the security directive. “As noted, we have reviewed in camera the materials submitted by the Government under seal, and we have determined that the TSA Security Directive is final within the meaning of § 46110(a).

The Security Directive “imposes an obligation” by requiring airline passengers to present identification or be a “selectee,” and by requiring airport security personnel to carry out the policy.” 435 F.3d 1125, 1148 (9th Cir. 2006).

In part based upon the availability of the “selectee” option, the Court found that Mr. Gilmore’s rights were not unconstitutionally violated by the identification requirement.

A writ of certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court focused singularly on the issue of secret law. Despite the filing of multiple amicus briefs, and the importance of the issue, the Supreme Court denied the writ of certiorari.2

Despite this admission of misinformation by TSA, the signs at the airports still say identification is required to fly.

One of the major problems with Secret Law is that it is impossible to tell when the law has changed.

Since the Appellate Court’s examination of the security directive in the Gilmore case, we have not until recently been able to confirm the law regarding identification to fly had not been altered.

In a letter dated March 22, 2008, a DHS official confirmed in writing to a private citizen that the law had not changed.
Gilmore v. Gonzales 435 F.3d 1125 (9th Cir. 2006) is available at

2 The separate Supreme Court amicus briefs filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC); and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Society of Newspapers Editors are available at ttp://

3 This letter caught the attention of the media and resulted in a number of newspaper articles including that printed on April 8, 2008, in the Kansas City Star: “Although airport security tells passengers they must show ID to board planes, they really don’t”; on April 14, 2008, in the Seattle Times: “If truth be told, you don’t always need ID for domestic flights”; and on April 20, 2008, in the Arizona Star: “You can fly without ID, but a hassle will accompany you.”

4 Despite these recent admissions by DHS that ID is not actually required to fly domestically, there is no way of knowing whether this secret law has been changed since then, thereby making the federal government’s signs posted at our airports truthful.

This Misinformation Spreads into the National REAL ID Debate

Despite the above statements that ID is not required to fly domestically in the United States, the TSA, in its recent issuance of Final Rules pertaining to the Real ID Act, leads the public, and the state governments that may refuse to comply with the Act, to the opposite conclusion.

Beginning on page six of the final rules, it reads:


A. Statutory Authority and Regulatory History

This final rule establishes minimum standards for State-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards that Federal agencies can accept for official purposes on or after May 11, 2008, as required under the REAL ID Act of 2005. See, Public Law 109- 13, 119 Stat. 231, 302 (May 11,2005) (codified at 49 U.S.C. 30301 note) (the Act).

3 See

4 See

During the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, all but one of the terrorist hijackers acquired some form of identification

document, some by fraud, and used these forms of identification to assist them in boarding commercial flights, renting cars, and other necessary activities leading up to the attacks. See THE 911 COMMISSION REPORT, FINAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE UNITED STATES (July 2004) (911 Commission Report), p. 390.

The 911 Commission recommended implementing more secure sources of identification for use in, among other activities, boarding aircraft and accessing vulnerable facilities.

In its report, the Commission stated Secure Identification should begin in the United States.

The federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as drivers’ licenses. Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem of theft.

At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether they are terrorists. Id. at 390.

Congress enacted the Act in May 2005, in response to the 911
Commission’s recommendations.

Under the Act, Federal agencies are prohibited, effective May 11, 2008, from accepting a driver’s license or a State-issued personal identification card for an official purpose unless the issuing State is meeting the requirements of the Act.

“Official purpose” is defined under §201 of the Act to include access to Federal facilities, boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft, entry into nuclear power plants, and such other purposes as established by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Undoubtedly, the most significant impact on the public of this statutory mandate is that, effective May 11, 2008, citizens of States that have not been determined by DHS to be in compliance with the mandatory minimum requirements set forth in the REAL ID Act may not use their State-issued drivers’ licenses or identification cards to pass through security at airports. Citizens in this category will likely encounter significant travel delays.

This inconsistency did not go unnoticed.

In South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford’s scathing letter of March 31, 2008 to Secretary Chertoff, in which he asked that the citizens of South Carolina not be punished by DHS for their state’s deciding not to comply with Real ID, he specifically raised the point that ID is not actually required to fly.

5 On the final page of his letter he alludes to the Ninth Circuit’s Gilmore decision and the current ability to fly without ID.

In this instance, the serious aspect that a secret law prevents an informed legislative examination of the law presents itself.

Without Gilmore bringing suit and forcing disclosure of the law, albeit
through an
in camera review and the resulting secondary description of it by a Federal Appellate Court, Governor Sanford may not have been aware of the content of this secret law.

While Real ID now seems to have been passed to next administration to resolve, this important example of secret law remains and will continue to cause confusion and stymie an informed national debate on the Act.


Permitting the government to enforce a secret law invites abuse and confusion in its application. It permits the government to misrepresent the contents of the law to suit its purposes (whatever they may be at the time) and to inappropriately hide provisions that it may not want known.

It also deprives the public of the ability to monitor agency compliance regarding enforcement of the law (for example, to ensure that the law is not enforced in a discriminatory manner).

The very problems with the secrecy challenged by here are highlighted by the Government’s own inconsistent statements about the directive.

Airport personnel themselves do not seem to know the standards that they are expected to enforce.

The rule of law protects us from unbridled governmental authority and defends liberty.

It continues to be said that our best form of homeland security is liberty. DHS’ willingness to stray from the rule of law here, in an attempt to attain some perceived greater security, is something deserving this Subcommittee’s continued attention.

5 See

Lost ID, but no problems flying from SFO

Airport: San Francisco (SFO)
Date: March 14, 2008
Reason given: Lost ID
Reference: Molly Oliver
Result: Successful
Description: So, a little spacey quality snuck in as I was travelling last weekend and I mislaid my photo ID in SF airport. It is also much easier to get on a plane without identification than one would be led to believe. I do think I actually made it through security a little quicker with out, although I had to suffer the humiliation of being shunted into this little cattle corral thing for a bit, stay extra long in the air-puffer chamber and then have some nice young girl wipe down my shoes, phone and the entire inside of my bag with what looked like an oversized Stridex pad. I am so glad that the TSA is keeping us safe.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Although airport security tells passengers they must show ID to board planes, they really don’t

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Flying across the country? Leave your pocketknife in the car. Don't carry more than a few ounces of liquids onto the plane. And don't forget that ID.
Wait? ID? Turns out we don't need no stinking ID.
Sure enough, leaving it behind will buy you hassle. It will probably annoy those in line behind you as the bottleneck of security slows from crawl to standstill. And it means you're in for a thorough frisking and a greater likelihood that the possessions you've dragged along on your journey will be tested for traces of explosives.
But the Transportation Security Administration concedes you should still be able to board that plane.
Consider the travels of Phillip Mocek, a Seattle software developer. A few years ago he read about a court case challenging various U.S. travel rules and decided he didn't like the idea of having to prove his identity to board a jet.
"I object to what I see as the federal government making a requirement for me to travel around my own country," Mocek said. "So I started testing the system."
Two or three years ago — he can't recall exactly when he started — Mocek headed out on trips with his driver's license planted firmly out of view. ("I still carried it with me. My need to get places, if necessary, would have overridden my desire to flex my rights.")
And time and again, he got where he wanted to go. He'd arrive at an airport with his boarding pass already printed and head to the security check.
"I would say, 'I don't have any ID to show you.' I very clearly did not want to lie, but I did not want to anger somebody by saying, 'I don't want to show you my ID,"' Mocek said, conceding he was parsing words.
Each time he would be subject to extra clearance — "I understand that's the way it is now" — but he always got cleared to fly.
After a visit last month to see family, he went to Kansas City International Airport to catch his flight back to Seattle.
To his thinking, the questions from the private security detail at the facilities' far-flung gates seemed more intrusive than he'd experienced elsewhere. He thought that being sent back to the airline counter for another boarding pass was unnecessary. But in the end, with the usual extra frisking, he flew without pulling out his ID.
Still, he was particularly annoyed at signs at the airport declaring that a government ID was required to fly. So when he returned home, he logged on to the TSA Web site and posted a complaint.
Eventually, a TSA official wrote back.
"TSA requires travelers to produce a valid form of government-issued ID to verify that the name on the travel document matches the ID," the response said.
But then it went on in seeming contradiction: "If a traveler is unwilling or unable to produce a valid form of ID, the traveler is required to undergo additional screening at the checkpoint to gain access to the secured area of the airport."
So an ID is required, except that it's not.
"If you have an ID," TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said in an interview, "we highly encourage that you use that ID, because it speeds up the process not only for you but for anybody behind you in line."
But allowances are made for the ID-free, she said, "because we have to put something in place for people who are on a trip and lose their ID."
That said, the agency's specific policy remains officially secret.
Even without an ID, McCauley said, such passengers should not pose an extra security threat. Their names are still cross-checked against the federal no-fly list of potential terrorists. Their baggage, like every other passenger's, is electronically screened, and the travelers are searched more thoroughly than most people with ID.

Successfully flew after losing ID, SAN

Airport: San Diego (SAN)
Date: March 13, 2008
Reason given: Lost ID
Reference: Tim Ferriss
Result: Successful
My wallet was stolen at ETech in San Diego 3 hours before my flight was scheduled to leave for Austin, TX. Panic set in, as I had to be on a panel the following afternoon, but I learned of a few work-arounds.
Here’s what I did, first from the hotel:

1. I took the clever Brady Forrest’s advice and printed out a little-known (outside of techies) letter from the TSA, written to Senator John Warner, that outlines protocol for flying without ID. If the airport check-in staff or security stop you, this letter and requesting a supervisor is often enough to get you onboard.

2. I used my flight number and name to print out my boarding passes from the hotel kiosk. I wouldn’t be able to use them ultimately, but it would be helpful to prove identify.

3. I borrowed $100 from two friends for taxis, etc., and promised to immediately reimburse them through PayPal, which I could use as currency in place of my stolen credit cards and cash.

At the airport:
1. Told them very casually “Oh, by the way, I’m flying without ID today because my wallet was stolen.” They gave their condolences and marked my boarding pass for additional screening with “SSS” in bright red block letters. I checked one bag and never had to show the TSA letter.

2. Because you are now a bigger security risk, they put you in your own line! The key is to put as much in checked luggage as possible, as they will swab everything in your carry-on for explosive residue and do a quick pat down.

3. After clearing security in record time, I called the San Diego harbor police using 1-800-GOOG-411 on my cell to file a police report with an officer at the airport, which took about 10 minutes.

The officer then called up my CA driver’s license number and put it on a temporary ID card that I could use to drive (and also get served alcohol when used in combination with an old student picture ID from Berlin). Filing the police report is also important for filing claims with banks, credit cards, etc. to be reimbursed for any fraudulent charges.

I had the student ID in a second wallet where I put cards, memberships, etc. that I use infrequently, so I don’t clog up my ultra-slim wallet. This back-up wallet is stored in my backpack.

4. Used wi-fi at the terminal to cancel my cards and get replacements overnighted to a friend’s place in Austin.

The End Result — Faster without ID!

I cleared security in 5 minutes, where it took others AHEAD of me in line with ID 15-20 minutes.

I was upset that that my FlyClear biometric card had been stolen, expecting to be delayed, but perhaps the cheaper solution and equally effective time saver is to “lose” your license, or simply keep it in the wallet and tell them you’re traveling without ID.

I’ll be testing this on my return trip as well.

Just another reminder to question what you “have to” do. Oftentimes the forbidden opposite is the best solution.

Successfully flew without ID, but with intense search at ISP

Airport: Long Island Islip MacArthur (ISP)
Date: March 3, 2008
Reason given: Want to fly without ID, as a selectee
Reference: personal
Airline: Southwest
Result: Successful
Description: ISP is a small airport. When I told the ID checking TSA agent that I wanted to fly without ID as a selectee. He had directed me into a little gated area, then had to leave his post while everyone else waited and go get someone to help me. The man who took me really wasn't sure what to do, and asked me a few questions while looking at my carryon. Finally, the manager came over and asked me questions about why I wanted to fly without ID, in a rather adversarial tone. I told him that I believed it was my right to fly without my ID being checked by the federal government, and suddenly his tone changed and he seemed okay with it.
However, I then received the most horrendous SSSS search I have ever been through. Agents started yelling "selectee!" My various items were marked with red tape. Each item (carryon, backpack, camera, laptop) was investigated by a different agent, in the most tedious process I have seen. I was patted down and wanded by an agent in an extensive process. The wand picked up a gum wrapper in my pocket, and also my wallet. The agent insisted on putting my wallet through the metal detector. I told him that I wasn't comfortable being separated from my wallet, he walked away with it telling me to watch him while he walked back through the metal detector and put it through. I waited for the rest of my items to be screened, and then gathered them and went on my way.
This is by far the most extensive search and intense questioning I have been subjected to when traveling without ID.

Unsuccesful at MDW, TSA suggests I lie instead to fly without ID

Airport: Chicago Midway (MDW)
Date: February 28, 2008
Reason given: want to fly as a selectee, without ID
Reference: personal
Airline: Southwest
Result: Unsuccessful
Description: I told the TSA ID checker that I was flying without ID as a selectee. She told me I couldn't designate myself as a selectee, and handed me over to another agent who asked me if I had ID, and I told him politely I was flying without ID as a selectee. He said I couldn't fly without ID, that it was a security measure, and that they were protecting me . I mumbled something about the supreme court saying it was okay. He left and went and got a third agent, who told me that there was no I way I was getting on a plane or past that point without showing my ID. I quickly said, "yes sir, I'm sorry sir", showed him my ID, which he looked at, and then he sent me on my way.
After the metal detector, I went up to the TSA desk and asked to file a complaint. The TSA agent there got someone who seemed to be the manager, who gave me the form and asked what the problem was. I told him that I had tried to fly without ID, but had been denied. He agreed that I should have been able to fly without ID, but told me that if I had used different "verbage" I wouldn't have had a problem. After I questioned him on this further, I realized that he was implying that I should have told the agent that I lost my ID. and I told him that I certainly wasn't going to lie. He agreed that it seemed like a training issue, and I suggested he give his agents more careful training.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You won't need ID to fly under Real-ID

Edward Hasbrouck has pointed out that under final Real-ID rules, you won't be required to show ID to fly. He also carefully differentiates between Real-ID and Secure Flight. This is an important article for anyone interested in this issue:

There's been a lot of confusion in the last few weeks as to (1) whether the USA
Federal "Real-ID Act" will change the requirements for personal identification
documents for airline passengers in the USA, and (2) if and when the Real-ID Act
is fully implemented, will it be impossible to fly without showing a
government-issued "Real-ID" document?
Now that the final rules for implementation of the Real-ID Act have been published, those questions can be answered simply and definitively: No, and no.
No publicly-disclosed USA Federal law or regulation currently requires domestic USA airline passengers to present any sort of evidence of their identity. If you have a valid ticket and comply with their general rules, airlines are required by Federal law to transport you, regardless of whether you have any identification papers (government-issued, "Real-ID" compliant, or otherwise). The Real-ID Act and its rules will not change any of this. You will still have a right to fly without ID, even under the Real-ID rules newly announced by the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
There are other pending rules which, if they are allowed to go into effect, will require both government-issued papers and permission for international travel to and from the USA, beginning this month. And the proposed Secure Flight scheme
would extend those papers-and-permission requirements to domestic air travel
within the USA. Those are significant, and call for immediate litigation and
ongoing refusal to comply with illegal orders. But those are all separate from
the Real-ID Act.
Much of the confusion about the Real-ID Act and air travel
has come from misunderstandings of the current rules, and from imprecise
reporting about the proposed Real-ID Act regulations.