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TSA Asked to Ensure Safety Of Customer Data After Clear Closing

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the privacy-to-the-highest-bidder dept.

United States 75

CWmike writes "The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), has given the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) until July 8 to explain how the agency plans to ensure the security of private data collected by a recently shuttered company that offered a registered traveler program. In a letter to the TSA's acting assistant secretary, Thompson expressed his concern over the abrupt closure of Verified Identity Pass (VIP), which offered a service called Clear for a $199 annual fee that helped air travelers get through airport security checks faster by vetting their identities and backgrounds in advance. VIP has left open the possibility that the data could end up being acquired or sold to a third-party, but only if it was going to be used for a registered traveler program."

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Good Idea (4, Insightful)

gamanimatron (1327245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554609)

Then maybe they can ask the nice wolves down the street to look after our hens while we're on that vacation.

Re:Good Idea (2, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554775)

We'll have to pay them $50 million.

Re:Good Idea (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555119)

It's like getting results from a doctor.

"We'll phone you if we see anything on your x-ray."
"We'll only tell you when we delete it."

Re:Good Idea (4, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554895)

Then maybe they can ask the nice wolves down the street to look after our hens while we're on that vacation.

They're probably going to outsource that job to their fox buddies and go looking for lucrative sheep-watching contracts.

Re:Good Idea (3, Funny)

ethan0 (746390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556773)

I couldn't even finish the headline before I was laughing out loud, I only got as far as TSA Asked to Ensure Safety and I was gone.

Steaming Pile of Shit (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554675)

$199 x 260,000 customers = $51,740,000.

This company shut down for "financial" reasons. Like they took the money and ran?

I'm not surprised, the TSA and its money grubbing sycophantic associates are a steaming pile of shit.

All this company does is do background checks and issue a plastic card, and they can't do it for 51 million gross?

Typical government contractor type boondoggle (strictly speaking, they were not a contractor).

Re:Steaming Pile of Shit (-1, Flamebait)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555155)

Shh, don't say that so loud in a few months the same people running TSA will be in charge of your health care. The last thing you will want is for them to find something critical of them when they are deciding where to place you in the wait list for checkups.

Re:Steaming Pile of Shit (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558257)

$199 x 260,000 customers = $51,740,000. This company shut down for "financial" reasons. Like they took the money and ran? I'm not surprised, the TSA and its money grubbing sycophantic associates are a steaming pile of shit. All this company does is do background checks and issue a plastic card, and they can't do it for 51 million gross? Typical government contractor type boondoggle (strictly speaking, they were not a contractor).

They also invested in scanners at checkpoints and staff to manage them. And may of those users didn't pay, but got them for free as a result of an affinity program; Delta, Marriot, et. al. no doubt paid way less for large numbers of memberships. Plus any active duty military got a free membership as well.

Re:Steaming Pile of Shit (1)

SeaDuck79 (851025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558305)

$199 x 260,000 customers = $51,740,000.

This company shut down for "financial" reasons. Like they took the money and ran?

I'm not surprised, the TSA and its money grubbing sycophantic associates are a steaming pile of shit.

All this company does is do background checks and issue a plastic card, and they can't do it for 51 million gross?

Typical government contractor type boondoggle (strictly speaking, they were not a contractor).

They did more than that. They had to install, operate, and man (overman, IMO) stations in each of the airports in which they offered service.

The promise is that it would speed a pre-vetted traveler through airport security lines. The problem is that there was little value add to its most likely customer base, most of whom were elite members of one or more airlines that already granted them that privilege. I signed up because my hotel chain gave me a free year, but I sometimes didn't even bother to use it, because it would have just made me look like some hoidy-toidy silver spoon jerk, which I am not.

When the economic downturn caused those security lines to be even shorter, there was even less ROI on that $199. Which is why few bothered to renew.

Re:Steaming Pile of Shit (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28560065)

I had the same 1 year free offer from my favorite hotel chain but declined. And this was when I was flying weekly. A couple reasons why I didn't. First, a Clear line was available at my destination airport, but not at my home airport. My destination was relatively small and rarely did it take me more than five minutes to get through the normal security line. At my home airport, I would have loved such a service. My normal terminal was packed with commuters like myself every Monday morning, and my terminal didn't offer an express line for those with elite status. The service was available where I didn't need it and wasn't available where I did need it. Second, in order to sign up for the service, they wanted both retina scans and all ten fingerprints. Not only was I a little uncomfortable giveing this amount of personal info to the government (assumed it was government, private company is sooo much worse though), but with weekly travel, I didn't really have the time or feel like taking the time to go to one of their facilities to have the information taken. Interestingly enough I was talking about this program last night with a colleague. He had signed up for it and loved it, but he was also flying out of a busy airport that provided the service. I don't understand why they rolled it out to the airports it did. Initially, most of the airports were small and really didn't need an express line, yet some of the biggest hubs in the country didn't have them. I just couldn't see the value until a much bigger roll-out. Looks like that won't be happening.

Re:Steaming Pile of Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28560517)

Please be aware, they are not the only company that does this.

Also, they are a PRIVATE company that created a demand for the service, then approached TSA. TSA, while a typical punching bag on Slashdot, created the guidelines for a program that still exists. (VIP was not the only Registered Traveler program.)

What a congressman expects the TSA to do about a private company's data retention policies is beyond me; unless you want to encourage FURTHER mission creep towards enforcing things away from any actual security?

Re:Steaming Pile of Shit (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28566419)

You know, I want to agree with you. I really do. My ideology calls me to agree with you.

But, as someone who contracts with the government and understands how much of a pain in the ass it is, $52m/year for a nationwide program is absolute peanuts.

What did their privacy policy say? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554687)

Not that it matters, I'm sure it had a "we can change this at will without notifying you" clause, like every other one.

A sad fact (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555807)

It doesn't matter what the privacy policy says. Nobody pays attention to those anyways. Nobody cares. Really. Do you see 260 000 people on the barricades because of this? No? If they ever hear about their data being sold, they will be "Uhh. I don't like that." and continue as if nothing had happened.

Except one of them who will raise a lawsuit - not because he or she actually cared about the data that much but because he or she sees that as an easy opportunity to become a multimillionaire.

Vote AC for president! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557111)

All of us have our own problems. I could imagine that most of those 260k people will never really be affected much even if their data is sold. They have a lot more important things to care about than that and if they happen to not have much problems at the moment the probably want to enjoy that situation in stead of organizing mass protests.

As a society, we should make sure that this kind of shit doesn't happen. It's important for the sake of our future. As individuals... In nearly any specific situation, it is better for us to let things slide than do something about it. Same that is true for privacy is also true about fighting climate change or any other major issue, really.

Turns out that "If everyone of us just tries to look out for themselves, it will eventually result in an awesome society" is just a fairy tale much loved by some large corporations.

When was the last time that you - yes, you, the reader - did something else tan wrote a comment on the Internet? How often have you called your congressman? Donated for important political causes? Marched in rallies? Or done anything else. Do you feel like you've really made your best to improve this society?

"If you don't vote, don't complain" is one thing I hear but really, voting once in a few years and complaining in the internet isn't enough either.

Re:What did their privacy policy say? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556361)

It doesn't matter. Privacy policies can't violate data protection laws. You do have data protection laws, right? Oh. The USA. Sorry, never mind.

Re:What did their privacy policy say? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#28560875)

Privacy policies can't violate data protection laws.

Well, no, but the companies who write those policies can and do.

Company policies are written (or at least vetted) by lawyers who make sure that a policy doesn't contain a blatantly illegal clause. But if you think that companies never violate their own written policies, I have a very nice bridge to sell you out in San Francisco. Such policies are PR documents; they have little effect on the company's actual behavior, except toward customers with the financial leverage to take them to court.

You don't like the idea that a company might violate its written policy? OK, sue them.

(And note that in this case, we're talking about a not-yet-written policy of some unknown company that purchases VIP's assets. Good luck trying to get them to cooperate. Or getting a court to enforce VIP's policy on the new owner.)

Re:What did their privacy policy say? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28563225)

That's exactly the point of GP: the lack of data protection laws in the USA fatally leads to aberrant situations like this.

As a Europan, if I was "antiamerican", I would find it laughable, but since I'm not I just find it tragic.

Oh, and weird, too.

Re:What did their privacy policy say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28563557)

Well, actually, here in Germany we have offices which we can simply notify of such behaviour and they will take care of all the courtwork, investigation, etc. necessary. Oh, and we do have privacy laws.

But nevermind, we are evil socialists...

Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554771)

Is anyone else bothered by the very existence of these companies? "Pay us and we'll get you through the security faster by taking all this personal information and running it through the security checks early, etc."

The hassle is a part of the security program designed by the TSA to keep Americans safer, not create new business opportunities. It seems to me the TSA should be offering the same service to travelers for free. Let people submit the same information beforehand, have all the info run through checks, and stored so folks are less inconvenienced by the "safety measures" they insist on.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (4, Interesting)

Kijori (897770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555401)

Rather brilliantly, by having this card you didn't reduce the security checks at the airport - you just got to skip to the front of the queue. This does mean that security wasn't compromised in the slightest - but it also raises the question of why the company kept doing expensive background checks that served no purpose since the card didn't get you through security!

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555481)

From what I gathered, when you were a Clear customer you went through a separate line than everyone else. So perhaps this has nothing at all to do with security, it was nothing more than a way to legitimize the practice of bribes to get to the front of a long line.

If the service is actually able to reduce airport check-out times as much as former customers claim, and not sacrifice security at all, then all it shows is how inefficient the TSA's system is, and DHS should be revamping to emulate these services, making them unneeded. But if the service really wasn't any faster than "regular" security, and the saved time was nothing more than the fact the line itself wasn't so long, then the TSA doing the same thing would not have the same effect, as with the service now free more people would use it.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556151)

If the card customers are bearing the full cost of the additional lines, is it really a bribe?

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556493)

If the card customers are bearing the full cost of the additional lines, is it really a bribe?

No, it's more like a protection racket. You pay and get protected from a possibly lengthy and intrusive search of your person and your stuff.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556549)

Of course it is, but it's a legal bribe, like donating to both major candidates running for the same office is. Some bribes are legal, but they're still bribes.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556935)

Isn't it more akin to buying premium vodka than buying a politician?

I mean, if you can afford it, you can skip the security checks entirely (by buying or renting a jet).

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28559161)

Good point. If you're connected, you go through the regular line and skip the check by just pushing the security guard [google.com] out of the way.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28563421)

Shoving, not pushing. Those are not to be confused, lest you anger the Space Robots.

Jokes aside, I find it appalling that this guy got a free pass on such a behavior. This couldn't happen in... aw, shit, this could happen in France too! But not in... Sweden, I'm pretty sure this couldn't happen in Sweden.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556975)

If the card customers are bearing the full cost of the additional lines, is it really a bribe?

I don't know, would it be a bribe if someone was bearing the full cost of a separate, shorter queue for organ transplants? I'm inclined to say yes. And I don't see how this is different.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557701)

That essentially everybody makes it through security in time for their flights seems like a rather significant difference.

The number of screeners can even be increased if the wait in the regular line becomes too long.

Of course, there is some chance that rich people will be able to jump to the head of the organ transplant line sometime in the next 30 years, mad scientist doctors are quite far along the path of growing new organs from harvested cells.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

bmoore (106826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556427)

It may have been the intent to have separate lines for Clear customers, but I know that wasn't the case at the Albany, NY airport. There, Clear customers just got the skip to the front of the line, just like airline / airport workers. They still went through the same check lines as everybody else; just didn't need to wait to show their ID.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28557555)

Last time i was at the Albany, NY airport Clear had its own lines but from what I can remember from the sign on it. They seemed to hardly use it. Something like only Available from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

When I am back up there in couple weeks will be interesting to see if the computer hardware just for that line is still in place. Also Not sure at least there how usefull that line is from observation on a Saturday afternoon watching from the observation lounge and a Sunday afternoon only took most 15 min to get though all the checks.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

SeaDuck79 (851025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558363)

TSA's system is inefficient, though they are, in their sluglike bureaucratic way, moving every so slightly towards the illusion of efficiency.

The problem with Clear is that most of the people who travel enough to make it worth getting the card already get a shortcut through security by their membership in one or more elite airline programs. So there turned out to be little real ROI. Half the time, the airports I fly through didn't have much of a security line anyway, so there was no point in using the card except to give the people manning the station some practice.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

idfubar (668691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28658513)

Good riddance to bad rubbish; the quandary which you've pointed out is clear to anyone with even half a brain...

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (5, Insightful)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555667)

The hassle is a part of the security program designed by the TSA to keep Americans safer....

I fly a couple times a week and can assure you that the hassle is not designed to keep you safer. It is for the illusion that "they" are doing "something" and therefore you must be safer. I fly out of 4 different airports on a regular basis and have know when and where lapses are in security.

My destinations are government facilities or military basis where you have to show ID, armed guards etc. Same thing - it is the illusion of security.

To the casual observer or an infrequent flyer, it looks very secure and you can't imagine how to breach security. To the frequent user, you don't need to imagine how to breach security, you can see it.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (2, Interesting)

nihaopaul (782885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556099)

i have to agree, safety is the least of their concern, much more work is done to get into a chinese datacenter unescorted than to pass security at the airports, but this is world wide not just America. security at the airports is for show, many times i've forgotten to empty my bag before flying and found out i've got a multipurpose screwdriver set and once i forgot to take my dive knife out of my carry on. and went through 2 international and one domestic airport.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556419)

I fly a couple times a week and can assure you that the hassle is not designed to keep you safer.

Actually, it is. Various studies have shown that people under stress are likely to panic when they are hassled or surprised, and make mistakes. If you are about to blow up a plane, you are under a lot of stress and the kind of thing that is slightly irritating for the rest of us is a major psychological problem.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1, Troll)

wilsoniya (902930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557719)

[citation needed]

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (0)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28559247)

[citation needed]

I agree. The potential bomber/hijacker can make as many dry runs as he wants to in order to become acclimated to the mysterious ways of the TSA. He won't be irritated or distracted by them, if anything he'll be comforted by their silly ineffectiveness. If he makes enough dry runs from his departure airport, he'll probably even get to the point where he is on a first name basis with the TSA agents there and instead of dicking around with him, they'll rush him through with a friendly smile since the other 100+ times he flew he was a model traveler, obedient and obeisant to a fault.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556627)

According to the TSA, "less than 500" agents have been terminated for stealing passenger items. (http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/10/zero-tolerance.html) I'm guessing that 500 > the number of terrorists caught by the TSA. Thus the TSA is more likely to steal from you than to protect you from anyone. Anonymous because I don't want to end up on the TSA's no-fly list for criticizing the TSA.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557791)

Anonymous because I don't want to end up on the TSA's no-fly list for criticizing the TSA.

I feel sorry for the guy whose name really is Anonymous Coward.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (3, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556993)

The USAF used to be pretty good a security (but I'm talking early '70s here). Once when I was on light duty because of an injury, they loaned me to the SPs (USAF equivalent to MPs) to test flightline security. They held my security badge and had me try to get in the cockpit of a C5-A holding a cardboard box. It was actually skewed in my favor, because my job was normally on the flightline hauling AGE equipment.

I did actually get in once, I think somebody got in trouble over that. After the test the flightline people were a lot more observant.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (2, Interesting)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#28566541)

You got in once. That's all it takes. How is that 'pretty good' at security?

Really it is mindboggling the odds stacked against security systems, so it's no wonder they create such elaborate and ultimately futile systems.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28593657)

That was the whole point, to find where your security is weak so you can strengthen it. Did the same excersize a week later and that time, everyone was observant.

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (3, Informative)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555729)

The best part is that the clusterfuck known as TSA security in an airport has done nothing to increase the safety of fliers. The only thing it has done is violated the rights of thousands of Americans, and so far only Steven Bierfeldt [cnn.com] from the campaign for liberty has had the balls to stand up to them.

I am more bothered by the fact we need them (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555735)

and that the TSA cannot do this BY NOW.

Let alone the whole fact that the TSA is yet another example of government sanctioned Political Connectedness run amok. My mom finally had a flight; she flies a few times a years; where she didn't get stopped. What makes her stand out? Oh, I dunno, but age sixty plus white women with small dogs are apparently a threat to US security. They don't even seem to notice her bag with needles for her insulin, or the pump attached to her. Yeah, last time she traveled she didn't have the dog.

Throw in the stories about how the TSA cannot profile and then how do we expect to have "security". You get it by profiling. Sorry, but when the next plane gets 'jacked all that political connectedness will have done what? Gotten more people killed.

Besides, the next method will be to shoot one down that is taking off. That will make 9/11's flight scares look benign.

So now we need private companies because the efficiency of a union staffed government agency is below par. What part of DUH don't people understand. Yet so many here want to turn over their health care to these same goons who can't even get you to your plane on time. Where is the proper sense of priorities here?

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (3, Insightful)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556141)

Throw in the stories about how the TSA cannot profile and then how do we expect to have "security". You get it by profiling.

Hm? The TSA is allowed to profile, as long as they don't base it on race. This isn't insecure in and of itself; Timmy McVeigh, for example, scored pretty high on the caucasometer. The TSA has a lot of problems - a lot of problems - but their injunction against racial profiling isn't one of 'em.

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558143)

Grow your hair and beard out, and show up in tshirt, jeans, & sandals, walking with a cane. They'll search you. Guaranteed. It happened to me the two times I flew last year. For the record, I'm 50+, blonde, grey eyes, half ethnic Russian. Yeah, they profile you. Or should I say, reverse-profile you. It might be politically incorrect to search somebody who's 'obviously' Muslim, so they make sure they search a couple obvious gringos to 'make up' for it.

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556803)

so many here want to turn over their health care to these same goons who can't even get you to your plane on time

Incompetence, like competence, starts ate the top. The reason that it took five days to get water to the Superdome (and why the TSA is such a clusterfuck) is because the people at the top were unqualified for the jobs they were appointed to because the President was incompetent at his job as well.

To counter your example, in March 12, 2006 my town was hit by two F-2 tornados [slashdot.org] . The devastation was so bad that if Osama Bin Laden had seen it, he'd have given up, knowing he couldn't possibly hurt us.

There wasn't a utility pole standing in my neighborhood the next day. Our city-owned electrical utility (we have the lowest electric rates and the most reliable power in the state) had the infrastructure repaired and everyone online in a week.

Later that year an F-1 hit the St Louis area; I visited a friend in Cahokia that weekend and it was NOTHING like the destruction in my neighborhood. But it took the Amerin corporation a month to get his (very expensive) power back on. Yet so many here want to keep their health care in the hands of these same goons who can't even keep your lights on in a storm.

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28559649)

Later that year an F-1 hit the St Louis area; I visited a friend in Cahokia that weekend and it was NOTHING like the destruction in my neighborhood. But it took the Amerin corporation a month to get his (very expensive) power back on.

I don't mean to detract from the sentiment that you're trying to convey (that the response varies based on who's doing it?), but Ameren, as a company, is extremely well known for being a worthless fuck-up. I wouldn't be surprised if it took them a month to change a lightbulb.

Yet so many here want to keep their health care in the hands of these same goons who can't even keep your lights on in a storm.

Thankfully, Ameren probably wouldn't be the people running the healthcare system. I doubt that anyone here is suggesting that.

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28563517)

Nobody is suggesting that FEMA should run the health care system, either. Christ, it took five days to get water to the Superdome and they turned away truckloads of donated food and water. Bush probably still thinks "Brownie" did a great job, thinking "this is government, you're SUPPOSED to fuck things up!"

That's what happens when you put incompetent people in charge - they appoint and hire other incompetent people. Illinois will suffer from Blago's incompetence for years, maybe decades.

If Obama appoints anyone even remotely associated with the insurance industry to be in charge of health care, we're fucked.

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28580313)

If Obama appoints anyone even remotely associated with the insurance industry to be in charge of health care, we're fucked.

You know he will, too. After all, they are experts in the field, right?

Re:I am more bothered by the fact we need them (2, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28558185)

You get it by profiling.

Damn straight. Every terrorist who has attacked America has been either a Muslim, a Christian, or right-wing kook. The pattern is obvious: conservative religious people are a threat to our very way of life. But when we recognize that threat, their powerful lobby and traitorous friends in the mainstream media kick in and start singing the political correctness whine [huffingtonpost.com] .

Re:Pay for Security w/o as much Hassle? (1)

bonedog73 (982895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28559425)

The option to do this would be fair, soon we'll all get those barcodes stamped on our foreheads....then we'll ALL be SAFE!

Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (5, Interesting)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28554789)

According to the Computerworld article:

"They had your social security information, credit information, where you lived, employment history, fingerprint information," said Clear customer David Maynor, who is chief technical officer with Errata Security in Atlanta. "They should be the only ones who have access to that information."

and

"Other providers, who may now be interested in purchasing Clear's assets, include Flo and Preferred Traveler. "

Given the capability by companies to effectively hide their interested principals through convoluted international structures I wonder how hard it would be for a front-company to buy this info on behalf of criminal organisations, terrorist groups or other nation states.

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (4, Insightful)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555061)

This story is also IMHO a great example, just why any kind of centralized databases filled with info about people is a BAD idea, regardless of how official and sensible it might seem at first.

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (1)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555499)

This story is also IMHO a great example, just why any kind of centralized databases filled with info about people is a BAD idea, regardless of how official and sensible it might seem at first.

Isn't it just an example why it's a bad idea having a company keep a centralized database filled with info about people?

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28583289)

"Isn't it just an example why it's a bad idea having a *company* keep a centralized database filled with info about people?"
          No, because the gov't outsources as much as possible. Either 1) your data will actually be stored in some outsourced database. or 2) The database will be "in-house" but designed by some lowest-bidder outsourcing firm -- it seems *every* IT project the gov't tried to work on in the last 20 years has been overbudget, underperforming, insecure clusterfuck.

          In case 1, your data's owned by a company and they will do whatever they want with it. (Think it won't happen? A few states already, without permission, outsourced the drivers license info, and these companies already resold it.) In case 2, the security problems are my concern. In both cases, I'm a libertarian, and the gov't needs to go on a diet, not encorach on people even further.

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555693)

Of course, if it really HAD been an "official" government thing rather than a for-profit company, they couldn't have gone bankrupt in the first place... so about the only lesson that could be drawn there is that the free market is the wrong approach here.

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (2, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555781)

I'm a bit pissed about this. When I registered my details as a pre-requisite for a transit flight through the US en route to Canada a few months ago, I'm pretty sure the website I registered on was a .gov, and there was no indication that this data would be held by a private, for profit company and would be up for sale shortly.

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556339)

That wasn't Clear - that probably was the US gov't checking on you evil foreigners. Clear was a for-profit program that let you skip the security line in some airports.

Re:Registered Terrorist^wTraveller Program (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28571427)

Ah right. I didn't realize there was a special program for domestic terrorists to preregister as well.

Damn it, Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28554803)

I'm tired of crap like this. You're supposed to be a tech news site, but instead, you've changed into an anti-government anti-copyright privacy-issue-overblowing agenda-pushing rag. I remember when I could come on here years and years ago and actually be interested in all the stories. Now, after I wade through all the propaganda, there's not enough substance to occupy me for ten minutes.

This place is ridiculous nowadays, and not worth visiting anymore. At all.

Re:Damn it, Slashdot (0, Offtopic)

Calydor (739835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555049)

Buh-bye, then.

Re:Damn it, Slashdot (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555107)

If you don't think technical and legal handling of this sort and size of identifying data by a large entity is important then you shouldn't of been here to begin with.
How different entities around the world, government, private or both, handles personal information is of great interest to many people within the IT industry.
Go back to the hole of irrelevance you crawled out of.

Re:Damn it, Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28556001)

I remember when I could come on here years and years ago and actually be interested in all the stories. Now, after I wade through all the propaganda, there's not enough substance to occupy me for ten minutes.

You might have Alzheimer's... or a developing aneurysm... you should have that checked out.

Convenient air travel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555579)

Is only going to cost an extra $199 annually? Wow, I hope banks don't catch onto any of this. Otherwise it will be nothing but "You may present a potential security risk so before you can deposit that check we will need to either strip search you, OR you can just pay us 200 dollars."

Avoid Travel (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28555817)

I know that it isn't practical for some to travel by air. I've had to do it myself as part of the job, a time or two. But the last time I did it just wasn't the fun it experience that it used to be.

Re:Avoid Travel (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28560751)

I agree air travel is not fun, but I think a lot of people put too much blame on TSA for that. Sure TSA sucks. They yell at you, they make you take your shoes off, and you have to wait in line. None of that I consider fun. But since I've started travelling at lot, most of my TSA frustrations have subsided. Simply because I learned the ins and outs of gettign through security efficiently without being hassled. But air travel still sucks big time. Unless you're in first class (which most regional flights don't even have), you are stuck in a tiny seat for hours on end. They don't serve meals anymore without charging you extra. They stopped showing movies on domestic flights for a lot of carriers. That's just the beginning of the misery. Probably the biggest pain in the fact that your flight will be delayed and if you it's an indirect flight you will miss your connection. If you're in no hurry, it's just a pain and you'll have to wait around more and feel compelled to buy more eight dollar beers from the terminal bar. If you need to get somewhere by a certain time, you are stressed and frustrated. For work it was always the worst. I generally took direct flights, but it sucks that you wont' make the important meeting you have and on the way back, all you want to do is be home with your loved one, but everything is keeping you from it. Two recent flying experiences to share:

A friend was getting married and I was an ussher. Thanks to the weather taking place at my connecting city, my plane couldn't take off. I missed my connection. I missed the rehearsal. It took me longer to fly than it would have been to drive, and here I was trying to save the "pain" of driving seven hours.

Coming back from vacation, just this past weekend. Incoming flight was 2 hours late, missed my connection. It was the last flight out that night. Ended up being put up in a Microtel overnight. If you never stayed in a Microtel before, I don't recommend it. We slept with our clothes on and would only get changed in the bathroom because that giant mirror behind the bed looked way too tinted. We flew home first thing in the morning, but we missed my nephews birthday party.

My point is that while TSA is a major pain, it's just a small pain in the overall flying experience and I think people lose site of that. If you don't get a random screening and you follow proper procedure (no matter how ridiculous those procedures are) you can zip through security very quickly without hassle. It's the rest you have to worry about,

d o7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28555987)

you8 own 3eer [goat.cx]

What about the shoes? (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556137)

People must have had to file pairs of shoes with this company that have already been taken off and searched. They should ask the TSA to ensure the safety of the shoes too.

Why did Clear actually NEED this data? (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28556541)

I've seen the Clear system in many airports. It was always empty. It always seemed to me that their ability to speed you though security was not because they possessed better background info but simply a matter of supply and demand - few occasional or even frequent travelers would pony up the $199. I never thought WHAT they did was any different - they still make you take out your computer, take off your shoes, etc. Having been through many non-Clear security lines, I'll tell you they I strongly doubt they are doing any background checks on me as I pass through security - there's no way to get my personal data unless they have a face recognition system to die for. So, why did Clear actually need all this background data?

Re:Why did Clear actually NEED this data? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 5 years ago | (#28557677)

They just had people consent to them gathering this data for a perceived reduction in hassle, so that they could legally get the info and shut down the company. Now they have this big pile of data to sell, and they got 200 bucks a pop for it already.

This is one of those business plans, like bagged air, that makes me kick myself for not seeing and jumping in on.

Re:Why did Clear actually NEED this data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28558901)

This was exactly my take on CLEAR as well -- it was a system doomed to failure from the start.

They took a fee, sure, but they had higher labor costs and more expensive gear to buy than the TSA. Plus they had to advertise and have collections and billing and customer support and all that jazz as well.

Their flaw was that ultimately, the capacity of an airport's security checkpoints remained unchanged. Thus they had a self-defeating business model. If CLEAR was ever going to obtain the critical mass of members necessary to keep it afloat, the line to get through the CLEAR checkpoint would simply get longer and longer until eventually it could get to where it took longer to go through the CLEAR lines than the normal ones.

When you coupled the fact that your membership was a losing proposition from the start with the fact that you had to hand these idiots your life history, what did you really expect would happen? In some respect, I think the people who made that decision need to bear the consequences of their actions. Maybe that would finally get enough people to sit down and think and care about the whole fiasco of airport security long enough to force some progress. I'm getting pretty sick of this "Please protect me, Federal government for I am a complete idiot," mentality that has come to permeate everything these days.

In the name of SAFETY (1)

bonedog73 (982895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28559539)

As long as we're being told we'll be SAFE, Americans are willing to give up any and all freedoms. "Hand over all your private information and we'll keep you 'safe'." How are we any different than communist China these days... Our government gives us a few freedoms as long as we keep buying shit and making them rich. The only thing that matters anymore in this country is the Economy.
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