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Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the kids-break-the-darnedest-things dept.

Government 624

caseih writes "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."

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Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Informative)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115151)

TFA states that it was an airline official who refused to allow the passenger to board, not an agent of the government. It's still galling, but let's express our discontent where it belongs.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115185)

The sheer, mind-blowing raw speed of hand-coded assembly language is as close to omnipitence as it is possible to get.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115273)

Does it really make a difference which incompetent and/or indifferent bureaucrat screwed this family over?

Will it stop happening? Will these people be made whole without spending thousands of dollars and perhaps dozens or hundreds of hours fighting it?

Let's face it, the default state of the American citizen and consumer is "screwed", and you must start from there.

And people keep voting, with their wallets and with their ballots, for more of the same.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115355)

Buy own plane. Problem solved. Wait, you're not a billionaire? Oh, then go away. /s M. Romney.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115373)

A complaint is often lodged on Slashdot is that adding "on a computer" to any given law or rule is irrelevant, and that laws should apply universally to the situation, regardless of the medium. No one would argue that if I damaged my passport so badly that the photograph or any identifying information on it was unrecognizable, I would no longer be able to use the passport. So how is this any different? A damaged passport is unusable, period.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Informative)

j35ter (895427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115451)

No. The RFID is optional. A passport is still a physical ID, and as such respected worlwide ... uh ... except in the us, of course.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115647)

...except that didn't quite happen.

Although "adding a computer" did cause this problem. It caused a simple bit of robust technology to suddenly become exceptionally prone to failure. It created a problem where one did not previously exist.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Insightful)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115687)

If the information on a pre-RFID passport is sufficient for international travel -- which it presumably is, since I and millions of others still travel with them -- then an RFID-equipped passport with a non-functioning RFID chip that hasn't been otherwise defaced also has enough information. You could make the case that he should be prevented from traveling if it was obviously intentionally damaged, but it's certainly not lacking any necessary photographic or other identifying information if it's just the RFID chip that's damaged.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115691)

A damaged passport is unusable, period.

Excellent example of using ", period" to mean "everything I just said only makes sense if you don't think about it at all so for the LOVE OF GOD please don't!"

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115405)

Does it really make a difference which incompetent and/or indifferent bureaucrat screwed this family over?

They think it does. It allows the various players involved to all abdicate responsibility by pointing fingers.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115433)

It does make a difference. For all the complaining that the corporations and the government are the same, it's a lot easier to get corporate policy changed than government. If this brings enough attention, the airline may choose to clarify its policy or retrain the individual who refused to accept the passport.

There are times when the letter of corporate policy should give way to good customer service.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115457)

And people keep voting, with their wallets and with their ballots, for more of the same.

How am I supposed to vote?!?!? Let me be clear: I voted for Obama because Obama promised to roll back the damage done by Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales to rights such as habeas corpus. Obama failed to keep his promises, choosing instead to continue in lockstep with those evil bastards. Don't blame me - I voted the best that I knew how to try to correct egregious wrongs - blame the politicians.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115539)

And the worst part is, you and I need to vote for him next time, too, because Frothy isn't even pretending to want to restore our civil liberties, instead gleefully enumerating what new restrictions he wants to place on the American people in the name of a "better society" or whatever. (Seriously, the legality of contraception stopped being a topic of political debate in the late sixties. What the hell is going on?)

Ahh, the sharp difference between "bad" and "worse". A two-party system has to be at least twice as good as one-party rule, right?

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (0)

Plugh (27537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115677)

Simple. Vote with your feet. See my .sig

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (3, Informative)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115509)

Yes, it matter a great deal, especially when people still make the poor argument that "teh marketz R wize" and "gubmint iz bad". This was a case of a company (American Airlines, with a history of mistreating customers and PR issues - like most airlines out there) once again trampling on its customers. Its important to assign blame where it belongs.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (2)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115673)

well, yes, it does. the popular sentiment evoked by this story is opposed to government, not bureaucracies in general. libertarianism won't fix the latter and could easily make it worse.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115283)

TFA also states:

Ray Priest, owner of International Passport Visas in Denver, said your passport isn’t actually yours at all; it belongs to the US government.

“To have a passport is privilege, it’s not entitled to you by citizenship,” Priest said. He said the issue may be with a microchip embedded in the back of all new passports. “They have no reason in the world to let you travel if it’s been damaged,” Priest said. “It’s like cutting your photo out or something if that chip doesn’t work.”

These people wanted to leave the country. By no means should we ever prevent someone from exiting when they want to, passport or not. If you don't have a passport, just don't expect to return.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115393)

“To have a passport is privilege, it’s not entitled to you by citizenship,”

Hey, that's what the communist government in the 80's was telling us all along when they didn't want people to visit the West.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Insightful)

wer32r (2556798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115631)

This is exactly what I thought of as well. When owning a passport is becoming a privilege, you're on your way down a very slippery slope...

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115537)

I believe that the right to leave a country is one of those rights that the UN has officially declared sacrosanct -- no matter who you are, or which country you're a citizen of (or if you're not a citizen of anywhere), you have the right to exit whatever country you're in (unless you've broken that country's laws). If you're a US citizen who wants to head to China, the US government can't stop you; only the Chinese government can.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115569)

That might be your ideal, but reality is the exact opposite.

You can't be denied a passport in order to return the the US. You can be denied a passport in order to leave.

It's a specific exemption on the criteria to deny a passport (22 C.F.R. S 51.70):

A passport, except for direct return to the United States, shall not be issued in any case in which the Secretary of State determines or is informed by competent authority that:
[list of criteria to deny a passport]

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115287)

The guy who was talking all the smack, who said: "To have a passport is privilege, it's not entitled to you by citizenship," Priest said. He said the issue may be with a microchip embedded in the back of all new passports. "They have no reason in the world to let you travel if it's been damaged," Priest said. "It's like cutting your photo out or something if that chip doesn't work." is the same guy who is rated A- by the BBB for several complains. His contact info at BBB is at http://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/passport-and-visa-services/international-passport-visas-in-denver-co-8845 [bbb.org]

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Funny)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115343)

If we just say "those fuckers," while leaving the antecedent deliberately ambiguous, we're good. Think of it like lazy evaluation of variables.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (2)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115349)

VERY important distinction. From what I understand, the US government cannot deny a citizen entry once the citizen has provided bona fides. The government may hold the citizen for questioning, but is afforded all rights and privileges provided by the constitution.

IANAL...of course, we don't live in "Shouldland".

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115439)

They cannot ultimately bar you from returning, correct--even without the proper ID, in fact. However, they may take their sweet old time verifying your story/identity and documents. In the meantime, you will be in limbo.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (3, Interesting)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115413)

The problem is that airline officials or anyone else in charge of letting you get on a plane is apparently *allowed* to make a judgment call like this at any airport along your route. If I'm going to be stopped for some stupid random thing like this (and it is a stupid random thing), I'm going to be a lot less pissed off if it means I can't get on the flight at my home airport, and have a way home, than if it means I've gotten halfway across the country 500-1000 miles from home and then all of a sudden can't fly anywhere and I have no surface transportation home or shipping for my checked baggage. One reason I don't fly when i can avoid it is unpredictability of what will be flagged in security at any given airport, plus the ease with which it's possible for a social outlier like me to become a "suspicious person" and subject to all of the treatment that triggers.

Now, that may be hard to avoid for international flights where the airport of departure from the country isn't my home airport, but if an airline official is going to pull a dickish move like this, the least he/she can do is refund my international ticket and comp me a *domestic* flight back home, plus waivers on any extra fees to route my checked baggage home as well. Not sure if they were offered that as well as the option to stay in a hotel while the passport snafu is straightened out, but I do wonder ..

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (4, Informative)

marcop (205587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115517)

Their real problem is that they chose American Airlines. I travel frequently and AA's customer service is the worst. I avoid them as much as possible.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (1)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115529)

TFS:

The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."

-1 Flamebait.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115587)

American Airlines used to be my favorite airline, but after reading this I will avoid them like the plague.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (5, Informative)

dbialac (320955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115721)

Moreover, your passport explicitly states in plain writing that the chip doesn't have to be functioning for it to be a valid document.

Re:Bad summary: the airline, not the government (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115725)

TFA states that it was an airline official who refused to allow the passenger to board, not an agent of the government.

To be fair, TFS says that too... But I guess you were right anticipating government policy rants rather than airport policy rants.

money grab.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115205)

They are after money... They know people broke them for personal privacy, and as a way to strike back against privacy they are making you buy a new one...

FTFA (5, Insightful)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115229)

“This is done for national security, for whatever reason they can’t make an exception, period,”

They flew from Denver to Dallas without a problem, then were stopped in Dallas. If they can't make an exception, why were they allowed to get on the first plane?

Re:FTFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115281)

“This is done for national security, for whatever reason they can’t make an exception, period,”

They flew from Denver to Dallas without a problem, then were stopped in Dallas. If they can't make an exception, why were they allowed to get on the first plane?

The first plane wasn't leaving the country.

Re:FTFA (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115735)

“We started at Denver International Airport, where we checked in and all our passports were checked very thoroughly,” said Kyle Gosnell.

Their passports were checked in Denver and they were allowed to board. The should have been stopped in Denver. WTFA.

Re:FTFA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115363)

You don't need a passport for flying within the US. Technically, you don't even need a passport for leaving the US, but if you don't have one, it becomes very difficult to re-enter.

The proper way to handle this would've been to inform them that they need to get the passport repaired or risk facing excessive scrutiny on their return. Some officials involved and quoted in the article need to be replaced.

Re:FTFA (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115431)

You don't need a passport for flying within the US. Technically, you don't even need a passport for leaving the US, but if you don't have one, it becomes very difficult to re-enter.

Not for leaving the US, but you need a Passport + Visa to enter your destination country.

who would want (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115259)

to go the Third World anyway?

Re:who would want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115399)

Anyone wanting to leave a 4th World country would I guess?

The US is a 4th world country these days.

Re:who would want (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115653)

What does that even mean?

Re:who would want (4, Informative)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115729)

Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

1st world: United States and allies during the cold war.
2nd world: Soviet Union, China, and allies during the cold war.
3rd world: Any nation not listed in the above two categories.

Look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_world [wikipedia.org]

Destroyed It Immediately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115269)

I immediately destroyed the RFID chip in my passport.
I stomped the shit out of it, hammered it, and threw it in the microwave.

Comparison of technologies (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115285)

Paper

Can survive being crushed, sat on, folded, spun, submerged in water, thrown up on, run over by a car, heated to several hundred degrees, frozen to near absolute zero, exposed to intense radiation, and the data stored on paper can be read with no special tools under a wide variety of environmental conditions, or using simple tools like a 'lens', can be read at distances of up to several hundred feet or more.

RFID

Can be used with a scanner that has a range of only a few inches. If any part of the chip is damaged, the data is irretrievable. Costs more than paper. Can be destroyed in everyday use, including sitting on it, folding it, getting it wet, etc.

Which one would you pick for storing sensitive information which, if made inaccessible, has the potential to prevent you from ever seeing your loved ones, your home, or any of your possessions again?

Re:Comparison of technologies (5, Interesting)

ncttrnl (773936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115445)

Even without the RFID, I've watched them deny kids onto flights because their passport wasn't signed. It was interesting to watch the mother explain that her kids could barely write their name let alone be expected to have a signature that would ever be useful for identification. They finally made her hold her kids' hands so that each of them could sign their names. The whole system is flawed and RFID is just another expensive layer on top of it. I would have hoped RFID was implemented more like magnetic strips on credit cards. When they work, it speeds things up. When they don't, every business has an imprint machine or a place to type in your credit card number in their computer so they can still take your money. I guess there is more incentive in the case of credit cards to actually get it right for the consumer though.

Re:Comparison of technologies (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115713)

What retard would do that?

You are supposed to print the child's name and then sign it yourself with either "(father)" or "(mother)" after the signature.

Congrats to the retard though, they've just invalidated the passport. Though of course since the parent didn't bother reading the very clear instructions I guess that's fair enough.

Re:Comparison of technologies (4, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115453)

Can be used with a scanner that has a range of only a few inches. If any part of the chip is damaged, the data is irretrievable. Costs more than paper. Can be destroyed in everyday use, including sitting on it, folding it, getting it wet, etc.

Contains electric circuits that can fail, rendering the RFID useless, even with no abuse.

Re:Comparison of technologies (5, Interesting)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115499)

Which one would you pick for storing sensitive information which, if made inaccessible, has the potential to prevent you from ever seeing your loved ones, your home, or any of your possessions again?

Neither?

Even if you intentionally light your passport on fire and fling it into the U.S. Embassy, you still have the right to return if you're a U.S. Citizen. (admittedly, probably after at least a few days in jail for lighting something on fire and flinging it into an occupied building.) I went to the Chzech republic once with some other students from the U.S., while we were there one of my friends made with the stupid and agreed to leave her passport with her hotel as a security deposit (do NOT do this). Naturally when she tried to retrieve it her passport was gone (stolen, they are valuable).

Was she "prevented from ever seeing [her] loved ones, [her] home, or any of [her] possessions again?" Of course not, she went to the U.S. Embassy. They harangued her for being stupid and issued her a temporary passport to get back to Italy with. Once we were back in Italy the U.S. Embassy in Rome issued her a new permanent passport. Getting her Italian Visa replaced was harder.

When you travel outside the U.S., you need to accept that you may not be able to keep to your schedule, plan for it. Book all your flights with a single airline (so that when Airline A screws up and you miss a connecting flight its their problem, not yours). Leave some vacation time (a day or two) on the return side of your trip. Don't try to sneak pot back out of Amsterdam (no, seriously, wtf are you thinking?). You have to take precautions.

But what you describe, has no connection to reality.

Re:Comparison of technologies (2)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115511)

There are 2 interests competing in this situation. One is you, wanting to avoid trouble. The other is the government, wanting to know you are who you claim to be. Paper doesn't have a challenge-and-response system. The government wants secure documents establishing you are actually the owner of the passport, and that the something-you-have is genuine, and they make all the rules.

Re:Comparison of technologies (1, Troll)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115627)

The government wants to easily track your movements, and easily be able to stop your movements on the slightest whim. When they say "national security," they mean "state security."

Re:Comparison of technologies (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115737)

Easily solved with a QR code and a computer. Since they already have a computer iwth your picture and possibly cross referenced to finger print databases, I argue the QR or barcode is a far better solution than a RFID chip.

Re:Comparison of technologies (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115531)

Depends. In this scenario, am I the contractor chosen to make the passport, the government agency that has to justify asking for a budget increase next year, or a Senator from a district with an RFID manufacturer in it?

Same thing has happened to me... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115289)

I was traveling alone, but I've gotten similar crap from a AA rep with a bur up his butt or something. This was pre-chip passport, but my well traveled 9 1/2 year old passport was slightly bowed from being placed in my pocket. He said basically the same thing as the article, that it shows a disrespect for the document and that I should keep it in a necklace type holder or somewhere else other than my back pocket. This same passport was never questioned by a government official in any country I traveled too. I waited for the douche to go on break and then proceeded to check in without incident by another agent. He would probably be one to charge folks an excessive baggage fee if one of their bags was 1 oz over regulation as well.

Re:Same thing has happened to me... (5, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115415)

"Disrespect for the document"? It's a fucking document, not a person. I have no reason to respect a document. Especially one that I bought and paid for myself, with my own time and money.

As long as it's legible and you can see my photo, that's all that should matter. These people must be the ones who were teacher's pets in high school civics class, right? WTF is the world coming to?

Re:Same thing has happened to me... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115617)

There seems to be some sort of fetish for 'respect', most commonly(but not entirely exclusively) exhibited by those people who've never deserved a dose of it in their lives. I don't know exactly why this crops up; but it definitely does. It's bad enough when those people demand respect for themselves regardless of desert and sometimes by force; but when they give up on that and hitch their self worth to a god or a flag or something they become truly insufferable.

respect the fine document (3, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115733)

I think its a cultural thing. Some cultures get in more of a knot over the sanctity of the tokens than what they represent. Religious texts, flags, UK football colours, to name but a few.

Sting (1)

eminencja (1368047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115291)

Anybody remembers that scene from the Sting (1973) when Johny Hooker (Robert Redford) tucks money in Mottola pants and says Ain't no hard guy in the world gonna frisk ya there?

Enter TSA.

o_O I have seen some stupid people (-1, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115481)

But you take the cake. So basically you are giving movie proof that people abuse sensibilities about searches to hide things and then call out the TSA for searching in those places?

Oh wait, I get it, you are one of those people that believe the police should play fair and not try to hard to catch criminals?

Can the RFID chips be read with the cover closed? (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115295)

When it became known that the new passports used RFID chips, and people discussed ways that they could be surreptitiously read (and hacked) at a distance, I believe the government said the RFID chips couldn't be read if the passport was closed.

Does anyone know if that is true? Or was that just something said to placate the public? (I figure it might be ok to use passports if this were true, hopefully the only time you'd need to open your passport would be at a government controlled facility which would presumably reduce the chance a hacker would be able to operate unnoticed).

Re:Can the RFID chips be read with the cover close (3, Insightful)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115371)

You need to read the MRZ (machine-readable section of the page with the photo) of the passport as the key to unlock the encryption of the chip. You can't get that with it closed (unless you already know the owner's name, birth date, passport number, etc.).

Re:Can the RFID chips be read with the cover close (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115555)

Yes, and you routinely have the photo page of your passport scanned at various devices at the airport. Heaven for skimmers!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115299)

Wait, does this mean if we accidentally fry our passport chip somehow, we won't be able to, say, reenter the country? o.O

(Hah, captcha: felony)

Re:So... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115709)

So, an International Terrorist, say one of those Dirty Muslims, could make a HERF gun and run around frying tourists' passport chips, leaving them stranded in (say) Israel?

Cool, a new way to terrorize others :-// (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115303)

Just get hold of their passport for a few seconds, break the chip and people get problems all over. I'd call that a very slow form of a DoS :-//

cb

Kinda right, but not... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115311)

The travel guy they interview has one thing right and one thing wrong...

Not all passports have RFID chips in them. That didn't start until 2006. Mine has no such chip in it. No problems at all with it. Even without the RFID chip, the passport is machine readable (that's the barcode on the picture page). It won't be until 2016 that all US passports--that is, when the old ones all expire, finally--will be biometric/RFID. So I don't see why they should refuse someone who's RFID chip doesn't work, given that other people will be allowed on without one too.

But he is right that the passport is property of the US government. It says that in the document somewhere.

A colleague of mine had major problems with Delta and his visa. He was going to China, and had a return flight 60 days after he left. His visa was only good to stay 30 days. They refused to let him on the plane. Of course, he had planned to go to Hong Kong after 28 days, stay for 3, and then return to mainland China (possible with his multiple entry visa), all of which is fully legal. Delta didn't care and made him change his flight (and pay to do so). He then had to pay a second time to change it back once he got to China. His CC refunded the fees, but it was still unnecessary hassle.

The major issue: airlines are NOT immigrations officials! They do have some responsibility, of course. They don't want people getting on planes without passports, only to have them sent back home immediately. Still, on judgment calls like validity of visa and travel plans, they should not have final say in the matter. That's not their job. They don't always get it right.

The family may have made a mistake not immediately calling for a customs agent to get involved. The airline could easily take them downstairs, where there's dozens of immigrations officers, any of whom could make the judgment. There's also probably a supervisor there who gets final say. Why were those people not called in to decide the validity of the passport?

Re:Kinda right, but not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115559)

Except that if had of overstayed the visa, or if he didn't have a valid visa, the airline would have to pay to return. The same as not having a passport.

Does US hate its citizens? (1)

mar.kolya (2448710) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115319)

“To have a passport is privilege, it’s not entitled to you by citizenship,” Priest said. He said the issue may be with a microchip embedded in the back of all new passports. “They have no reason in the world to let you travel if it’s been damaged,” Priest said. “It’s like cutting your photo out or something if that chip doesn’t work.” Come on, does US hates its citizens that much? I mean they make a document with a chip which can be broken by just sitting on it and then they deny flight? This must be diminishing experience to be a US citizen these days...

Re:Does US hate its citizens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115391)

Priest should be tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

Re:Does US hate its citizens? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115741)

"The world will only be free when the last king has been hanged with the entrails of the last priest".

Yeah, it's a name, not a title, I know...

Re:Does US hate its citizens? (2)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115397)

I can also hear people say it is only giving you problems when you travel.

Is prison not mostly a limit to your ability to travel?

Re:Does US hate its citizens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115479)

Freedom of travel has been an important and fundamentally recognized human right internationally. Unfortunately, it was believed to be so commonly recognized at the time the constitution was written that the right to travel freely was not specifically included. This well-known exception has enabled the US Government to pass several laws aimed at prohibiting travel by its citizens, starting from World War I onward, and after World War II, making it illegal to enter or exit the country without a passport.

Re:Does US hate its citizens? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115485)

I'm pretty sure citizenship does entitle you to a passport.

Re:Does US hate its citizens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115661)

The US finally upgraded to soviet standards. Good job, mission accomplished !

Notty, notty brat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115333)

When the funeral of this notty, notty misbehabing child is scheduled?

Attention! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115345)

Stand up! Sit straight! No smiling! Keep your mouth shut!

Terrible, terrible summary (5, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115357)

I know this will go unheeded because it's what people don't want to hear, but the US Government had nothing to do with this case.

The child was denied clearance by an airline employee, not an actual customs agent. And the person who claims that a damaged passport is "disrespect" to the privilege of holding a passport is some whackjob I've never heard of who owns a small business that specializes in... wait for it... passports and visas! The online ratings for this guy's business classify him as a Grade A jackass, as well.

This is an overblown, almost-manufactured attempt at criticizing the government for its national security policies. It's really much more akin to blaming the local beef farmer because my steak was overcooked.

No, pretty accurate. (4, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115459)

If the government had not have created this police state, then airlines wouldn't give a damn.

Backpacking (1)

TekNullOG (1766028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115375)

I've backpacked around a lot of countries and I'm telling you that it is not easy to keep a passport in perfect condition especially if you try to keep on yourself all the time (recommended in a lot of countries). Various factors that put a beating on it include rain season, keeping it your pocket, perspiration, tight jeans (lol), and much much more!

Strangely passive voice on that quote (4, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115381)

From TFS: The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport.

"The claim has been made", eh? Citation needed. Who made this claim? I RTFA and that line does not appear. I watched the video linked in TFA and that line was not spoken.

If this is really a statement from someone in the US Government, then who said it, and when?

My blood began to boil at the thought of someone in government saying such a thing. If this quote is true, this person is saying a passport is more precious than the flag of the USA, because there are at least some circumstances where it is legal to destroy a flag. But the whole passive voice thing and the total lack of attribution makes me wonder if this isn't just a made-up quote.

If it's for real, give us a real cite. Let's get a tidal wave of negative publicity pointed at the person who said this.

If it's not for real, let's not get all excited over nothing.

P.S. TFA quoted some guy as saying that the government has "no reason in the world" to let you fly if the passport has a damaged chip. He likened it to a passport with the photo cut out. But I don't really know exactly who this guy is or why we should give his opinion any weight. I don't know what the actual government policy is on a passport that is clearly readable, with numbers and barcodes and such all intact but a damaged chip; it's hard to imagine that this is the actual official government policy. And if it is, I'd like a citation of that, please.

steveha

Re:Strangely passive voice on that quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115545)

You didn't read the article very well then, did you. Or at least you didn't read with your brain engaged.

Also.. who the fuck said it was the US government making the claim? No one. Because the US government didn't make that claim.

Re:Strangely passive voice on that quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115595)

who the fuck said it was the US government making the claim? No one. Because the US government didn't make that claim.

Then who cares about the claim?

In other news, one person I talked to today said we will all die unless we stop driving our cars. You better stop driving your car! Oh thats right, you don't actually care what one random nutjob said, do you.

Don't think this is lawfull (1)

quax (19371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115395)

A US passport is still a valid federal document for the purpose of identification whether the RFID chip is broken or not.

I am not a lawyer but I think they have grounds to sue the airline for damages and I hope they do.

Re:Don't think this is lawfull (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115695)

Damages, hell, they should sue for injunctive relief to stop the airline interfering with citizens' right to travel!

What rubbish. (3, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115403)

The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport.

Well, that's a stupid fucking claim. Saying that one should respect an easily (relatively) replaceable inanimate object or lose a fundamental right is just the most pants-on-head stupid thing I've ever heard.

It's the kind of thing someone too stupid to understand abstract ideas views the world: "Oh, they want to burn the flag, that means they hate America" while being all the while unaware that prohibiting the exercise of free speech like flag burning is anathema to the founding principles of the US.

It's also stupid on its face - what possible benefit is gained from RFID other than convenience for immigration officials, and in what universe does that minor convenience outweigh the rights of citizens to travel or not?

Re:What rubbish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115497)

It only shows the disrespect for the passengers.

I'd really like the full information on what and who
caused this.
That's the easy way for all this nonsense to stop.

Boycott and Exposure.

jr

Privilege? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115411)

IANAL but I would be surprised if owning a passport falls under the category of a "privilege." I don't believe the U.S. government can deny a citizen a passport except for statutory cause, such as an outstanding warrant or similar court order against the applicant [nationalpassport.com] . If they can't turn you legally deny you a passport without due process, then it seems to me a legal right, not a "privilege."

Re:Privilege? (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115637)

Nope, it is a privilege. The US can deny applications for passports and the passport remains property of the US government meaning it is your responsibility to uphold the rules and regulations for holding the passport otherwise it can be revoked at any time. If you have a passport, read the fine print. While it is unlikely there should be any reason for the US not to grant a passport to a citizen in good standing, it is still a privilege and not a right and there is absolute no grey area when it comes to legal concerns.

It's always "Think of the children!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115455)

...Right up until they don't. Of course the bourgeoisie's tiresome "think of the children" excuse doesn't fool the educated or enlightened, but I'm consistently amazed at how transparent their bullshit is. They obviously couldn't possibly care about anything less than they do children - with the possible exception of brown people, I suppose. Why can't everyone see it? (rhetorical)

mo3 down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115467)

consider 3orthwhile while the project

How is a having a passport a privilege??????? (5, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115483)

"To have a passport is privilege, it's not entitled to you by citizenship," Priest said

The law disagrees completely - http://law.justia.com/cfr/title22/22-1.0.1.6.33.5.5.1.html [justia.com] . Note there are grounds for denying a passport, but there are also grounds for puttting you in prison - that doesn't mean not being in prison is a priviledge.

Or if you prefer statements made to the public of how the government interpretes the law:

Every United States citizen is entitled to a U.S. passport provided that they, or an adult acting on a child's behalf, comply with all applicable requirements, and that there is no statutory or regulatory reason to deny the passport.

        - http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppi/family/family_864.html [state.gov]

Heck it uses the word "entitled"!

Re:How is a having a passport a privilege??????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115701)

Another entitlement. Our country is going down the tubes!

Re:How is a having a passport a privilege??????? (4, Interesting)

E_Ron.Eous (2521544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115711)

The word entitled is used because travel is a right and has been recognized as a right as long as rights have been recognized. The right to travel is one of those rights covered under the 9th amendment.

First world problem? (1)

cniebla (158677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115525)

The pasport's chip was damaged. It could be very well changed or stolen with unlawful intent. It wasn't working. Period. So much for asking for a re-issue, thus a "first world problem". Move on, guys.

Airlines are responsible for you (1)

nibbles2004 (761552) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115543)

"The major issue: airlines are NOT immigrations officials!", no but i know that when i used to Travel to Asia , if you didn't have the correct visa or was ineligible for a landing visa, the Airline you arrived on was responsible for returning you and they would have to get that cost from the passenger. So Airlines wont will check the validity or eligibility for a visa/landing visa.

Privilege my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115575)

"Privilege my ass!" said the child as he sat on the passport.

Domestic or International? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115611)

Isn't there something in the constitution that lets American Citizens travel freely within all the ehr... about 50 states? I can see that it may be a problem if the family would be traveling international, since knowingly traveling with a "malfunctioning passport" may be interpreted as a non valid passport. You can have your questions about the validity of denying people to travel internationally just because some inferior piece of technology the government insisted on failed, but if it was a national flight, it's downright unconstitutional.

A bad chip is still a valid passport (5, Informative)

Vaerchi (637985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115623)

quoted from http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_2788.html#One [state.gov]

What will happen if my Electronic Passport fails at a port-of-entry?

The chip in the passport is just one of the many security features of the new passport. If the chip fails, the passport remains a valid travel document until its expiration date. You will continue to be processed by the port-of-entry officer as if you had a passport without a chip.

Come on (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115649)

Next you'll be executing 'terrorists' for farting in proximity of a flag.

Accidentally sat on the passport and broke it? (1)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39115675)

What??

1. What???
2. See number 1.

Passports in the US are good for 10 years. And if you do any amount of traveling they get a fair amount of use. Mine is around 5 years old now and it's showing it's age. Tattered edges, curled a bit. I sit on the thing all the time. I pretty much keep it on my person at all times when traveling. If you can "break" a passport by sitting on it (a child none-the-less!) then there is a serious design problem here.

Hell, I can sit on my phone without breaking the thing!

Heil TSA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115715)

need I say more

The Chip wasn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39115745)

Did anyone actually read the whole story? Misleading headline, slashdot summary, and incorrect comments here.

It wasn't the child's passport with the damaged chip that was the problem. It was the father's passport that was bad.

Still a crappy situation, but much different than "if you have a bad chip in your passport you can't travel"

"Little Kye’s passport has a crease on the back cover, which Gosnell says came from him accidentally sitting on the passport.

His passport was questioned, but not denied. It was Kyle Gosnell’s that was the real problem. It has a small crease on the back cover, and is overall weathered and worn."

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