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John Gilmore's Search for the Mandatory ID Law

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the when-making-things-easy-isn't-a-good-idea dept.

The Courts 1568

powerline22 writes "John Gilmore, the millionare who cofounded the EFF, has been prohibited from travelling because he refused to show an ID while boarding an airplane. He's been under this self-imposed ban since 2002. From the article: "The gate agent asked for his ID. Gilmore asked her why. It is the law, she said. Gilmore asked to see the law. Nobody could produce a copy. To date, nobody has. The regulation that mandates ID at airports is 'Sensitive Security Information.' The law, as it turns out, is unavailable for inspection. What started out as a weekend trip to Washington became a crawl through the courts in search of an answer to Gilmore's question: Why?"

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So (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798409)

How does he make his trips to Washington now? That's a long drive.

Let's be frank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798503)

Who wants to go to Washington, really? The transportation situation is mediocre at best and the weather is consistently horrid.

Re:Let's be frank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798527)

Are we talking about DC or state? Or both?

Re:Let's be frank (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798551)

Hmm. Well I was talking about DC. You may be on to something with state, though. I wouldn't really know, of course, since I've never been there, but I do hear the weather in Seattle is pretty depressing.

Why, indeed! (5, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798412)

"You've got to have rules, Jerry. Without rules there's chaos." - Kramer.

Re:Why, indeed! (0, Flamebait)

rafael_es_son (669255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798521)

i trully hope you're nine.

Favorite quote from TFA (3, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798581)

He was employee No. 5 at Sun Microsystems, which made Unix, the free software of the Web, the world standard.

WTF? I guess it is too much to ask for journalists to get a clue....

I like pie! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798413)

Pie pie pie!

Read what John himself says ... (5, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798415)

John's Home Page. [toad.com]

This writeup on Gilmore v. Ashcroft [papersplease.org] is kinda interesting too as is FreeToTravel.Org [freetotravel.org] that includes an FAQ from John [freetotravel.org] - all of this has been around for a while, but I guess the mainstream media just "re-discovered" John's story - don't think there has been any significant change in over a year (?)

Re:Read what John himself says ... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798516)

" don't think there has been any significant change in over a year "

His case is coming up for oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. His attorneys have begun to tour law schools, holding moot courts to practice. They begam this here at the UO Law school.

Unfortunately, John WAS allowed to travel w/o ID (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798639)

This very page [papersplease.org] says that he would have been allowed to travel at SFO without ID if he submitted to a search. That alone devastates the "secret ID law" claim, as allowing him to fly without ID, search or not, would have been in violation of that law. More here [slashdot.org] .

Because. (3, Interesting)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798423)

Good. 10 points for confounding the airport security. But, if you pulled the same thing with a highway patrol officer, I think you'd end up with handcuffs, not a copy of the law.

Sure, eventually someone would produce the law, but was it worth it?

I agree, this sounds suspicious, though. I wish I had the money to test such systems.

Re:Because. (5, Insightful)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798453)

Fair enough, but if a highway patrol officer stops you, it's assumed that you've done "something wrong". This is more like asking to see your ID and proof of insurence before they let you step into your car, or pull onto the road.

Re:Because. (5, Insightful)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798474)

No, the man is not concerned because nobody has taken the time to produce a copy of the law. It is my understanding that he is concerned because the law is being withheld from inspection.

Sure, the law is in print somewhere (ostensibly), but no layperson knows precisely what it says. In essence, we are being held accountable to rules that we cannot know.

Re:Because. (5, Insightful)

zackrentwood (828124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798479)

Sure, eventually someone would produce the law, but was it worth it?
This case is very different. With a highway cop you know what the laws are, some states require you to show ID (e.g. Nevada) and the Supreme Court recently upheld such laws. You can investigate those laws if you like, vote for or against them in you r home state and avoid states where they have such laws if you don't like them. In the Gilmore v. Ashcroft case, the "law" in question is actualy an agency rule. Rules passed by adminstrative agencies have the force of law, but are not created by adminstrators, not by representative bodies. This case is particularly noxious because the government is claiming that the law itself is a secret. You are not permitted to see the rule that binds you, you simply have to trust the TSA people that such a rule exists and that they are enforcing it fairly. We now live in a nation where we are bound by secret laws. I'm sure some of the tin-foil hat people can tell you why that's a bad thing.

Re:Because. (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798539)

No tinfoil hat required ... it's one of those things that if you have to ask why it's bad, you probably slept through history class.

Re:Because. (1)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798583)

...you probably slept through history class.

I slept through history class, and even I know it's bad. The problem is, it's really not the kind of thing people will contest, even though it only costs $99 to get a one way ticket from LA to NY.

Re:Because. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798558)

We now live in a nation where we are bound by secret laws. I'm sure some of the tin-foil hat people can tell you why that's a bad thing.

We're going to have to ask you to report to your nearest police station and turn yourself in. Theres a law about referring to certain articles of clothing on certain days (though we're prohibited from being specific. Its top secret stuff, you understand. You'll just have to trust us).

Re:Because. (2, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798599)

So at what point should we really be concerned about this? I think it's difficult to deny that the past 4 years have seen the most radical transformation of the federal government since the New Deal, if not since the end of the Civil War. I think this is of far greater concerns than any tax policy or even any inidividual war, but there has been little to no public questioning of the vast changes in the way our government operates.

So when does this stop being something bad just in concept? When should I start thinking about getting myself and my family out of here?

Re:Because. (1)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798675)

since the New Deal, if not since the end of the Civil War.

Excuse me. Remember the Cold War? I'd say this is about as radical a transformation since the Cold War, myself. Is this better or worse than the threat of communism or mutually assured destruction?

Personally, I'd rather see a bunch of camel riding bomb toting religious fanatics over a flash of light and "duck and cover" running in my brain as the last thing I see.

Re:Because. (1)

weighn (578357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798626)

You can [ ... ] vote for or against [those laws] in your home state

No. You can vote for representivies. And even that is assuming that there is a candidate brave enough to stand for social rights.

Re:Because. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798663)

Actually, that's assuming there's even more than one candidate bothering to run.

Re:Because. (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798552)

> But, if you pulled the same thing with a highway
> patrol officer, I think you'd end up with
> handcuffs, not a copy of the law.

A couple months ago I was reading one of the legal blogs where they were discussing an Appeals Court case where exactly that happened. The driver waved a copy of the law at the officer, who retreated to his squad car, downloaded the law and the governing court case, read through them, and came back and said "you're wrong" and arrested the driver. Wish I could remember the link ;-(

sPh

Re:Because. (1)

f1shlips (450124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798556)

Nope. Ask an officer to produce the law. He'll usually have a portable or pocket guide that summarizes the law in the context of his duties, but he should produce it. If he doesn't, ask for his sergeant. It'll take a while for him to show up, and you'll definatly get cited, but you can do it. I learned alot from riding with this man in California and Nevada: http://usff.com/quig/

Re:Because. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798560)

Sure, eventually someone would produce the law, but was it worth it?

Are you a US citizen? Isn't America the land of the free, and the home of the brave? I guess some people are willing to lay down more for their principles than others. (And honestly, I don't think I would have the guts to challenge this stuff like Mr. Gilmor has.)

Re:Because. (1)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798625)

I don't think I would have the guts to challenge this stuff like Mr. Gilmor has.

Oh, an anonymous coward is making a personal attack against me. Well ... you fight like a cow. ;-)

The truth is, I don't have the guts (or pocket-book) to challenge this stuff like Mr. Gilmore has. Nether to most people. I'm glad he did, and I would love it if more people would. And your point?

Come now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798427)

Can't we be a little more original then quoting the first paragraph of the article into the slashdot post?

Re:Come now... (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798547)

i'd say quoting the first paragraph is better than a sensational headline and intro from a submitter with a bias that doesn't tell the truth about the article.

but it's slashdot and you aren't going to make everyone happy....which i guess is why the editors just post whatever they find in their inbox.

Re:Come now... (1)

rafael_es_son (669255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798557)

it would look like someone's stories are getting REJECTED.

Ho Chi Minh beard (5, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798431)

Maybe the memory is still lingering?

But seriously, is $30 million enough for such lawsuit? Didn't we just read that a session of 'Trek costs $32 million??

Apt Quote? (2, Funny)

deutschemonte (764566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798436)

The quote at the bottom of Slashdot says "Our way is peace."

Sounds like all the explaination you will get from this administration.

Re:Apt Quote? (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798600)

It would be pretty hard for this administration to say that with a straight face.

Private Company... (3, Insightful)

numLocked (801188) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798439)

Airlines are private companies...can't they require whatever the hell they want? A company doesn't need a law to back showing IDs. They can't ask you for your social security #, but ID is fine as far as I know.

Re:Private Company... (2, Insightful)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798489)

I won't swear to it, but airlines are bound by federal regulations. If they have it in writing either within those rules and regs, or they have you sign a contract prior to paying for the ticket, there's a justifiable, identifiable reason involved.

I haven't been on a plane for 15+ years, what are the written rules for passangers?

Re:Private Company... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798494)

as far as you know WRONGLY.

Re:Private Company... (2, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798500)

You are correct, however I would expect that it would be fraud for an airline to claim that federal law requires passengers to show their ID's just to conform to company policy. More likely the FAA or DHS told the airlines to do so, so the blame will end up going back to them... for now.

Re:Private Company... (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798661)

You mean like the cell phone companies did with the number portability fees? Their story is the FCC said they could recoup these costs so they turned around and modified everyones phones contract to add another $1-$3/month claiming an "FCC recovery/pooling/portability fee". How in the hell can the FCC give a private company that you have a contract with the right to do that? The carriers want the long contracts to tie you in but seem to have the ability to modify those contracts at will to benefit themselves when the cost of providing you service goes up and the government agencies are providing the backup to allow it. That is fraud! I know off topic but everytime I think of that, I get frustrated.

Re:Private Company... (2, Informative)

xarius76 (826419) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798505)

Airlines are private corporations yes. However the majority of the people asking for your ID's work for the TSA, which is a government agency included under the umbrella of homeland security.

Re:Private Company... (1)

robw810 (819414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798512)

IF the airlines were TRULY private companies, then I would be in full agreement with you - they COULD require whatever they want as a condition of using their privately owned equipment. HOWEVER, airlines are effectively government-run companies due to the extensive regulations imposed upon them. So long as they are being operated by the federal government, they are (or should be) bound to adhere to the Constitutional limitations on that same government. Of course, IF the government actually operated within its Constitutional limitations, we wouldn't be having this discussion... RW

Re:Private Company... (2, Informative)

f1shlips (450124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798534)

Sure they can ask for your SS#. The only regulations (at this moment) regarding SS numbers are aimed at regulating what the government can do with them.

http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs10-ssn.htm

Re:Private Company... (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798618)

Gilmore specifically asked whether it was a company law or a govt law. He was told eventually that it was a govt regulation but he was not allowed to know what that regulation was.

Good on him! (1)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798447)

Somebody has to make a point of standing up to the phantom menace. Sounds a bit like this [slashdot.org] .

Old Soviet rules... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798449)

I always thought the old Soviet Union required authorisation for its citizens to travel between towns and provinces/states. Of course this is not the case on a free country ;)?

Oh, I see... Security means less privacy, according to some, uh?

Re:Old Soviet rules... (1)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798579)

Good point, but even the new Soviet Union aka Russia has laws requiring it's citizens to carry an internal passport. Something you'll producing to police and security types several times a day if you look "Asian".

Re:Old Soviet rules... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798605)

I drove from NYC to Boston the other weekend. There was no authorization required. I just went and did it.

Oh I see, I just totally trashed your idiotic comparison. Excuse me while I go take my victory lap.

fwf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798457)

I can see the need to produce a passport for international travel, but I have refused to show my passport for intranational travel just fine, a driver's license or national ID does it. And when you buy the ticket they do tell you to show up at the airport with ID usually, I did ask to see the rule about it to a travel agent and she gave me a webpage to look at.

Article says what? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798465)

Sun Microsystems created Unix? Article wtf.

No progress lately? (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798467)

Unfortunately the legal page [papersplease.org] hasn't been updated since November 2004. So what's happenin' John? Has things stalled? Has there been any more progress? If so, can you update the legal page? We are listening, and we do care. Our attention spans are longer than the average person. Why the silence?

It's getting out of hand. (2, Insightful)

bburton (778244) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798470)

Does anybody know how much ID you need to get a driver's license? My little brother went to get his, and I guess they require like 4 separate forms of ID. How can they resonably expect a highschooler to have 4 different forms of ID? AND they wouldn't except his school ID. He ended up having to bring in his birth certificate and everything.

How much is too much?

Re:It's getting out of hand. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798515)

I'm from Ontario. All I need is a birth certificate, or baptismal certificate. As far as I know, until recently at least, Quebec didn't even give birth certificates. Your baptismal certificate was your birth certificate.

Re:It's getting out of hand. (1)

Hack Jandy (781503) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798665)

Fraud itself has been incredibly easy to do via obtaining fake drivers licenses. A credit card and/or passport are your portal to any sorts of "legally" obtained fake identification. Consider the following scenario:
1.) Show up to DMV with someone else's SS card.
2.) Get passport with "new" drivers license.
3.) Get credit card with new found forms of ID.
4.) Profit!
Does it suck that you need more than 2 forms of ID to get a DL? Probably. Does it curb fraud? Absolutely. Ever hear the song "Hell Yeah" by the Dead Presidents?

Re:It's getting out of hand. (1)

chills42 (750137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798528)

they wouldn't accept it...

Re:It's getting out of hand. (1)

Rangsk (681047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798572)

In California, to get a driver's license all you need is 1 item that has your proof of birthdate and legal presence in the US (such as your birth certificate) and proof that you have a Social Security Number (SSN card works) or that you are legally present in the US, but inelligable for an SSN. I don't see this as unreasonable at all, since there is an age requirement to drive, as well as that you have to be a legal resident of the US to get a US driver's license.

More info at:
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#SSN

so what? im sick of these headlines... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798473)

i dont give a shit about what X loser critic thinks about Y.

man, screw john gilmore

So there's no law... (2, Insightful)

nachoboy (107025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798484)

The agent misspoke, and there's no law requiring travelers to show ID. It's still perfectly within reason for airlines/airports to request identification for passengers - if only to ensure that the ticket was sold to the same person making use of it. Don't like it? Don't fly. If you want to take a stand on something, why not those ridiculous security stations I'm forced to walk through barefoot?

Re:So there's no law... (2)

zackrentwood (828124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798520)

If this is the case, why is Ashcroft & Co. representing that there is such a rule, but that the rule is classified information and cannot be disclosed to the public?

Re:So there's no law... (1)

nachoboy (107025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798589)

My point is that even without a law, this behavior is perfectly reasonable and occurred even before this mystery law was put in place. The law isn't what's causing the behavior, so why devote so much effort into reversing it?

Re:So there's no law... (2, Insightful)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798643)

Point one: The request for ID was never mandatory; the airlines had been fighting for it to be mandatory for some time, since they didn't want tickets to be transferrable.

Point two: The request for ID by itself is not as serious, in many people's minds, as the fact that we are bound by regulations that we are not allowed to know.

Re:So there's no law... (3, Insightful)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798648)

There is a law, the TSA acknowledged that there was a law. Did you read the article?

Yikes (0, Offtopic)

bebing (624220) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798493)

"He was employee No. 5 at Sun Microsystems, which made Unix, the free software of the Web, the world standard."

Re:Yikes (1)

Jesus 2.0 (701858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798588)

People seem to be interpreting this as "Sun, which made UNIX, which is X, and which is Y".

However, it can also be parsed as "Sun, which made UNIX (which is X) into Y".

The latter, while highly debatable to say the least, is at least opinion rather than misstatement of fact.

Dude! wtf? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798504)

If I was driving down the freeway one day, following all the rules, going the speed limit, and a police officer pulls me over for "a traffic violation", but is not willing to tell me what this "traffic violation is", wouldn't I have reason to question why?

Unfortunately, in reality (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798631)

If I was driving down the freeway one day, following all the rules, going the speed limit, and a police officer pulls me over for "a traffic violation", but is not willing to tell me what this "traffic violation is", wouldn't I have reason to question why?

Only if you're white

I consider myself pretty liberal (-1)

Jesus 2.0 (701858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798511)

And chances are, the average American would consider me wacky far liberal. But this is just ridiculous.

He's not prohibited to travel. He's prohibited to travel via the services of a private company without accepting their policies for use of their services.

He could drive. He could buy a plane. He could walk. He could hitchhike, for goodness' sake. He could even start a private airline company that doesn't require ID.

Re:I consider myself pretty liberal (4, Insightful)

robw810 (819414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798616)

He could even start a private airline company that doesn't require ID

No, he can't - the federal government mandates that all airlines require identification. As I stated in another post, IF the airline were TRULY a private business imposing certain requirements on potential customers, THEN this would be acceptable. As it stands, however, the airline is a de facto corporation of the federal government.

Since you consider yourself a liberal, I'll take this opportunity to say "thank you" - you guys are the ones that have always clamored for more government involvement in everything.

RW

Re:I consider myself pretty liberal (3, Insightful)

zackrentwood (828124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798622)

He could drive. He could buy a plane. He could walk. He could hitchhike, for goodness' sake. He could even start a private airline company that doesn't require ID.


I'm pretty sure that it's illegal to drive without ID in most if not every state.

The FAA requires that you carry positive ID along with your Airman's Certificate (their gender-charged language, not mine) whenever operating an aircraft

Walking is an impractical method of moving around the country at this point in history, requiring people who don't want to show ID to walk would preclude them from many types of job.

Hitchiking is illegal in every state where i've bothered to research the law.

If he starts a private airline company then he will be subject to the rules of the FAA or TSA and have to impose the same requirements.

He actually has a pretty good point.

Re:I consider myself pretty liberal (5, Insightful)

multiplexo (27356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798623)

Did you bother reading the fine article? You did, Oh, are you one of those individuals who does poorly in reading comprehension tests? You must be, because if you had read the article you would have found out that Gilmore has epilepsy and lost his driver's license because of it. If you had bothered to read the article you also would have found out that the airlines claimed that it was not their policy but one they were forced to comply with by the federal government. Also the airlines are not allowed to just adopt any policy they like, as an example if an airline said "we don't like niggers and we don't let them on our planes" they'd be grounded pretty quickly by the federal government. Of course the federal government says that there is a policy but that we, the people who the federal government ostensibly serve, and who actually pay for the federal government, are not allowed to see it. If you can't see the danger in having the government create and enforce secret laws that the citizenry is expected to follow but not allowed to read then you're even dumber than your post makes you out to be. Who is to say that there isn't a secret law on the books that would allow me to come out to your house and hook some electrodes up to your nuts and show you all of the fun things that went on in Abu Ghraib? There might be a rule on the books that allows me to do this, but it's sensitive security information, so you can't see it, now shut up and stop screaming before I turn the voltage up even higher.

There are some people who are smart enough to be bothered by the whole concept of having a bunch of government bureaucrats enforcing secret and unwritten laws on an unknowing populace and then there are stupid bastards such yourself who aren't much higher on the intellectual food chain than say a retarded steer, or perhaps a particularly bright carp.

Re:I consider myself pretty liberal (1)

shaun (29783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798624)

Did you even read the article?

oh, why do I bother? You retards deserve to live in a police state.

Re:I consider myself pretty liberal (5, Insightful)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798644)

You would be correct, except:

TSA agents, who are *government* employees, are telling him he has to show ID because it's the law.

Airline officials are *not* saying that this is company policy; they are saying it is US law.

He is asking to see said law. No one will show it to him. Private laws are *not* something we should be saying "Oh, well that's okay then" towards; they lead in exactly the wrong direction.

Bullet, meet foot. Foot, this is bullet. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798524)

This sort of thing always annoys me. I'm basically a liberal in my views, but that doesn't mean I'm an idiot. I advocate defending civil rights and liberties, and I'm pretty unconvinced by much of the recent erosion that's been done in the name of the "war on terror", but not to the extent that I put not offending someone's sensibilities ahead of an obvious-to-five-year-olds security risk.

Complaining about people trying to confirm basic identity details in a context where there is a well-known, genuine and, sadly, sometimes fulfilled threat is just the worst kind of anal retention. It does nothing to improve respect for civil rights; on the contrary, it diminishes the impact of any protest against genuinely over-the-line behaviour "for security purposes". This idiot should be grounded -- I don't care who he is -- and it would be better for all concerned if the media didn't give him any more attention either. People like him given civil rights organisations a bad name.

Re:Bullet, meet foot. Foot, this is bullet. (4, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798608)

They are claiming that the law requires they do this while at the same time refusing to point out what law does.

One can not have a Democracy if the laws are hidden from the people.

Re:Bullet, meet foot. Foot, this is bullet. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798645)

They are claiming that the law requires they do this while at the same time refusing to point out what law does.

Yes, and that is wrong in itself, but you shouldn't need a law to tell you to use your common sense regardless of any other legal issues.

You're right. But wrong. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798632)

You are exactly right.

But exactly wrong too!

Perhaps there should be a law so that you have to prove who you are to board an airplane. I'm not sure about that.

But if that is the case, then a law should be passed. If its really that important, congress should simply pass a law. They could do it in one day if it was important.

But they haven't passed such a law. Isn't that interesting?

Isn't it even more interesting that the government claims there is such a law, but that its too secret to tell you about? Doesn't that make you *the least bit interesting* in what the hell is going on?

Where do you draw the line? If the police asked you for papers when you crossed from one state to the other, but couldn't tell you under what authority, would you simply brush it off? Seriously, where will you draw the line?

In other news, congress is trying to get bigger fines on broadcasters in case they say "anal sex" on the air.

Re:Bullet, meet foot. Foot, this is bullet. (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798654)

So it doesn't bother you that you are subject to laws that you don't even have the right to *look at*? That is what this case is about, in case you didn't RTFA. You have a secret law which arguably curtails your constitutional rights. Letting stuff like that stuff slide is very, very dangerous. It makes a mockery out of the whole idea of government by the people, for the people.

It's not really about terrorism. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798530)

I have a friend who is doing 26 years in federal prison for drugs. He and his associates drew the attention of federal authorities in part because of air travel habits.

Forcing people to show ID will help the feds make cases. It's not going to stop terrorists. They can get fake IDs.

Re:It's not really about terrorism. (1)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798629)

That sounds like a better reason NOT to check for ID. We'd save money on prison space for those who shouldn't be there.

why? (0)

usgrant (166786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798536)

Why ask why for the sake of asking? He knows very well why they ask to see IDs. This sounds like a question a junior high student would ask. If he thinks this is a valid, intrinsic form of protest, then I guess we should allow him to waste his time with it.

New slant ... (4, Insightful)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798541)

... on the rule that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". It would be amusing if it were not so tragic. Here are people enforcing laws against others with neither party aware of the full wording of the law.

Here is a law, furthermore, that was not passed in accordance with the constitution. We have faceless individuals deciding on controls on everyday movement and almost no questioning of their right to do so.

I am actually surprised Mr Gilmore has not asked for a court injunction asking either for proof that such a law exists (and its text) or for the regulation to be lifted.

Just because it may not be a law... (0, Flamebait)

NightWulf (672561) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798542)

Why do people have to create problems with it. I'm not endoering blind faith of what is told to you, but let's be reasonable here. This is an airport where there's a chance very dangerous people can do something. Yes, the 9/11 hijackers did have valid ID and they got through, but the issue is chekcing for valid ID's are better than nothing at all. It angers me that elitists like this feel the need to screw around to prove their point. 'Oh god, they check for ID at the airport, the next step is concentration camps!' This is really a story about a guy with too little brains and too much time on his hands. Nobody is getting hurt, and it's very little inconvienece to hopefully make the airlines safer.

Re:Just because it may not be a law... (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798619)

The problem isn't with airlines demanding to see your ID when there isn't a law that requires them to. The problem is that there apparently *is* such a law, but we aren't allowed to read it. Requiring that you show your driver's license to a ticket agent is a minor annoyance. Enforcing laws that the people aren't allowed to read is fascism at it's finest.

Re:Just because it may not be a law... (1)

Steffan (126616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798652)

The point is not that one may be requested to show ID. There's not necessarily anything unusual about such a requirement. The issue at stake is that if there is such a law, then it should be stated explicitly as such, and available for public viewing. Is is unreasonable to expect citizens to comply with secret laws.

Re:Just because it may not be a law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798662)

There are so many things wrong with this attitude, but then again, it's hard to appreciate the value of things for which we haven't had to fight.

Well poop on YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798543)

If he wants a copy of the law, then he is allowed use of a library and/or attorney. Gate agents shouldn't have to produce copies of every single law to enforce, thats just a part of keeping travelers safe. It is YOUR own duty to know the laws, and if they seem confusing to you then YOU seek them out. Don't require others to jump through hoops because you are ignorant and want to be proven every societal consequence that comes your way.

Re:Well poop on YOU! (1)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798609)

RTFA. The law is not publicly available.

Re:Well poop on YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798658)

But they should be able to point you to the source of the law or to authority who will show the source. Otherwise you could just claim they made it up, and disregard them.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse! (5, Insightful)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798549)

Next thing you know, you'll want to be innocent until proven guilty and question witnesses.

ObCatch-22 quote (5, Insightful)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798559)

"What right did they have?" said Capt.Yossarian

"Catch-22." said the old woman

"What?" Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt his whole body begin to tingle. "What did you say?"

"Catch-22," the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. "Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Capt. Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest.

"Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. "Didn't you even make them read it?"

They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to."

"What law says they don't have to?"

"Catch-22." The old woman said.

Joseph Heller, Catch-22 [straightdope.com]

Re:ObCatch-22 quote (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798672)

Heh-heh. I thought the same thing [slashdot.org] -- but you got the better quote, and faster too.

-kgj

Laws (5, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798562)

I don't know about you guys, but I've always felt that if you are going to be restricted by rules and laws, those rules and laws need to be available for your viewing.

I mean, the reason people go to law school and the reason pay lawyers so much money is because the law is something that needs to be done BY THE LETTER. It sounds like the airlines want us just to abide by the spirit of the law.

And while I personally wish society were at point where we COULD just go by the spirit of things, we are not there yet, and so in order to protect OUR rights, and OUR safety, we need to be able to view these laws and make certain we're not getting screwed over.

Gates Selling Unix? (1)

axonal (732578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798569)

"The company's founder, a Harvard dropout named Bill Gates, was selling Unix, a universal software on which the Internet would be based"

Who Made Unix? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798590)

"He was employee No. 5 at Sun Microsystems, which made Unix, the free software of the Web, the world standard. "

Who made Unix? I thought it was SCO?

It reminds me. . . (5, Insightful)

Bastian (66383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798595)

It reminds me of when my town's high school started making kids wear their sudent ID's around their necks in response to Columbine, with the stated purpose of trying to prevent such a situation in our town by discouraging unauthorized people from entering the school.

Only problem is, there has not been a school shooting I know if that was not perpetrated by a student who is authorized to be at that school.

Same thing with airplanes. "Ha ha, you dumb terrorists! Now you have to prove you bought the ticket to get on the airplane!" I'm sure this inconveniences them much more than it inconveniences me when getting on an airplane. In fact, I bet it inconveniences them so much that they would scrub years or decades of planning. Sure, I get on an airplane once every couple months, and it hasn't made life too much harder for me, but somehow it's magically different for terrorists.

Real reason why he can't travel... (1)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798598)

Those metal bill o' rights [eff.org] aren't allowed through the security checkpoints...

"Lose" your ID (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798603)

Ticket Agent: May I see your ID?

Me: I'm sorry, I lost my wallet somewhere. All I have is some cash until I get everything replaced. You have no idea just how difficult this has been.

Ticket agent: Okay, you'll have to go thru some extra screening, though. [Meaning a guaranteed wanding, remove shoes, etc.]

Me: Okay.

Been there, done that. It works.

Of course, I actually DID lose my wallet on that trip, but the principle is the same.

-Charles

Except that he could travel by air without ID (-1, Flamebait)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798612)

First of all, his primary question is: Do citizens currently need to show ID in order to travel in their own country?

The answer is a resounding "no". He is free to travel by foot, bike, motorcycle, car, boat, or other device himself while not violating applicable pedestrian or traffic laws, or by bus or train, entirely anonymously.

Further, in his quest to "expose" this situation, he found at one of the largest airports in the country, San Francisco International Airport, that he WAS indeed allowed to fly without ID (if he submitted to a search).

Second, because some unnamed worker for United Airlines "told him" that there was a "secret law", are we to believe that there is, then, such a "law"? That a random United Airlines employee is the ultimate fount of information on this topic? The fact that SFO would indeed allow him to fly with no ID negates his claim that ID is required by a "secret law" on its face.

Further, claims variously made by privacy advocates assert that showing ID is worthless; that the September 11 hijackers all had valid, government issued photo ID. Sure they did. But some form of identification, fake or not, gives authorities a place to start in an investigation, rather than nothing at all.

But please, even in light of that, remember: he WAS allowed to fly with no ID at SFO, and chose not to. I expect that he thought he'd find he would be denied everywhere, but then still chose not to fly at SFO simply because he didn't want to be searched and so it wouldn't stop his little "Achtung! Papers, please!" stunt before it started. That's his choice. And if you'd argue against a search, then you might as well argue against ALL security measures at airports.

Gilmore's whole assertion rests on the claim that there is, in fact, a secret law requiring a person to show ID to fly.

He already proved to himself that this was false, as he says in his own description of events that SFO would have allowed him to fly with no ID if he submitted to a search. He chose not to. If there WERE a "secret law" requiring ID, San Francisco International Airport would not have allowed him to fly without ID, as they were going to let him do.

Ridiculously, his whole claim about this "secret law" is because some random, unnamed United Airlines employee told him there was. Huh? So all of the ticket agents and working slobs within the airlines are just amazingly informed on these topics? I think not.

There are some discrepancies here, most likely because of lack of communication or lack of proper specific words used to define things. First, I have no problem believing that the TSA directives are secret. But they're not "laws". That's why they're called security "directives". These directives instruct the airlines and airports in terms of how to handle security; they're not arbitrary requirements that passengers must submit to or know about ahead of time: they are guidelines and directives for the handling of security issues, some routine and some special or time-specific, within airport and airline processes. That's the TSA's job. And didn't we call for the federalization of airport security?

However, I've seen nothing that indicates there is ANY such "secret law", and the fact that SFO - the second airport he tried - would indeed allow him to fly with no ID devastates his claim.

I'm glad he's asking these questions, but I wish he'd be less sensationalistic and tinfoil-hat about it - especially since his primary claim is that he can't travel anonymously, which is not only tremendously wrong considering there are so many other public and private means to travel with no ID, but also because, to repeat, he would indeed have been able to fly with no ID.

Yes, all the 9/11 hijackers had valid IDs. So what? The ID requirement doesn't pretend to "prevent" issues; it's simply a place to start for investigators AFTER an incident, regardless of whether the IDs were real or fake...enabling investigators to get a list of names (again, real or not), issuing agencies for the IDs, and sometimes even pictures (which are many times real, even if the ID itself is fake). This information could be critical to an investigation when other lives may be at stake.

But, in case this point is lost on you, HE ALREADY FOUND HE COULD TRAVEL, BY PLANE, WITHOUT ID.

Catch-22 (0, Redundant)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798647)

The law, as it turns out, is unavailable for inspection.

This reminds me, somehow, of Catch-22 [google.com] :
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.


"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
Then again, a law so secret that I can't know the law ... that's the Star Chamber [google.com] all over again.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ...."

-kgj

This is the line? (2, Interesting)

evolutionaryLawyer (838264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798653)

So let's see, the government can have a secret court issue a secret subpoena and go to my ISP to see all of my online activity. Screw the ISP, they can come into MY HOUSE without my knowledge do whatever they want and leave, and this is (purportedly) legal?

Our government is giving prisoners over to other governments with horrible human rights records just so they can torture them, because we have laws against it. We have a government that has suspended habeas corpus, one of the few civil rights the framers thought was so important that it was in the constitution without an amendment.

All of this is being done to fight the "war on terror". And the thing he decides to protest is being asked to show ID? Wow...

Foreigners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798657)

And foreigners choose other countries for their vacations and studies. No wonder... who wants to be treated as a criminal just because the government in "the land of the free" has grown paranoid.

Alert! Falsehoods! (3, Funny)

Eil (82413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798669)


From TFA:

"He was employee No. 5 at Sun Microsystems, which made Unix, the free software of the Web, the world standard."

Waitaminute. They're actually saying that:
  • Sun made Unix (AT&T made Unix)
  • Unix is the "free software of the web," (I'd say Apache, Linux, or FreeBSD would make better examples, Unix(tm) is kproprietary)
  • Unix is "the world standard" (eh? Windows seems like it would be more of a world standard, even if we don't like it.)


Three complete falsehoods in one sentence! Is this country great or what?

Damn good article! (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798671)

This was a very thought provoking article. On one hand I would like to say "Screw the government! We're Americans!" But... the price of totally being independent of a government identity card means giving up a lot conviences.
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