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Flying Faster Without ID

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-feel-so-safe dept.

528

jjh37997 writes "A Homeland Security's privacy advisory committee member finds that flying without a photo ID is actually faster than traveling with proper identification. According to Wired the committee member, Jim Harper, accepted a bet from civil liberties rabble-rouser John Gilmore to test whether he could actually fly without showing identification. He found that traveling without ID allowed him to bypass the long security lines at San Francisco's International Airport, and get in faster than if he had provided his driver's license."

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Lucky Him (2, Insightful)

GregStevensLA (976873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504809)

Good thing he's white.

Re:Lucky Him (3, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504855)

Exactly; somehow I am guessing if he had olive skin and claimed to be from the middle east, there would have been a slight delay before the hour long full body cavity search.

Re:Lucky Him (4, Insightful)

Hentai (165906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504865)

Well, white, "normal looking", and with signs of reasonable affluence.

As with all things, it helps to look sharp - whenever you find yourself in a potentially dodgy situation, stop and ask yourself, "how expensive of a lawyer do I look like I can afford?"

Re:Lucky Him (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504942)

I think this whole "white" thing is a little exaggerated. I'm orignally from Pakistan, look very middle eastern and travel through SFO all the time and have never been checked. Infact I travel all the time with my "white" British friend who has been checked thrice. He then got ticked off and shaved his beard :)

Re:Lucky Him (4, Insightful)

Corbets (169101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504990)

I fail to see how the grandparent, which simply said "Good thing he's white" can be modded +5 insightful while this AC post, which actually provides a little bit of information (an anecdote, at least) can be modded 0. Looks to me like Slash has a little racism going on (or reverse racism, if you like - it's all the same shit to me).

If you read this, have mod points, and agree, please mod the parent up a bit instead of me. ;-)

Re:Lucky Him (3, Insightful)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505108)

it isn't because of any racism, it is because an AC posted it.

Re:Lucky Him (3, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505050)

That's because "profiling" - you know, exercising actual forensic science, is DoublePlusUnGood in today's society because a minority might get "offended." Of course you don't want to offend anyone, that's not the goal. The goal is supposed to be to identify and check the most likely suspects, regardless of what the profile characteristics might be; the fact that in this particular case it's middle-eastern ancestry and subscribing to Islam is just an unfortunate thing. To search whitey just to be PC and not be accused of "racial profiling" is just plain ridiculous, because the truth is it IS racial profiling, based in forensics. Yes, we know most Muslims are not terrorists, most scorn the violence (evangelism via force) that Mohammed embraced for a short time in his life, but the fact is that most of the terrorists are Arabs, so it only makes sense to focus scruitiny there.

(of course some uppity over-sensitive PC nitwit will mod this "flamebait" or some BS)

Re:Lucky Him (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505085)

I've heard similar stories. In the company I work for the director of R&D is origionally from Iran (and looks it), and the CEO is a white guy from the east coast of the US. They occasionally go on trips and whenever they fly it is always the CEO who ends up getting checked.

Re:Lucky Him (3, Funny)

mozumder (178398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504960)

And sometimes it helps to look really ghetto. In college I once got stopped by a cop for doing an illegal u-turn, and he looked at me, looked at my old '81 Honda, and said "Do you think you can afford a ticket for that?". Then he let me go.

Re:Lucky Him (4, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505075)

And sometimes it helps to look dumb.

My brother drove into a lake after passing three "Road Closed" signs. The officer who came to investigate asked my bro to join him in his patrol car, where he proceeded to flip through a thick book of traffic law/traffic violations.

After about a half-hour the trooper said, "Well, I'm not going to give you a ticket 'cause there just isn't a law for being stupid."

Ouch.

Re:Lucky Him (4, Insightful)

poincaraux (114797) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504962)

Having a reporter watching the whole thing probably didn't hurt.

Re:Lucky Him (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504882)

... and doesn't look like a hippie troublemaker [google.com] .

Re:Lucky Him (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504893)

I gotta admit, that was one thing that struck me when I read this article.

Leaving out the race-card for the moment, just the fact that this guy was part of the TSA and that he was accompanied by a reporter smelled of 'set-up' to me. He announced that he would take the challenge, went home, made a few phone calls to let everyone know what was happening so that the next day, when he showed up at the airport, everything would go smoothly.

I'll be more interested to see what happens when a few "regular citizens" try this.

Re:Lucky Him (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504921)

Why?

White people under the guise of trying to be PC get searched much much more often.
To the point of being absurd.

I dont think the 80 year old with the knitting needle is gonna hijack this plain.

I dont know what airports you go to, but most are afraid to search the arab looking guy because of a lawsuit for profiling.

Re:Lucky Him (0, Redundant)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504945)

er plane. damn me for trying to reply to quick

Re:Lucky Him (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505009)

reply "too" quick. :)

Re:Lucky Him (1)

GregStevensLA (976873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504974)

"White people under the guise of trying to be PC get searched much much more often"
Cite your source for this claim, please.

Re:Lucky Him (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504992)

Go to the airport once and you will quite clearly see that white people get searched quite frequently and it is blatantly obvious they are doingto keep a high ratio so that the media doesnt run with a story about how middle easterners are being "targeted"

Re:Lucky Him (1)

butterwise (862336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505126)

"...white people get searched quite frequently..."

Ummm, you don't think it has to do with a higher percentage of white people, do you?

Re:Lucky Him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504982)

I dont know what airports you go to, but most are afraid to search the arab looking guy because of a lawsuit for profiling.
Which airports in which parallel universe are you talking of?

Re:Lucky Him (0, Redundant)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505004)

The entire US.

Have you even been to the airport lately or are you just assuming that people of middle eastern descent are being picked on.

Let's see, if you were a security guard, would you choose to profile middle easterners, get sued, and lose everything, or just pick random white people so that no one can claim racism...

Re:Lucky Him (2, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505030)

I saw a little old lady *in a wheelchair* get searched at Chicago Midway airport. I felt much safer afterwards.

Re:Lucky Him (1)

bombadillo (706765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504958)

That is the best leading slashdot post I have ever seen!

Hell no... (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505019)

I'm a mid-20's white male and I get pulled over for "random inspections" more often than "random" ...

Re:Hell no... (3, Funny)

VAXcat (674775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505113)

Oh boohoo...you get searched every now and then at the airport. When I was in my 20s, we (if we were hip looking, ie had long hair) used to get beaten up on a regular basis...now those were hard days of real government oppression...

Re:Hell no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15505168)

Shut up you crusty burnout

Uh oh... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504812)

You mean all the ranting and raving about this "needing ID to fly" has been meaningless?

Well, I say welcome... it's been meaningless to me for a while. :)

Re:Uh oh... (1)

consonant (896763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504870)

You mean all the ranting and raving about this "needing ID to fly" has been meaningless? Pretty much. I'd rather evolve wings and fly..

You still need ID to purchase a ticket (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504987)

Try buying a new ticket after having your ID and ticket stolen. Try getting on a plane as a scruffy but white late twenty something with a one way ticket and no ID. Let's just call the process "Hours and hours of non-consensual fun," and leave it at that.

not that shocking... (5, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504821)

...I know people like to think that it's now so much more secure; but if you don't "look like a terrorist" (which usually means of middle eastern origin) you can get through pretty quick. I went from England to holland and never had to show anything but the colour of my passport (which is bugandy - the English colour) and the fact that I am white and middle class. That was all they cared about. I know a lot of people won't like that the world sometimes works like this (I don't), and I'm expecting people won't want to hear it either...

Re:not that shocking... (1)

Dj-Zer0 (576280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504869)

but if you don't "look like a terrorist" (which usually means of middle eastern origin)
If i am not mistaken That is called Racial Profiling. Also i am not from middle-east but my skin is brown i still get discreminated against in airports. I think the checks should be done randomly not based on what color your skin is.

Re:not that shocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15505008)

If i am not mistaken That is called Racial Profiling. Also i am not from middle-east but my skin is brown i still get discreminated against in airports. I think the checks should be done randomly not based on what color your skin is.

Brilliant! I agree that we should be frisking an 80 year old grandma just the same as a Middle Eastern man of 18-34 years of age who is in good physical condition (the characteristics shared by over 95% of terrorists). I mean, airport security isn't really for protection. It is so that every person can have the chance to be violated equally. Viva political correctness!

The hillarious thing is this: people like you actually think we can fight terrorists by a war of attrition. If we just use enough of our resources, we'll eventually stop them all. Riiight.

Re:not that shocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504880)

I know people like to think that it's now so much more secure; but if you don't "look like a terrorist"

Is this really so shocking? We're at war with middle eastern Islamic terrorists not white people. Why should a white family be harassed when the people on the watch lists are usually non-white? It has nothing to do with being racist, but it has everything to do with being efficient. If I gave you a bin and told you to pick out all the baseballs and golf balls, would you bother pulling out basketballs or footballs? Of course not. You profile your target and narrow it down from there.

Re:not that shocking... (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504973)

well you say we are at war... but I remember the war ending

Besides, you seem to have little understanding about the nature of terrorism. In my country (the UK) we've had quite a bit of terrorism over the last thousand years... only one round of deadly attacks have been carried out by non-whites. Thousands of people have been killed by white people in the PIRA (who have also tried to kill the prime minister - and were nearly successful) as well as killing from the UDA/UVF/Real IRA/old IRA. Not to mention that but Guy Fawkes was white - he tried to kill all the members of the House of Lords and the king...

Are you seeing a pattern here.
One attack by non-whites does not mean that they are all terrorists. The evidence says that you should, if anything, be stopping white people.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504979)

We're at war with middle eastern Islamic terrorists not white people. Why should a white family be harassed when the people on the watch lists are usually non-white?

So if we go with your plan, all the terrorists have to do is find one white Chechen to join up, and they can walk right on the plane with a bomb while innocent Arabs (and people mistaken for Arabs) have their privacy invaded.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504881)

Just wait until someone who doesn't fit the standard profile does something naughty, or is coerced into doing something naughty (blow up the plane or your family dies!). Then it is full body cavity searches for everyone.

Re:not that shocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504991)

blow up the plane or your family dies!


Been watching too many movies lately? There are white muslims too. I'm sure there's at least a few willing matyrs among them.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

blibbler (15793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505121)

What was the nationality, race and religion of the dude who setup the oklahoma bombing? What colour skin do IRA members have? The organization that has been responsible for the most suicide bombings (the tamil tigers) is a non-religious group.

While it is convenient for some to portray certain religions or races as being connected to "terrorism", the simplistic attitude causes much more harm than good.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504907)

The cover of my passport is blue (US). Never even had to flash the color to go between UK and Ireland. Or between France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy. Czech republic was the only country to ask for it. But they were part of the (forgot what it's called) treaty.

But then again I was traveling by train for most of the time.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504935)

er, NOT part of the Schengen treaty.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504949)

...I know people like to think that it's now so much more secure. . .

Do they really?

I went from England to holland and never had to show anything but the colour of my passport . . .

Ahhhhhh! You're thinking of something different than I am. Would you like to think that you'd be more secure if you were only searched more diligently?

I'd certainly like to think you're smarter than that, but I'm prepared to think otherwise. Meaning no disrespect, unless it proves justified.

KFG

Re:not that shocking... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504959)

and the fact that I am white and middle class. That was all they cared about.

Sadly, this is true on either side of the puddle. And one of these days some white Texan [thememoryhole.org] or some white Oklahoman [msn.com] will get away with it, and everyone will stand around in shock and awe that some white person [wikipedia.org] would do such a thing. For about 30 minutes. Then everyone will go back to hurling epithets at people that don't look like they do.

Meanwhile we get pretend security against some enemies.

You and your facts. (1)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505027)

And I don't think it would be 30 minutes. The press would find some reason to discount the person and their reasons, and we'd be on to the next news story about some celebrity's kids.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505120)

I know people like to think that it's now so much more secure...
I don't think requiring IDs buys much security at all. As long as they check for weapons, that's the main thing IMHO. (I realize the 911 hijackers were (basically) unarmed, but they only succeeded because everybody thought it was safest to let hijackers take control).

Now, I'm not saying we should let known terrorists into the country, but granting Visas is a separate issue from Airport security, especially on domestic flights.

Re:not that shocking... (1)

a.d.trick (894813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505134)

I don't like it either, but there are reasons behind it. The fact is that as a rule, upper and middle class white people are a lot less likely to bomb and airplane than a disenfanchised Arab. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with people from the Middle East. It's really unfortunate that the whole lot has to suffer for the actions of the few. I also really dislike the way that 'nice-looking' people get treated better than those who are not so well to do (I'm usually in the second catagory), but that's life. The sooner we get that chip off our shoulder the better off we'll be.

Honestly... (4, Funny)

afxzanac (916412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504825)

Is saving 5 minutes in line REALLY worth the full cavity search????

Re:Honestly... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504840)

Is saving 5 minutes in line REALLY worth the full cavity search????

For some it's the other way around, is the full cavity search really worth the cost of the flight. Esp on those flights from SFO.

Re:Honestly... (4, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505089)

is the full cavity search really worth the cost of the flight
I'm pretty sure you could get one for cheaper on Craigslist.

Re:Honestly... (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504845)

> Is saving 5 minutes in line REALLY worth the full cavity search????

Somewhere, the Goatse Guy is quietly weeping... muttering to himself "what a waste... what a waste"...

Re:Honestly... (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504858)

Is saving 5 minutes in line REALLY worth the full cavity search????

Well, it's an extra twenty bucks if you get it done in town.

KFG

Re:Honestly... (1)

VikingBerserker (546589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504871)

For some people it's a perk.


For one thing, you can cut down on doctors' visits significantly.

If you're travelling with kids, then yes. (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504875)

If you're travelling with kids, then yes.

Re:Honestly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504885)

no but its worth saving a building and innocent lives.

Re:Honestly... (1)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505023)

YES ofcourse.. if the officer is a damn hot female.. body search please!

Re:Honestly... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505079)

Hey, some people actually PAY for those kinds of services. At least the Feds are offering these services for free, in presumably sterile environments! Did you really believe the current administration wants to outlaw these kinds of activities based on morals? They just want a monopoly on the sexual entertainment industry! ;)

(couldn't resist the off-colour on this one)

Re:Honestly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15505128)

Or maybe take it a step further. Put proctologists as the screeners doing the cavity search, and save yourself the trouble of getting to the doctor for that yearly exam.

How can I get on the no-fly list? (1)

agent (7471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504842)

Ding!

http://www.southwest.com/ [southwest.com] has a deal for you.

Three words for security, fuzzy hand cuffs.

If everyone did what he did (4, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504850)

... you woudln't save any time. Honestly, putting your items through the X-ray machine and stepping through the magnetic scanner is quicker than the near-body-cavity search they gave him. If everyone opted to do it just to save from showing ID's (whether an ideological move or a time-saving one) then the time-savers would be going back to the X-ray lines ...

Re:If everyone did what he did (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504941)

I'd hardly count going through the puffer as a near body-cavity search.

Re:If everyone did what he did (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504956)

Actually, my airport just added some new security machines to elongate the process and make you feel even more violated. (Cause it wasn't tedious and invase enough.)

This new machine had been installed in half the lines and I was lucky enough to get chosen for one of you on my last flight.

The was some GE contraption placed before the metal detector that would have one person enter it at a time. You would enter the machine, and then it would blow puffs of air at you from every direction. Then it would wait for about 20 seconds before finally giving the green light and letting you through to the metal detector.

I believe the machine was meant to sniff for explosives and the like, but I have a sneaking supspicion it was designed to be extra annoying.

Also the machine was pretty prone to false positives and would get upset easily if for instance you didn't stand on the footpads just right. Each upset would cause the machine to beep angrily for 30 seconds before it finally calmed down and reset for another try.

The upside to this machine: I didn't have to take off my sandals to prove I wasn't hiding something in them.

Re:If everyone did what he did (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505025)

How exactly is that invasive?

Getting personally searched and fondled is invasive. Spending 20 seconds in a machine that checks for chemical traces is hardly invasive.

Re:If everyone did what he did (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505062)

Tell that to the women in skirts getting air puffed up their ass.

Re:If everyone did what he did (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504998)

That's pretty true... but most people simply do what's expected of them and/or whatever the signs say to do.

In response to people claiming, "that works for white people... but what about the rest of us?" I say "bullshit!" I was TSA and frankly, as much as many people would LIKE to be able to do profiling, there is so much going on to discourage it (at least at DFW airport) that I feel VERY confident in asserting that it doesn't matter if you're Arab. I recall working at a checkpoint when a man of Arab decent was delayed slightly while people frantically made phone calls in a back office. This guy was on the "No-Fly-List" and they were attempting to clear him through the FBI or whatever federal agency. Ultimately, either they cleared him or they couldn't reach anyone who knew what to do with this case. Some 15 minutes later, I saw him bowing and praying on a rug that he brought with him facing in the direction I presume must be Mecca...on the SECURE side of the airport. They let him through anyway.

As I was leaving the TSA, "No ID" flyers were becoming more and more common to the point that the procedure as described in the article sounds about accurate. So yes, everything is screened in the fullest allowable detail. But frankly, there isn't enough manpower to handle everyone like that.

If everyone learned this trick, they'd have to change the way they do things or hire more people or both.

Now that said, my experience is that the longer part of the line is outside of the "corral" area. The entrance of the corral is where the ID checker is... and that ID checker is an AIRLINE employee, not government. So if you want to play that game, be sure that the line before the corral is shorter or non-existant. Otherwise, before the ID checker, you're still waiting in line for quite some time.

Lie to the TSA? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15504859)

The TSA supervisor returned from her phone call and asked Harper why he didn't have identification and to where he was traveling. But she was satisfied enough with his answer -- that he had mailed his driver's license home to Washington D.C. -- that she allowed him to pass.


So, Harper basically lied to the TSA -- his driver's license was actually in the reporter's possession. Since he's with Homeland Security, does that mean that anyone can lie to the TSA? I guess it's fair play because the TSA tells much bigger lies. [ito.com]

The real problem is getting your boarding pass (5, Informative)

frzndrag (252873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504860)

The problem is not in getting through the TSA checkpoint it is getting your boarding pass from the airline.
He just proved you can get through the TSA checkpoint with a valid boarding pass without an ID.
If you do not have ID and try to checkin for your flight at the airline desk you will get what John Gilmore got in the article - a refusal from the airline to give you your ticket.

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (4, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504896)

Most of the airlines these days lets you print a boarding pass at home up to a day in advance when using an e-ticket. Don't need ID for that.

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (1)

frzndrag (252873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504964)

which now brings us to another point is a lack of authentication there, for most of them all you need is a Frequent Flyer Number or Last Name or just a reservation number, all of which can easily be stolen

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15505064)

Boarding passes seem easy enough to forge, at least if your goal is just to get past security. If you've flown somewhere, sometime in the past, save an image of the boarding pass. You can change the information on it to suit current conditions (e.g. the correct date, or a flight that's actually flying), and not worry about the machine readable stuff because TSA can't check that anyway.

El-Al [usatoday.com] security [bbc.co.uk] is the only way to be secure.

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (1)

E10Reads (732984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504952)

i use self-check-in services all the time and they never look at my id unless i'm checking bags. all you need is a valid credit card or frequent flyer #.

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (1)

SaturnTim (445813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505018)

Actually, you are mistaken. You do not need to show a proper ID to get your ticket. You need to show one to check your luggage,
but you can get your ticket without showing any id from those check in machines, assuming you are carrying on everything.

--ST

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (1)

rah1420 (234198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505024)

Yep, I can confirm that; I lost my wallet flying from SFO to Memphis. My worries started in the Avis lot as I went for it to pick up my rental car. Mirable dictu, the droid at the lot gate only asked for my contract. So if you're short of wheels in Memphis, I can attest to the fact that if you wander over to the airport and pick up an Avis preferred car with the contract in it, you have at least a 50-50 chance of getting out of the lot without flashing an ID.

But I digress.

I called the TSA from the hotel (another joy, as they didn't want to check me in on the Amex corporate card that I guaranteed the room with - the one that was about to be deactivated.) The TSA said that as long as the airline accepted me for boarding, that the boarding pass would be sufficient to get me through the checkpoint.

The denouement: The next evening I got an email from the carrier. My wallet was found on the aircraft, and I was reunited with my ID and my (now worthless) Amex card.

Re:The real problem is getting your boarding pass (1)

nephillim (980798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505066)

E-ticket Check-in Kiosks. All you need is the credit card "you" bought the ticket with.

Niiiicccee... (0, Flamebait)

x9003 (975950) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504876)

I bet the Indian family behind him wearing towels on their head was pretty mad when they got turned down with proper ID, and this dude comes up with a smile and a greeting, and gets let through the gates...because since he doesn't fit the profile he'll never try anything....Ha.

DOS airport security (2, Insightful)

PMuse (320639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504901)

From the article: There Harper was directed into the belly of a General Electric EntryScan puffer machine that shot bits of air at his suit in order to see if he had been handling explosives.

TSA employees wearing baby blue surgical gloves then swiped his Sidekick and his laptop for traces of explosives and searched through his carry-on, while a supervisor took his ticket, conferred with other employees and made a phone call.


I wonder how many people it would take to DOS that procedure?

I never understood this (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504917)

How does proving that I'm me make anybody any safer?

Re:I never understood this (2, Interesting)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504965)

How does proving that I'm me make anybody any safer?

Actually, its to save the airlines from "terror" against its profit margins by disallowing people from swapping vouchers or tickets. Showing ID will ensure that only the person they're made out to will use them. No safety issue, aside from the shadowy watchlist that nobody knows about.

Re:I never understood this (2, Insightful)

kb9vcr (127764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504978)

Because in theory they know who a lot of the bad guys are and can check their names against a database. Of course, most of the bad guys will know enough to have a fake ID.....

Because in theory they know who a lot of the dumb bad guys are and can check....

Re:I never understood this (1)

Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505028)

If you prove that you are in fact you, then we know who to prosecute if you try to do something illegal. Also, checking IDs can allow for a background check to see if you are a fugitive of some kind. Also, if you are found to be trying to fly with a fake ID, then you probably some kind of criminal because non-criminals don't tend to try to hide their identity (since using a fake ID is illegal in and of itself). Basically, if you're trying to slide by with a fake ID, you're probably up to something. I'm not saying whether that's right or wrong, I'm saying that's the thinking behind it all.

Re:I never understood this (5, Funny)

turgid (580780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505071)

Because, if everyone takes their ID on the plane, if Johnny Terrorist blows the plane up, then everyone can flap their ID cards really hard which will put the fire out, and also it'll just be like lots of little birds flapping their wings, so the plane will float down gently instead of crashing.

Also, if you are brown, carrying an ID card means you won't blow up the plane. And if you are white, carrying an ID card means you are not brown or a muslim, so you also will not blow up the plane.

Re:I never understood this (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505136)

LOL. Thank you, now I understand.

Somehow, I don't believe this yet (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504933)

Because this would render the government "Do Not Fly" lists unenforceable. Also, the challenge was to give the driver's license to John Gilmore (the challenger) who would have mailed the driver's license their house, not give it to a guy (reporter) accompanying you there. There's no way to verify if this single reporter is telling the truth in that matter (there have been a number of crooked reporters in the past years coming out).

At the meeting's close, Harper, a committee member, said he'd take the challenge so long as he could hand his envelope to a reporter who accompanied him to the airport. He also challenged the other members to join him.

...

...

...


At 6 a.m. the next morning, Harper handed this reporter a green, self-addressed stamped envelope and entered the checkpoint line, which even at that early hour was filled with travelers facing a 20-minute crawl to the magnetometers.

Re:Somehow, I don't believe this yet (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505012)

Exactly.

At the meeting's close, Harper, a committee member, said he'd take the challenge so long as he could hand his envelope to a reporter who accompanied him to the airport. [...] At 6 a.m. the next morning...
So, between the meeting's close and 6 AM the next morning, he was on the phone to everybody at TSA telling them of this publicity stunt and to make sure that it all went smoothly.

Re:Somehow, I don't believe this yet (1)

supamari0 (981340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505043)

I've pulled off something similar, albiet by accident. Mind you this is three months after 9/11. I was flying on Continental from DC to Houston. I didn't have an ID as I had lost my wallet. So I go to the check-in desk and tell them and they refuse to give me a ticket. So I use on of those eticket machines on the side and get a ticket despite the fact that the people refused earlier. They also were forced to check in my luggage but they warned me that I would get caught later. Now when this happened, you didn't show IDs at the security line, instead they checked at the gate. So when I got to the gate, I told them my story (and a complete side note, I'm a brown person, so race isn't an issue) and they gave me the "random" search on the side as a precaution and let me on. To further demonstrate government airport security issues, ONE MONTH after 9/11, my cousin nearly got in on an expired visa. We were coming together. I am a citizen so I just did the standard stuff but he was here for temporary work and had a visa. The customs official checked an expired visa and cleared his entry on that visa and my cousin had to point out that he was letting him in on an expired visa. Not to mention, they didn't check any of the external documentation necessary for temprorary work visas.

This works for Customs as well (5, Interesting)

Amazing Proton Boy (2005) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504950)

I've done a variant of this with customs as well. When you come back into the U.S. you must clear customs. This involves standing a HUGE line, usually for an hour or so. There are only 4 or 5 stations open at LAX normally. The trick is to bring a small plant back with you. When you get to customs you tell the guy you have a plant and aren't sure if it's allowed. They send you over to another guy who only handles these sorts of things and has no one in his line.. He looks up your plant and searches you bags. If the plant is allowed in(never happens) you keep it and walk right out. If the plant isn't allowed he takes it and you walk right out. Total time maybe 5 minutes. Works every time.

He had a reporter with him (4, Insightful)

Astro Dr Dave (787433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504966)

There was a reporter watching and taking notes as he was searched by the TSA. I wonder how he would have fared if he were alone?

Less is better? (4, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15504980)

Apparently if I fly naked I'll save enough time to get there before I leave.

Re:Less is better? (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505044)

Stewardess: Is there anyhting I can get you, sir?

Nude Flyer Yes, I'd like a Bailey's, a pillow, and some pants.

No Fly List. (2, Informative)

neo (4625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505022)

My name is on the No Fly list. I wont be trying this. I show ID and I still get put in that same line he went through.

Re:No Fly List. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15505115)

you are going to help us, Mister Anderson, whether you want to or not.

<cue creepy crawly fiber bug>

Feel Safer? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505032)

The most disgusting part of this story is that it's posted most appropriately under "Politics".

A guy I know was jailed for refusing to show ID... (5, Interesting)

Plugh (27537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505047)

Russ Kanning is a friend of mine.
Last year, he tried to board an airplane... without showing an ID, and without submitting to a secondary search.

He was carrying only his boarding pass and a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Cheeky fucker!
He spent several days in jail, and got some really scary letters from the FBI (hi guys!).
Scanned copies of the letters, photos of the event, and his own musing are posted here [tinyurl.com] .

Now, I don't agree with Russell's focus on "civil disobediance" -- I prefer to focus on political change (ie, getting good people elected into office, passing good laws, repealing bad ones, etc). In addition, I think this particular act of Civil Disobedience was poorly chosen -- he was trying to make the point that it should be the airlines, not the government, that sets the rules for any particular flight.

But still, ya gotta admire the sheer cojones of standing up to the FBI, and doing it with a sense of humor (see the letters he wrote back to the Feds, they're hilarious!)

Russ is just one of the hundreds of pro-Liberty activists out here in New Hampshire, one more member of the Free State Project [freestateproject.org]

Re:A guy I know was jailed for refusing to show ID (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505152)

I couldn't find his response letters. Just a bunch of media links and is fine letters.

Yes, you can take the short line sometimes (3, Funny)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505053)

Back before 9/11, I flew into London from Denmark, and was leaving the country the next day for the states. Hadn't bought much so customs wouldn't be a problem. But, they have a "red line", and a "green line" - red for "I have something to declare (and pay tax on)". The red line was empty aside from a few people watching and profiling those walking through. The green line was forever long, and I was tired. So, off I went, up the red line, right to the counter. "Well, I have this sweater that I bought in Norway for (number) Norwegian Kronur, which works out to about (number) Pounds. I'm leaving for the US tomorrow, not sure if I need to pay something on this or not?"

I pretty much already knew the answer (no as long as you're not planning to sell it here), but by going up through the shorter line and having a plausible reason for doing so, I was able to save an hour. So yeah, you can get some time savings doing this sort of thing. Not sure I'd go for the body cavity search route to save waiting in the ID line, though. I guess that depends on if it's a business trip, or a recreational one.

Perception of Reality (4, Insightful)

skwang (174902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505067)

This proove the old adage that the world is not driven by reality but by the perception of reality.

I would argue that no one in their right minds would try to highjack an airplane again. In the past highjacking was a political statement. Usually the highjackers would fly the plane to a neutral airport and make demands. Often this would include the release of fellow members of their organization who were incarcerated. If you were an unlucky passenger, you would be an unfortuante pawn in a global chess-game. (Obviously there were exceptions.)

After the terrorist attacks on 11 Sept. 2001, no passenger will sit still and let a highjacker take over an airplane. Highjacking is now synonomous with suicide attacks. In my opinion, the real danger to airline travel comes not from highjackers but from explosives being placed on the airplane, e.g. Pan Am flight 103.

But the perception in the US is that flying needs to be protected, so the result is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Others have pointed out that if you are not white, have any kind of middle eastern origins, and you try to fly without an ID, you're pretty much screwed. And because the TSA has near absolute authority about whether or not you fly, they can deny you boarding simply because they feel like it.

The result of all this is that flying, IMO, is not significantly safer than before. We are concentrating our resources on "fighting the last battle." Making sure passengers have proper Identification doesn't make flying any safer. One could point out that some of the highjackers on 11 Sept. 2001 had valid IDs, after all they entered the country legally. As a society we should concentrate our efforts on preventing bombings or other bomb like devices. The "shoe bomber" Richard Reid in late 2001 probably represents a greater threat, yet checking to make sure he has proper identification isn't going to help.

I would argue that the checks they do at airports to check for explosives are worthwhile. But making sure you have an ID with you are not.

I can't believe this needs to be pointed out... (2, Informative)

moracity (925736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505088)

But white people did not fly planes into the WTC and Pentagon. You can be sure that if they had, the ACLU wouldn't be standing up for the white people getting profiled at airports.

Of course, this doesn't mean their aren't white terrorists. Clearly, they exist and could strike at anytime.

Many people have made the comment that he had no problem because he was white. Although playing the race card is pretty ignorant, I see no mention of the race of the TSA workers that let this guy through so easily. For the white conspiracy to work, every TSA employee had to have been white.

I'll tell ya, my wife works for the government and most of our friends do as well. I grew up around government workers. Most of them hate the government, especially when the GOP is in control. The government would never get away with most of the conspiracies attributed to them. Yes, they routinely make bad "official" descisions, but they are rarely carried out in any effective manner. Most government workers have the "union" attitude. They go to work and do their job however they feel like, because it's impossible to get fired. If some TSA supervisor told a bunch of grumpy TSA peons to go profile certain types of people, I wouldn't count on them giving two squirts. If any of them thought there was some systemic conspiracy going on, they'd be on the phone to the media in a flash.

I know people want the government to be the bigbadevilsuper-entity, but it really isn't. When you see inside, it's amazing that we survive as a country at all. It would be amusing if it weren't so disturbing.

The article doesn't prove much... (4, Insightful)

MrCode (466053) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505096)

So what: a well-dressed polite white man gets through a shorter (yet more thorough) security line because of a lack of ID. First, the airlines have to account for people not having IDs. Wallets get stolen, IDs are lost or forgotten, in other words, shit happens. Second, this lack of ID is a rare occurence so of course the line will be shorter, and even if the actual screening takes 3-4 times as long than the "normal" screening you will get through faster.

Incidentally, a little politeness can go a long way when dealing with government workers, especially in places like an airport or the DMV. Just think: these people deal with complaining a**holes all day for crappy pay, you might actually make their day a little brighter by being polite, or, God forbid, almost friendly. The time for civil disobedience in not after waiting 2 hours in the DMV line.

"In fact, today, I'm the safest guy on the plane." (1)

mhx (772916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505149)

"In fact, today, I'm the safest guy on the plane.", great I am worried about the guy who slides thru the system like you and gets what he needs after the security check point.

Ft Lauderdale Reagan (2, Interesting)

Ryan Norton (964976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505157)

Two recent TSA experiences: 1) Going from Wash DC Reagan to Ft Laud. Have a Swiss Army Knife (the classic, little tiny one with scissors, file blade and tweezers) on my keyring. Did not realize I had carried it on the plane out of Reagan until I was going through security at Ft Laud and they caught the knife on x-ray and made me either surrender it or exit security, check it in my bag which I was going to carry on, and go back through. 2) Like a dumbass let my driver's license expire (still have FL license, live in DC with no car) 3 days before needing to fly, again out of Reagan. My passport was also expired, so that left me with no current gov't issued photo IDs. At the security line, the lady checking boarding passes and IDs caught that my license was expired, wrote NO ID on my pass, sent me to another line, put me through a puffer machine, x-ray, and then I got the bag search with the little swatches they stick in the machine to check for explosives. I thought I was going to have to talk my way through, but nope. I had my Social Security card and birth certificate with me and they weren't even interested.

"rabble-rouser": good or bad? (3, Insightful)

njdj (458173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15505162)

rabble-rouser John Gilmore

Is this intended as a favorable or pejorative description of John Gilmore?

If John Gilmore is a rabble-rouser, then in my opinion the USA needs more rabble-rousers. If we had 100 million of them, the politicians would never have dared take away all our rights.

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