Friday, May 15, 2009

What's in a Name?

Starting May 15, when passengers purchase airline tickets, they will be required to provide their name as it appears on the government-issued ID that they plan to use when traveling. This is the first phase of a new TSA program called “Secure Flight.”

So…if you plan to present a driver’s license , purchase tickets using your name as it appears on your driver’s license. If you plan to present a passport, purchase tickets using the name that appears on your passport. (Here is a list of acceptable forms of identification.)

But rest assured, the system will be pretty flexible. For the near future, small differences between ID and reservation information, such as the use of a middle initial instead of a full middle name or no middle name/initial at all, should not cause a problem for the passenger.

Secure Flight is a multi-phase program developed by DHS that matches passenger information against federal government watch lists for domestic and international flights. Before Secure Flight, airlines themselves were responsible for matching passenger information to the federal watch list. As Secure Flight is implemented, TSA will begin to assume responsibility for the security program.

So what exactly do we mean by “watch list matching”? When you purchase an airline ticket your name will be compared to the “No Fly” and “Selectee” lists, which are distilled from the FBI’s terrorist watch list.

Individuals confirmed to be on the Selectee list, will automatically be subject to secondary screening, but could still be allowed to fly. If an individual is confirmed to be on the “No Fly” list, he or she won’t be able to fly within, into, or over the United States. The number of people that appear on these lists is extremely small, so chances are you won’t run into issues at security checkpoints because your name is on the watch list.

After August 15, domestic airlines will be required to collect (and passengers will be required to provide) date of birth and gender in addition to name (as it appears on the government ID). By providing these pieces of information under the new Secure Flight program, cases of mistaken identity will be virtually eliminated. For passengers who have had problems in the past, this means that you’ll be able to print your boarding pass at home before arriving at the airport. It also means that your 6-year-old won’t be misidentified as someone on the Selectee or No Fly lists.

Blogger Paul

EoS Blog

111 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bob, please explain in detail the connection you believe exists between identity and security. For each argument you make, cite one independent analysis by a non-TSA security expert.

Gambari said...

If implemented as designed, there should be no "name" calling at the TDC positions. On a serious note, hopefully all airport locations fully understand there is no SOP changes in TDC procedure...Go-No-Go decisions will be made prior to boarding pass printing.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that many ticketing websites don't allow you to use your full middle name, yet the state asks for you to do it. This is nothing but a pain and more security theater.

Thanks for making sure the lines get longer at security. Will you be adding staff to deal with it? Or will you continue to have too few checkpoints open at most airports? You're worse than Target!

Trollkiller said...

Hey Poster Boy, good to see you. I thought you had been banished to Siberia.

Does the new Secure Flight mean your doc checkers will finally quit illegally demanding IDs from travelers or will the TSA break the new law too?

Anonymous said...

We are trading freedom from government intrusion for the illusion of safety.

I weep for my country.

T-the-B at flyertalk

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain why we maintain a list of people who are "too dangerous" to fly, but for some reason aren't being rounded up and arrested?

I mean, I know the real reason (maintaining a constant, low-grade level of needless fear helps keep the populace in line and also allows it to appear that TSA are doing Something Useful), but I'd like to know what TSA's spin on it is.

Adrian said...

On the "list of acceptable forms of identification" it lists "Canadian provincial driver's license", but also says "Non-US/Canadian citizens are not required to carry their passports if they have documents issued by the U.S. government such as Permanent Resident Cards. Those who do not should be carrying their passports while visiting the U.S."

If I am carrying my Canadian provincial drivers license do I still need to carry my Canadian passport? Where does this requirement to carry a passport come from?

Eric said...

Please clarify the date of birth policy. Will DOBs be printed on boarding passes? If so, that is inane. If not, then there is nothing to prevent people from using a false DOB.

Adrian said...

We've still never gotten a definitive answer on what law compels travelers to reveal all this personal information.

Also, how else will this information be used? Will the airlines be allowed (or compelled) to keep all of this personal information about us? Will the TSA or other government agency be building a database of the times we fly?

When one is mistakenly added to the Selectee or No Fly lists, how do they get off? It took an act of Congress to get Nelson Mandela removed. Will it be that difficult for the rest of us?

How do people who do not have a government-issued photo ID deal with these rules? Getting a government-issued photo ID typically requires a birth certificate. My great grandmother's birth certificate was lost in a court house fire decades ago, and she never had a driver's license or passport.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad to see you at least claim that pax won't be harassed due to a middle name being swapped for a middle initial or vice versa, but we'll see how it actually goes down at the airport. :( (After all, you also claim that we don't need to produce ID to get a complaint form, that breast milk is allowed, and that passengers with disabilities will not be forced to remove their shoes.)

But in general, TSA just doesn't get it. I don't know that my airline's frequent flier program and/or company travel agent allows middle names. Even if they do, many of my coworkers' middle names are going to be way too long to print on a ticket.

As for me, my passport has a my middle name, probably because it's on my birth certificate. But my driver's license does not. My airline frequent-flier accounts (or travel agent) don't allow me to have different names for different trips. So there's no way for me to comply with all of the rules for all domestic and international trips without either replacing my passport (to delete middle name), or replacing my drivers' license (to add middle name, if possible) and changing my airline-account info (requires mailing them confirmed legal proof of name "change") and getting my company's travel agent to re-write their software to allow full middle names (not going to happen). So if they get strict, I'll be in a world of hurt.

And I'm a simple case, a native-born USA citizen with common (and Biblical) first and middle names, a common (anglo-saxon) last name, and no suffix.

Secret blacklists of American citizens and their travel habits that are used to deny basic freedoms without due process are a bad idea. Any realistic implementation of such a blacklist is even worse than the idea. TSA should go back to its statutory mandate to screen for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries, especially since you don't even do that very well.

Geoff said...

If people on this watchlist are such a threat, why aren't they arrested when they show up at the airport?

Anonymous said...

This sounds like another one of those measures that will actually end up causing more passengers more hassles once TSA "officers" start implementing them.

And it may be less benign than it seems. We're giving airlines and the TSA more of our personal information, in exchange for the promise of more accurate matching against the government's voluminous watch lists. But notice that it does nothing to reform, validate, or improve the accuracy of those watch lists which now contain over a million names. Are there really that many people who threaten aviation, or it are agencies simply rewarded for continually expanding the list? "Secure Flight" does nothing to address that problem, but puts more burden on passengers.

I thus suspect it will produce even more false positives, which mean more secondary screenings that not only hassle innocent travelers but divert attention from possibly finding "bad" people whose names may not (yet) show up on a list. But as long as it finds enough drugs, cash, and fake military jackets, the TSA will be able to claim "success."

The history of the TSA has been one of consistently increasing hassles, and intrusion, and violations of civil liberties and privacy, with no improvement in any objective measures of security improvement. So I have no reason to believe this latest "enhancement" is any different.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Was artist formerly known as Cat Stevens confirmed to be on the no fly list? He's apparently not on it any more. Does this mean your NFL has other, similar quality issues?

The whole ID checking thing only makes sense from a business perspective for the airlines: ID checking makes it harder for individuals to re-sell their unused tickets. That's why the airlines remains in control of checking the names against the list, not TSA.

If TSA truly believed ID mattered, TSA would be checking the ID against the NFL itself, and wouldn't merely be enforcing the boarding pass-ID correspondence for the airlines.

Marshall's SO said...

This program will implode due to misspelled names, names that are just too long to enter in any db, inaccurate DOBs (does DHS have an accurate birth date for every known terrorist with my name?); the possibilities are endless for creating mass confusion.

This program still does not prevent someone with enough money from obtaining a fraudulent ID that will match perfectly with the boarding pass. And who is it that has access to the money to do so: professional terrorists.

Chris Boyce said...

Geoff said...
If people on this watchlist are such a threat, why aren't they arrested when they show up at the airport?

May 18, 2009 1:44 PM
The answer is simple: The government does not have any evidence on these people even coming close to an arrest warrant. It's much easier to rely on speculation and unverified information that doesn't even come close to reasonable suspicion or probable cause and hope that the guy is dumb enough to show up at an airport with a joint in his pocket that gets found during an encounter with a strip search machine.

I have been in meetings where, among other things, placing a person on a list is discussed. Every American would be scared to death at how easy it is for a person to be put on a list (level of official and rationale) and that there is no oversight or criteria for removing someone from a list.

Tomas said...

My passport/passport card driver's license and credit cards differ in how they display my name (full middle name, middle initial, not indicator of middle name), so this may take some fiddling to make certain things match up for the TSA folks.

One interesting thing none of those show is that actual CORRECT spelling of my name, because most US font sets do not include Slavic diacritic
marks...

Tomáš

TSORon said...

Another Anonymous poster said:
“Can someone explain why we maintain a list of people who are "too dangerous" to fly, but for some reason aren't being rounded up and arrested?

I mean, I know the real reason (maintaining a constant, low-grade level of needless fear helps keep the populace in line and also allows it to appear that TSA are doing Something Useful), but I'd like to know what TSA's spin on it is.”

I can help you there. The folks you speak about, in this country, have rights. Due process is the one we are most concerned with here. Just going out and arresting them would violate that right. As for the rest of your post, well everyone has an opinion I suppose.

Anonymous said...

"Can someone explain why we maintain a list of people who are "too dangerous" to fly, but for some reason aren't being rounded up and arrested?"

In some cases it is because the person was convicted of a crime involving aircraft/transportation (hijacking, bomb threats, etc), and has done their time, but the government isn't comfortable letting them fly. In other cases the FBI is building a case against the person, or is watching them in order to get info on other suspects they associated with. It just isn't the best time to arrest them or they are the "small fry". The most common reason is that the person lives in an area where there is no US jurisdiction. E.g., the EU. Finally, there are a number of persons on the list who have probably been killed in war zones, but without official confirmation they can't be taken off the list.

Anonymous said...

Did TSA check with travel and airline web sites to give them time to update their data fields before adopting this policy?

My wife went to Orbitz today to change her profile name and Orbitz only has space for a middle initial. But both her driver's license and my passport list her full name.

How are we supposed to handle things like this? My wife also checked with United.com and they don't even offer a spot for a middle initial.

I expect this new TSA policy has been planned for years. If so, why didn't TSA give the airlines and travel agencies time to update their records? What in the world is the hurry?

Anonymous said...

So, how does this jive with the fact that most of the ticketing systems rely on your name matching your credit card, not your ID? If you don't match the credit card, you can't get a ticket. If you match the credit card, you can't fly on the plane.

Of course, I could be wrong and perhaps there's a new section of the forms to buy tickets that says "TSA NAME" or "ID NAME"

And yet, we still can't see what law it is that supposedly compels us to provide identification. Secret laws indeed.

Anonymous said...

So what's the bottom line? I plan to fly across the country, get married in Hawaii, spend a week there and come home this summer with my new husband. I plan to take my husband's surname. Can I expect to be stopped from returning, groped by TSA security and told I can't go home?

Little wonder so many people love our country but hate what the government became.

RB said...

Will TSA provide each passenger with a Privacy Act Disclosure so we will know why this information is being collected?

Lordstrom said...

The Democrats aren't stopping all of this because...?

Hope and change my asphalt.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on coming out with a policy that will gaurantee security hassles for every single person who works for the US Government and is flying on a US Government ticket.

Yes, I do work for the US Government. And I fly for the US Government. I have never gotten a ticket/itinerary from SATO that was spelled correctly even when the person ordering the ticket sent them the correct spelling.

Why is it that the TSA is so happy to enforce poorly thought out policies?

George said...

George said....

Most airline boarding passes are limited to 21 characters. Many passengers from foreign countries have names that will never fit the number of characters necessary in order to match their identification. How will this be handled when TSA checks documents?

Neriah said...

My wife and I are among those people who have already been mis-identified by government watch lists. Last Spring after waiting in line for two hours, we presented out U.S. passports at the border. After answering the usual ambiguous questions, our car was surrounded by armed CBP guards with guns at the ready. My wife was ordered out of the car, pushed up against the door and handcuffed. She was then dragged inside and pushed up against a wall for a pat down and shoe removal. The guard who searched her said if she moved at all "it would be considered an act against me", which my wife took as a clear threat of being shot. She suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, which makes it difficult to keep her balance (and she has never been handcuffed), but thankfully she was able to remain still. Meanwhile I was ordered inside by a surly guard who told me "the woman" in the car with me was an "armed and dangerous criminal." It would have been laughable if it weren't for all the guns being grabbed. Once inside the chief CBP guy told me my name was also on their list, but they had decided not to handcuff me because the other party was of a different race. The truth is that my wife has never so much as been cited for speeding. She has absolutely no criminal record whatsoever. I'm a pretty hard case, however, and confess to being caught speeding.
My real question is this: Under this new "secure skys" policy what will happen to us when we attempt to board a plane? We have already both filed TRIP REDRESS forms, and all we got back were identical form letters saying that "if" DHS decides there is a problem, something might be done about it.
We feel we have been ghettoized in our own country. We are afraid to go anywhere that involves DHS, TSA, CBP, ICE or any other government watch list users because of the treatment we expect from armed guards and their mysterious lists. Judging from the posts on this and other websites I suspect we are not alone in having this kind of experience.

Anonymous said...

"Does the new Secure Flight mean your doc checkers will finally quit illegally demanding IDs from travelers or will the TSA break the new law too?"

I thought that TSA is required by The Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Sec. 4016 (c) (2) to confirm the iedinity of everyone that is flying on commercial aircraft. why do you keep saying that they are doing this illegally?

Anonymous said...

Oh my, more trouble ahead I fear. Many airlines do not allow one to enter a "-" (hyphen).

What are those of us with hyphenated last names to do? Run it all together or leave a space?

Even worse, there is a "~" in the first name. Will I ever be able to fly again.

Anonymous said...

Geoff said...
If people on this watchlist are such a threat, why aren't they arrested when they show up at the airport?In this country Geoff you need proof to convict someone!

-James

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous asks:

Can someone explain why we maintain a list of people who are "too dangerous" to fly, but for some reason aren't being rounded up and arrested?

TSORon responds:

The folks you speak about, in this country, have rights. Due process is the one we are most concerned with here. Just going out and arresting them would violate that right.

I find that response a little ironic, since the process for maintaining the selectee/no-fly lists doesn't seem to preserve due process rights. An individual is not given notice when they are placed on such a list; indeed, there is no way to find out for sure whether or not one is even on the list at all. If an individual is on the list, they're not given the opportunity to challenge the reasons for being on the list; the maintainers of the list have sole authority in those matters.

DHS TRIP is supposed to provide a means to resolve such issues, but the comments I've seen here and elsewhere seem to suggest that, in practice, the process provides little-to-no feedback.

Anonymous said...

In an electronic world run rampant with identity theft how is placarding your full name next to your DOB and gender all over the place supposed to help anything? The demons of the axis of evil will simply be supplied with greater options to obtain more theivable identity information than ever before. Not to mention the other bottom feeding scum that pirate such info for theft and financial gain. These TSA folks need start thinking a little more outside the standard govenment issue box. There are much safer and ways to achieve the same end point without so much negative consequence!

JOe said...

What if I don't want to provide my DOB and Gender. It's frankly none of your business. Major ID theft and privacy issues.

TSORon said...

JOe said...
"What if I don't want to provide my DOB and Gender. It's frankly none of your business. Major ID theft and privacy issues."

There is always a bus, train, car, or your own personal shoes.

Think about it, you have already given them your credit card number (in most cases), address, Name, and phone number, they dont really need anything else to comit fraud if they so choose. Holding back on the DOB and gender serves no purpose what-so-ever.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Geoff said...
If people on this watchlist are such a threat, why aren't they arrested when they show up at the airport?In this country Geoff you need proof to convict someone!

-James

May 20, 2009 12:19 PM


So James, your saying that no proof of any kind is needed to keep a person off an airplane, just the government and TSA working together to violate peoples rights?

Anonymous said...

"I can help you there. The folks you speak about, in this country, have rights. Due process is the one we are most concerned with here. Just going out and arresting them would violate that right. As for the rest of your post, well everyone has an opinion I suppose."

If one is suspected of being a criminal, then they should be arrested. If they are not suspected of being one, then it's none of the government's business what their travel habits are.

Just curious. Alot of people voted for Pres. Obama because they expected change, especially in the ways the Bush Administration handled civil liberties/constitutional issues. All that's changed is that TSA continues to grab more authority and get more oppressive. Just who controls the TSA, or is it totally out of control?

deaintheraw said...

My name on my passport is longer than on my driver's license.
When you purchase a ticket,often it only allows you to put your initial for your middle name.
I live in Europe but I am american, does that mean that I will not be allowed in my country???? I come home twice per year... way to make travelling even more of a hassle and nightmare than it already is... thx :(

deaintheraw said...

While I am a native born american...my family is of middle eastern descent... and my name on my passport has my full name as on my birth certificate, my driver's license only has name middle initial (letter) and last name, and my credit cards with which I usually pay some have the middle initial,others only first name and last. The airlines say the name no the ticket, boarding pass... must match the name on the credit card... so no full name (all four names) no middle initial... I live in and work in Europe but I come home to the states on home leave x2 per year...how in the heck will I be able to come home? I can just see some TSA agent hassling me and barring me entrance to my own country... aaaghhh! This makes me despair for our country, civil rights being trampled on and citizens having their freedom and rights stripped away year after year...this is shameful!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Just curious. Alot of people voted for Pres. Obama because they expected change, especially in the ways the Bush Administration handled civil liberties/constitutional issues. All that's changed is that TSA continues to grab more authority and get more oppressive. Just who controls the TSA, or is it totally out of control?"

Are those the only 2 options: TSA out of control, or wondering who controls TSA? Isn't that a sort of loaded question?

Is it possible at all that there is another answer to your question: the new administration has a more clear understanding of what is actually happening regarding terrorist and our transportation infrastructure?

As a possible indication that this might be a more plausable answer to your question, a democratic stratigist, Paul Begala, stated on CNN, when asked why Obama has back-tracked on many of his campaign promises regarding terrorism, that things are different from the White House, that Obama is privy to information as President he simply didn't have before. Thus, Obama had to go back on what he promised during the campaign; which is exactly what former President Bush said would happen when he left office...

Now I know many of you don't take kindly to the idea that government officials say "you have to trust us". I am not suggesting you blindly trust any one or any agency. But you should consider that there may be more to what is happening than what you consider possible, or more to it than what you like. If you don't, isn't that sort of closed-minded?

George said...

@Anonymous, May 26, 2009 11:52 AM: "Is it possible at all that there is another answer to your question: the new administration has a more clear understanding of what is actually happening regarding terrorist and our transportation infrastructure?"

I think that's indeed the the reason Obama seems to be backtracking on his campaign promises. Either that or the Bush administration policies have backed him into a corner from which no escape is possible, so he has no alternative but to continue his predecessor's path. And we all know that we can no more rely on campaign promises than on TSOs consistently enforcing rational rules when we get to a checkpoint.

"Now I know many of you don't take kindly to the idea that government officials say "you have to trust us". I am not suggesting you blindly trust any one or any agency. But you should consider that there may be more to what is happening than what you consider possible, or more to it than what you like."

Yes. The problem is that Obama promised a new era of transparency and accountability, and since taking office has repeatedly stated that security does not require the demolition of "America's ideals." But the TSA continues to operate in unaccountable secrecy as if nothing has changed. The threat environment may indeed be more serious than Obama was allowed to admit on the campaign trail, but that should not give the TSA an exemption from Obama's commitment to transparency and civil liberties.

I know that the administration has its hands full with the economic catastrophe, which by all means should make reforming the TSA a much lower priority. But the TSA is very much an embodiment of the Bush administration's contempt for civil liberties and fetish for secrecy, so I would expect it to eventually receive the scrutiny and reform it desperately needs under the new administration. I don't see any sign of that.

Rain said...

Did no one read the part that said, "small differences between ID and reservation information, such as the use of a middle initial instead of a full middle name or no middle name/initial at all, should not cause a problem for the passenger"? Be realistic people, they are not going to stop you from getting on a flight because you have a middle initial on one and full name on the other. What they are looking for is someone whose name is obviously not the same on both. So quit making up excuses why you are so special that there is no way these rules could apply to you, and just be realistic, and see what the actual point of this is: to catch obvious discrepancies and not just the fact that you didn't spell yours out. Please. Never going to be able to fly again because you have your middle initial on your ID and your middle name on your ticket? Use common sense.

Anonymous said...

JOe said - What if I don't want to provide my DOB and Gender. It's frankly none of your business. Major ID theft and privacy issues.

As someone who works in commercial aviation, from what I understand, you aren't required to provide this additional information (dob and gender). But, you may be subject to additional scrutiny by the TSA when they take over watch list matching.

We are providing this information to all of our clients.

Wiseone said...

This is going a little over the top. We are all trying to prevent identity theft and now we are being asked to provide our personal details for just about everything. All we are doing is flooding the world with more of our details and giving criminals more and more options to steal our identity. What we should be doing is providing less information openly and trying to find a way to stop the thieves first.

Best Identity Theft Protection

Earl Pitts said...

James: "In this country Geoff you need proof to convict someone!"

Need proof to convict. No evidence needed to harass and make someone's life miserable though.

Earl

Earl Pitts said...

Rain, please read again. You forgot the part that said "For the near future", implying that it will be an issue in the future.

Earl

kdt said...

You guys just keep making it up as you go along, don't you? Your solution to the problem you created when you created these ridiculous "no fly" lists is to require citizens to disclose even MORE personal information? How is this going to be used? More importantly, how will it be kept secure? You couldn't get the no-fly lists right . . . and there are multiple examples of government personnel mis-using personal information . . . so just HOW is this making us MORE secure?

Anonymous said...

@kdt: "You guys just keep making it up as you go along, don't you? Your solution to the problem you created when you created these ridiculous "no fly" lists is to require citizens to disclose even MORE personal information? . . . so just HOW is this making us MORE secure?"

I have no idea how this is making us more secure, except to the extent that everything the TSA does makes us more secure. Or so they claim.

The theory seems to be that providing more personal details somehow lets the TSA more accurately distinguish false positives among the million-odd names on the watch lists. But I'm not sure how that will do anything. Are the agencies who maintain (and continually expand) the watch lists required to add gender and date of birth to all their records? If not, I don't see how having that information on passengers at the back end will do anything to improve the accuracy of matching a flawed list.

I am not aware of this initiative being accompanied by any "front end" responsibility or accountability on the part of the watchlist maintainers to clean up or improve the accuracy of their lists. The new burden on passengers thus seems nothing more than a smokescreen meant to let the agencies that maintain the watchlists evade any responsiblity to fix their problems.

I seem to recall that Homeland Security Chertoff made exactly this proposal two years ago, in response to reports of large numbers of false matches that even included air marshals. He said the problem would be solved if airlines collected more personal identifying information. Then he insisted there was nothing wrong with the watchlists or the processes for compiling and maintaining them, so there was no need for any improvements there. So now that's exactly what has been implemented.

This seems to be no different from any other TSA initiatives that will cause increased difficulties for passengers without any apparent improvement in security.

Jim Huggins said...

Rain writes:

Did no one read the part that said, "small differences between ID and reservation information, such as the use of a middle initial instead of a full middle name or no middle name/initial at all, should not cause a problem for the passenger"The problem is that little tiny word "should". It basically invalidates the entire promise.

We've seen plenty of instances here on the blog where people follow the rules, which "should" allow them to have an uneventful screening experience ... and the experience ends up being horrible.

Ultimately, this comes down to whether or not one trusts the TSA ... and there, opinions obviously vary.

Anonymous said...

George said...

"@Anonymous, May 26, 2009 11:52 AM: "Is it possible at all that there is another answer to your question: the new administration has a more clear understanding of what is actually happening regarding terrorist and our transportation infrastructure?"

I think that's indeed the the reason Obama seems to be backtracking on his campaign promises. Either that or the Bush administration policies have backed him into a corner from which no escape is possible, so he has no alternative but to continue his predecessor's path. And we all know that we can no more rely on campaign promises than on TSOs consistently enforcing rational rules when we get to a checkpoint.

"Now I know many of you don't take kindly to the idea that government officials say "you have to trust us". I am not suggesting you blindly trust any one or any agency. But you should consider that there may be more to what is happening than what you consider possible, or more to it than what you like."

Yes. The problem is that Obama promised a new era of transparency and accountability, and since taking office has repeatedly stated that security does not require the demolition of "America's ideals." But the TSA continues to operate in unaccountable secrecy as if nothing has changed. The threat environment may indeed be more serious than Obama was allowed to admit on the campaign trail, but that should not give the TSA an exemption from Obama's commitment to transparency and civil liberties.

I know that the administration has its hands full with the economic catastrophe, which by all means should make reforming the TSA a much lower priority. But the TSA is very much an embodiment of the Bush administration's contempt for civil liberties and fetish for secrecy, so I would expect it to eventually receive the scrutiny and reform it desperately needs under the new administration. I don't see any sign of that.

----------------------------------

I will respond as this was my original post:


It is possible that Obama has been backed into a corner, but I would suggest otherwise. I noticed how you seem to ignore the beliefs of democratic strategist Paul Begala, who now argues what I had post: the Obama Administration is privy to better information than they had while he was a Senator, and as such, has had to revise their policies regarding terrorism. He did not suggest nor did he say Obama had backtracked on his campaign promises because the new administration was back into a corner. And not to be too rude, but nice how you managed to throw in your jabbs at TSO's while discussing Obama's campaign promises.

You wrote that the TSA acts as if nothing has changed. Well, what has changed? We certainly have a new President, and a new Secretary of DHS, but other than that what changed? Obama talks about transparancy, but I would think that with the information he now has access to he has to temper his promises with a good dose of reality.

You claim "the TSA is very much an embodiment of the Bush administration's contempt for civil liberties and fetish for secrecy." I very much doubt this, but this is just my personal opinion. Yours can differ. But I wonder that you can only see Bush era policies as "contempt" and as a "fetish", seemingly without any consideration that you and his administration simply disagreed on how policy should be carried out. No consideration at all that he might have tried to do the right thing? You've sort of taken the road that if I don't agree with you, then I must be evil. Not too open minded, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

deaintheraw said...

"While I am a native born american...my family is of middle eastern descent... and my name on my passport has my full name as on my birth certificate, my driver's license only has name middle initial (letter) and last name, and my credit cards with which I usually pay some have the middle initial,others only first name and last. The airlines say the name no the ticket, boarding pass... must match the name on the credit card... so no full name (all four names) no middle initial... I live in and work in Europe but I come home to the states on home leave x2 per year...how in the heck will I be able to come home? I can just see some TSA agent hassling me and barring me entrance to my own country... aaaghhh! This makes me despair for our country, civil rights being trampled on and citizens having their freedom and rights stripped away year after year...this is shameful!!!!!"



When you come back to the United States you will not be dealing with TSA, but Customs.

Tomas said...

Yet another Anonymous bleated...________________
deaintheraw said..."While I am a native born american...my family is of middle eastern descent... and my name on my passport has my full name as on my birth certificate, my driver's license only has name middle initial (letter) and last name, and my credit cards with which I usually pay some have the middle initial,others only first name and last. The airlines say the name no the ticket, boarding pass... must match the name on the credit card... so no full name (all four names) no middle initial... I live in and work in Europe but I come home to the states on home leave x2 per year...how in the heck will I be able to come home? I can just see some TSA agent hassling me and barring me entrance to my own country... aaaghhh! This makes me despair for our country, civil rights being trampled on and citizens having their freedom and rights stripped away year after year...this is shameful!!!!!"
_______________

When you come back to the United States you will not be dealing with TSA, but Customs.
________________

Anon, not everyone lives at the port of entry, and in fact most folks will likely proceed immediately from Customs to a TSA chokepoint to continue their trip on a domestic flight.(Anyone else notice the recent news reports that TSA will be fingerprinting everyone leaving the country from Atlanta? Customs will be doing the same at Detroit. What's with that? The only countries I recall harassing people leaving were the Cold War Communist Bloc... Have we gone THAT far down hill? *sigh*)

Anonymous said...

Tomas said...

"Anyone else notice the recent news reports that TSA will be fingerprinting everyone leaving the country from Atlanta? Customs will be doing the same at Detroit. What's with that? The only countries I recall harassing people leaving were the Cold War Communist Bloc... Have we gone THAT far down hill? *sigh*)"

I thought only foreign visitors were the only ones to be fingerprinted as they leave and enter the country? Or has this changed? Congress mandated this after 9/11.

Anonymous said...

So, would the use on the ticket of a shortened form of the first name (eg, Jim, Tom, Ed) with no middle name be a problem for the next few months?

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that TSA is on the job.

Tell me again why they don't search crew bags.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/04/national/main5062390.shtml?source=search_story


Short version: crew member helped smuggle a gun onto a plane for a passenger.

Anonymous said...

What is the pixel resolution of the images displayed on the body scanners?

Anonymous said...

I am concerned because I've already purchased my airline tickets back in Feb. for trips in Oct. and Jan. I used my short name, which is a part of my full name, and my boarding pass cannot be changed. Will Security allow me to board my flight?

V said...

My wife does not use a last name. So her name is only her first name. When she applied for her US visa, they stamped her name as "FNU Fname" on her visa. FNU is for First name Unknown and they used her first name to be her last (something about the visa office /requiring/ last name to be not empty in their database). So, my question is, how do be book her tickets going forward?? "FNY Fname" as that's the name on her visa or just Fname, the way it appears on the front page of her passport? Thanks.

freedommm@peoplepc.com said...

I was in a wheelchair @ BWI airport and when I went thru screening, I beeped because I have a knee replacement. I was separated from my things in the tray on the conveyor belt when I was told to go into the little room with footprints painted on the floor. I asked if my things would be ok since I couldnt see them. I was told of course. I didnt notice until the next morning that I was missing 500$ from my wallet. Someone in the screening area took it, Im positive. I made a police report and was told it will take 2 weeks to check this out. WHY???

pandora said...

The people on that list ... if they are realy a threat, why aren't they arrested yet?

Diana said...

I remember a couple of years ago, it was revealed that the airlines gave personal information about 12 mil. passengers to the government without their permission or knowledge. How can anyone trust TSA after that?

Spongebob said...

It is just sad to have to get to this, but what else can we expect? There are lots of crazy people out there and we just need to learn to protect ourselves.

seo said...

The surname of my wife. So she has her first name. She "Fnu fname" Fnu since she is not sure of the name used for a U.S. visa stamp in his name to be used at the end of his first girlfriend. / Institute of visa application (something / is a blank space in the database extension.) So, what is the cause it as a book about me? "FNY fname" name, or your visa fname, the first page of the passport of their meeting? Thank you.

dachdecker erlangen said...

I just saw it in my own city, you can't trust people anymore. You must learn how to protect yourself but that is not what we originally wanted to get.

Anonymous said...

Some airlines are now requiring that people put their middle names when purchasing a ticket and one airline refused to put any of the middle names I gave them for 4 tickets. It is very confusing. I hope that there will not be any problems for the people who do not have their middle names on the tickets.

Stacy said...

I purchased tickets last week for a trip from ORD to CUN, due to credit card issues (fraud alert went up on my card when trying to purchase the tickets) my session timed out, while on the phone w/ my credit card company I put all information back in but ended up putting one of the names in last/first. I have called the airline and they assure me it won't be an issue but of course I'm less worried about the airline and more worried about whether TSA will allow it to go through. Can you please give me any insight on what we can expect and if there is anything we can do about it now? I asked about paying to reissue the ticket correctly but the airline says it's not neccessary. Thank you.

pandora said...

I experienced the same thing as the previous poster regarding the middle name. I wonder where it's going to lead to.

aldion said...

I am concerned because I have already bought my tickets back in February, for travel in October and January, I used my short name, which is my full name, and my boarding pass can not be changed.

Anonymous said...

My concern is similar to, but not identical to that of some other posters: The middle initial on my birth certificate is M. It was put there by the hospital, (apparently chosen to represent my mother's maiden name) not by my parents. They did not choose to give me a middle name. I have never used that initial.

When I was in high school, I decided to use L as my middle initial, to represent my father's first name.

When I got my first driver's license, the license bureau insisted on using M as my middle initial, since that was what was on my birth certificate. The clerk said I could continue using L as my middle initial on other documents since, "You can sign your name as Donald Duck if you want to, but your driver's license has to match your birth certificate."

Now my passport shows M as my middle initial, because it is based on my birth certificate also.

None of this would be a problem, I wouldn't mind entering M as my middle initial when booking flights, except that all my credit cards show L as my middle initial.

If I enter M as my middle initial when booking a flight, it won't match my credit card info.

If I enter L, it will match my credit card info, but not my official documents.

I'm willing to believe this won't be a problem right now, but at some point should I be trying to change the middle initial on my credit cards?

Having had *all* my prescription medication and toiletries thrown out by TSA representatives in Chicago when flying on August 10, 2006 (the day the plot to detonate liquid explosives on planes was uncovered)-- a practice that I learned later only happened in Chicago and not at other airports -- I, too have my doubts about how consistently and logically the published guidelines for ID matching will be followed in practice by individual crews.

I hope the variety of name issues posted on this blog helps the TSA come up with procedures that preserve our security, but without undue complication to our previously established legal and financial identities.

Thanks for providing this forum.

Serdar said...

Tell me again why they don't search crew bags.

ikizdere pirinç said...

My concern is similar to, but not identical to that of some other posters: The middle initial on my birth certificate is M. It was put there by the hospital, (apparently chosen to represent my mother's maiden name) not by my parents. They did not choose to give me a middle name. I have never used that initial.

güzel sözler said...

Can someone explain why we maintain a list of people who are "too dangerous" to fly, but for some reason aren't being rounded up and arrested?

I mean, I know the real reason (maintaining a constant, low-grade level of needless fear helps keep the populace in line and also allows it to appear that TSA are doing Something Useful), but I'd like to know what TSA's spin on it is.

Digger said...

This seems to be no different from any other TSA initiatives that will cause increased difficulties for passengers without any apparent improvement in security.

troubled spirit said...

hey there,

i have an international trip coming up in 4 days.the name on the ticket shows my maiden last name as my middle name and my married last name as my last name.but my passport shows only my maiden last name.my permanant resident card shows the name as on the ticket and so does my driver's licence.i called the airlines about changing my name as it is on the passport so i wont have a problem but they said that it cannot be changed.does anybody know if this will be an issue?

Anonymous said...

Check this out to rectify FNU issues...
http://vikramayana.blogspot.com/2009/09/fnu-in-first-or-last-name-in-us-visa.html

siam said...

I don't understand, When you use the “Secure Flight" how long dose it take to check the pa information passengers.

Anonymous said...

What about us with two last names? I'm Puerto Rican and we have two last names (paternal and maternal) and both are displayed on state-issued IDs. So, what're we supposed to do? The current fields only allow for one last name.

ข่าวบันเทิงดารา said...

This seems to be no different from any other TSA initiatives that will cause increased difficulties for passengers without any apparent improvement in security.

Erica said...

I guess I wish I could see the no fly list ahead of time. I would hate to go through all the hassle of booking a flight just to get denied when boarding because someone with a similar name is on it. I have not flown since long before 9/11 and I am not sure how this all works.

ndesigns said...

This seems to be no different from any other TSA initiatives that will cause increased difficulties for passengers without any apparent improvement in security.

Anonymous said...

I am an active duty US military member who has deployed to fight the war for our country. As a sworn defender of the United States let me be the first to say I understand very well the security threats to our way of life. That being said based on my last airport trip, I am very disturbed and heavily offended by recently learning a secret government list has somehow identified me as someone who now requires additional screening anytime I attempt to board an airplane in this free country of ours. Why? Nobody can tell me. What can I do? Apply to get taken off the list. This seems fundamentally wrong to me. I have done nothing wrong yet I am now treated differently then the rest of the general public because the government directs it. No cause or rationale provided to Mr. Free US Citizen. In my opinion there's something very wrong with the government having the ability to alter the life of a law abiding citizen based on information the government maintains and will not disclose. Since this event, I've had the opportunity to get pretty educated on the Secure Flight program and am currently pursuing the DHS TRIP process. A bit concerning, nearly everything I've read describes the TRIP process as a black hole, a place where resolution is the rare exception. I would love to see some sort of statistics which show the number of successfully resolved complaints and some description on what that means for people in the long term. All I know is I'm two weeks into this process and am yet to have DHS acknowledge receipt of my documents. I continue to send them in every couple of days but no one can tell me how long the processing should take - I'm not sure if there is an accountability step. I guess my point in all this is to express frustration at what I view as a gross overstep on behalf of the government into my freedoms which have and will continue to cause me personal hardship and difficulty, all without any proper cause. As I reflect on this situation and how easily and innocently I became wrapped up in it I worry most about my daughter and the world she has to grow up in. I will never understand the logic behind TSA's current matching process nor can I see how it improves safety or security. Clearing a false positive takes you back to zero, it offers no gain. I do pray for a better solution, one that takes into account and values the rights and freedom of US citizens. After all, that's one of the primary drivers behind my faithful service to our country. Until then, like many of you, I will do all in my power to clear my name and hope this issue gets resolved and does not cause future strife.

Diyarbakır said...

If people on this watchlist are such a threat, why aren't they arrested when they show up at the airport?

Tech Gadget said...

If implemented as designed, there should be no "name" calling at the TDC positions. On a serious note, hopefully all airport locations fully understand there is no SOP changes in TDC procedure...Go-No-Go decisions will be made prior to boarding pass printing.

forbrugslaan said...

"if you plan to present a driver’s license , purchase tickets using your name as it appears on your driver’s license. If you plan to present a passport, purchase tickets using the name that appears on your passport." This block is really very good as it will help me to solve some of the problems...thanks for sharing this information.

Bruce Monk said...

Is this blog only for venting? Where do constructive suggestions go? I posted a Comment several days ago on possible improvements to Secure Flight. It has not been shown and was non-commercial. Not Posting is OK, if I know that knowledgeable TSA representatives read it.

Inge said...

Geoff said...
If people on this watchlist are such a threat, why aren't they arrested when they show up at the airport?In this country Geoff you need proof to convict someone!

Mike said...

It is becoming a small world. Soon, there will be computer records of everyone and everything that they have ever done.

Is this a bad thing? I don't necessarily think so. I believe that the TSA has a job to do to protect everyone. If someone has a record of terror, then it should be noted.

It is difficult to create a safe place for everyone when we have so many people in the world. The time has come to tie all these computers and records together.

resimler said...

If people on this wtchlst are such a threat, why arn't thy arrested whn thy shw up at the airport?

Anonymous said...

So what happens when you purchase a ticket with a shortened version of your name? For example, if I purchased a ticket under the name Christy Smith, but the name on my passport is Christine Smith. Will something like that cause a problem?

evden eve said...

Hi .. This seems to be no different from any other TSA initiatives that will cause increased difficulties for passengers without any apparent improvement in security...

Anonymous said...

So I am planning a trip with my kids ages 8, 10 and 8 months. Are they required to have a photo ID as well? If so could someone point me in the right direction. If not what is needed to confirm their Identity?

Anonymous said...

Hi All--I fly frequently (3 times per month on average for the last ten years)This change hasn't hurt me or delayed me significantly since it occurred. If you have ID's that don't match names, get them fixed. If you don't have a government issued ID, you can't fly, period, and that has been the case for a long time, not just due to this change in law. In answer to the question of why we maintain a list of people who are too dangerous to fly--if someone is on the watch list, there is a reason--and they are detained. They don't just look at the watch list, say "Sorry, you can't fly" and then send them home! We still have laws and freedom in this country, and they don't slap them in handcuffs right in the TSA security line, because they investigate to see that this is indeed the person for whom they are looking. If the authorities knew where they were already, they would arrest them. Names of people wanted for other things, such as deadbeat parents remiss on child support are also on the watch list so that they can be apprehended if they try to fly. I totally do not understand the comment about "illegally demanding IDs from travelers". Where in the Constitution does it say that we are free to never have to show ID or identify ourselves? Traveling by plane is a privilege, not a right, and should be treated as such. Airlines, airports and any other services are allowed to have rules as to whom can use those services, and under what conditions. Yes, security lines are long, bothersome, and generally annoying. Read the rules, get your crap together, get to the airport in plenty of time, like us business travelers who do it all the time do, and there won't be an issue.

oyuncu said...

Does the new Secure Flight mean your doc checkers will finally quit illegally demanding IDs from travelers or will the TSA break the new law too?

Keith said...

Heightened security will pretty much cause hassle on the part of the passengers. Some security personnel usually implement security measures with much terror. We are usually frightened by how they check and double check all the necessary details for people to be considered terrorists or something. But I do believe that with discipline on both parties will give us peace and security all through out the process of our travel.

kız oyunları said...

Hey Poster Boy, good to see you. I thought you had been banished to Siberia.

Does the new Secure Flight mean your doc checkers will finally quit illegally demanding IDs from travelers or will the TSA break the new law too?

Canary Islands Property said...

I think that what will eventually happen is governments will end up inserting chips in people so that we are all well and truly monitored 24/7.
Rather than creating all the stress that comes with these new laws and precautions, people can be tracked and simply scanned like a tin of beans.

Anonymous said...

I am going on my honeymoon.. hopefully, in three weeks. I am nervous because my fiance booked my plane ticket under my married name. However, my passport and driver's license will be under my maiden name. Does anyone know if my marriage license will be accepted? Does anyone have a place to call and ask this or can reference something showing I will be OK

iyinet frmtr said...

If implemented as designed, there should be no "name" calling at the TDC positions. On a serious note, hopefully all airport locations fully understand there is no SOP changes in TDC procedure...Go-No-Go decisions will be made prior to boarding pass printing.

Anonymous said...

my last name is 21chars. the last letter is misspelled. Its on an int travel ticket back to NY JFK. Should I worry abt the immigration or security checks

Anonymous said...

Can someone please help me? I been sending emails to TSA customer support, and even the Ombudsman, still no solution.

My first name is 10 characters, and last name is 22 characters. The complete name never fit into the airline system, so they cut short my first name. So, the name on my eticket has correct lastname (all 22 characters) but shortened firstname (4 characters instead of 10 characters). TSA customer support gives repeated/recorded answers that it's okay to have a slight change in name, but I should bring some sort of ID for this. Well, I do NOT have any kind of ID for this shortened name, because I was not forced to use this short name in the eticket before. I sent 4,5 emails to TSA support, then gave up. I will be traveling next month, and just hope they don't mess up with my name causing un necessary delays.

InNomina said...

Questions about the new patdown screen.

1. What is to keep a child molester from applying to the TSA to get his dream job of "Patting" "Petting" down children?

Anonymous said...

My husband doesn't like his middle name and commonly uses something different. His tickets were and his passport have different middle names. His driver's license just has the initial, which is the same for both. We are flying to Ireland, will we have a problem? We were told my the airline that we could not change his ticket.

Asesoria de Imagen said...

I think the TSA has finally hit the nail in the head. I my humble opinion, one letter as a middle nane can be forgotten, so it would be unbelievable having my ticked nulled and my flight killed just because a little mistake that could be not typing my middle name or letter.

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend's company will buy the flight tickets for us to travel for company event but the lady who ordered the tickets made a mistake that she type the wrong year of my DOB. what should i do now since she is on vacation now? should I call airline company to change it ?

Business Loans said...

Secret blacklists of American citizens and their travel habits that are used to deny basic freedoms without due process are a bad idea. Any realistic implementation of such a blacklist is even worse than the idea. TSA should go back to its statutory mandate to screen for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries, especially since you don't even do that very well.

Anonymous said...

I just booked three flights with Orbitz. I have two last name and wrote both in the last name field. In my confirmation appears them together without a space. What should I do? I don't know how to change this.

Anonymous said...

What about if the second part of a Hyphenated last name is missing?
My DL last name is hyphenated but even we wrote the info correctly is just showing one of the two last name... could this be a problem?

Anonymous said...

I made a small mistake with my son's middle name when I booked a flight and called United within 30 minutes to ask them to change the ticket. They refused, and passed me off to the travel agency who told me that United would charge $500 plus to cancel the old ticket and issue a corrected one. They both said they'd add a note for the TSA. Is this enough?

Wendy Coy said...

Help! My daughter (18) purchased a ticket from SFO to London with the wrong (completely incorrect) middle name. We have tried dealing with the ticket agency and the airline for the past 10 days; neither will budge on the correction. Please tell me if she will be allowed to pass through TSA and board the plane in the US, and then also what is the potential problem when she flies home, out of Heathrow? She will have her CORRECT passport and driver's license. She's leaving on March 12, 2013. Need help now!!

Tuan Le Duc said...

We are trading freedom from government intrusion for the illusion of safety.

I weep for my country.dich vu seo

Anonymous said...

How many ways can TSA infringe on our freedom?
I would say they are too numerous to count.
We have lost our power to fear and bureaucracy.
Shame on us.

Audrey,

Anonymous said...

I'm flying out of SFO to Bangkok on Aug 20 (also include in this trip is Cambodia and Singapore). In my ticket, my middle name was not included. It just has my first and last names. I was told by the ticketing agency (orbitz) that they have put my middle name on the TSA. I then contacted TSA that if there was an issue, they would ask for secondary id and if they still have an issue they would have you fill out your verification form. Could this be a problem overseas, TSA said they don't know and that to call the customs.

My head hurts just thinking about all this. If anyone can give me assurance or some kind of relief that I won't be screwed or incur cost, I would greatly appreciated it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My wife does not use a last name. So her name is only her first name. When she applied for her US visa, they stamped her name as "FNU Fname" on her visa. FNU is for First name Unknown and they used her first name to be her last (something about the visa office /requiring/ last name to be not empty in their database). So, my question is, how do be book her tickets going forward?? "FNY Fname" as that's the name on her visa or just Fname, the way it appears on the front page of her passport? Thanks...
Anand
bewafa shayari