Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Secure Flight Q&A II

This Saturday, August 15, the second phase of Secure Flight will roll out. I blogged about it last month and explained that Secure flight will be phased in over the next few months and that you may or may not be asked for your birth date and gender.

Since then, many questions have come up. I provided the questions to the Secure Flight Office and they were kind enough to provide some answers. I’d like to publically give the Secure Flight Office kudos for being so openly willing to provide answers for the blog. They understand transparency and the benefits involved in keeping everybody informed and knowledgeable about a program.

Miscellaneous Secure Flight Questions & Answers

Q: Any word on the apparent Secure-Flight requirement that anyone who books their ticket within 72-hours of travel or changes their itinerary within 72 hours of travel (say due to a flight cancellation, weather delay, reroute, etc.) will be subject to HaraSSSSment via SSSSelectee SSSScreening?

A: Facilitating passenger air travel is a key goal of the Secure Flight program. To achieve that goal, Secure Flight was designed to be able to perform real-time watch list matching for passengers who are standing by or who have last minute flight changes.

Q: What if I don't feel like providing my birth date or I just make one up??

A: TSA requires you to provide your full name, date of birth, and gender for the purpose of watch list screening, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. section 114, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and 49 C.F.R parts 1540 and 1560. You may also provide your Redress Number, if available. Failure to provide your full name, date of birth, and gender may result in denial of transport or denial of authority to enter the boarding area.

Q: This particular "layer" isn't terribly effective. If this "layer" of security can be circumvented by anyone with a printer and a word processor, this doesn't seem to be a terribly useful "layer" ... especially looking at the amount of money being expended on this particular "layer". It might be that this money could be more effectively spent on other "layers".

A: TSA uses layers of security to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation's transportation system. Secure Flight’s watchlist name matching constitutes only one security layer of the many in place to protect aviation. Others include intelligence gathering and analysis, airport checkpoints, random canine team searches at airports, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers and more security measures both visible and invisible to the public.

Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt.

Q: What effect will the requirement to ask about sex ... What effect will the requirement to ask about sex have on transgendered persons? I can see many incredibly humiliating scenarios coming forward where someone's biological sex (appearing on their gov't issued ID) seems not to match their visible gender markers or how they'd like to be identified.

A: Under Secure Flight, passengers will be required to provide their name, gender, and date of birth when making a reservation to fly. The gender provided when making the reservation should match the gender indicated on the passenger’s government-issued identification.
Once the passenger has made the reservation, their information will be sent to Secure Flight to perform watch list matching. If the passenger is cleared, there will be no further need to provide gender information from that point forward for purposes of the Secure Flight program. While the passenger may be required to provide an ID at the security checkpoint, this process is not a part of the Secure Flight program. (See last paragraph)

In the event that the individual is deemed a potential match to the watch list, that individual will need to go through the resolution process which occurs at the airport. At the ticket counter (or in some cases at an airport kiosk), name, date of birth, and gender information are taken directly from the passenger’s government-issued ID and submitted to Secure Flight.

Please note that Secure Flight will not impact the process at the security checkpoint in any way. The security checkpoint at airports serves to ensure that you, your identification, and your boarding pass match and are valid. Secure Flight, on the other hand, is a behind-the-scenes process that TSA and airlines collaborate on to compare the information you provide against government watch lists.

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

A: TSA developed the Secure Flight program in accordance with the widely-accepted Fair Information Practice Principles and privacy laws. The most fundamental principle is notice. Consumers should be given notice of an entity's information practices before any personal information is collected from them. TSA has issued a Final Rule, Privacy Impact Assessment, and System of Records Notice. These public notices discuss the purposes, uses, and protections for passenger data, and outline which data elements are to be collected and from whom. The public notices also require that the airlines make a privacy notice available on public Web sites and self-serve kiosks before collecting any personally identifiable information from passengers.

Q: What safeguards are there to prevent the passenger database that will be generated by SecureFlight from being used by other government agencies -- say, police departments for warrant service, or any other agency that may have interest in an individual's travel plans?

A: TSA is authorized to share information with other law enforcement agencies and organizations in certain situations. Entities with whom this information is shared are identified in the Secure Flight System of Records Notice (SORN) which includes the categories of users and the purposes of such uses. According to the Secure Flight Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), organizations with which TSA shares information must agree to maintain reasonable physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to appropriately protect the shared information. If you would like more information, the Secure Flight PIA provides for both the purpose of collecting information and the authorized uses for the information collected.

Q: Can I use an existing government ID that doesn’t meet current information requirements?

A: With regard to acceptable forms of ID, TSA requires that a passenger present an ID that includes their full name, gender, date of birth, and a picture. The ID provides a means by which an airline representative can verify the identity of a passenger if need be. In order to facilitate this verification process, the aforementioned items must be included on the ID.

Q: What if I just got out of prison and don’t have any ID (stolen, etc), but I have, my birth certificate, and SS card, etc?

A: TSA requires that passengers provide a government-issued photo ID if they are a potential match to the watch list. To the avoid unnecessary delays that may occur at the airport if a passenger does not have a government-issued ID that includes a photo, TSA recommends taking the necessary steps to obtain one.

Questions about Names on Boarding Passes Matching Names on ID

Q: 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?

A: TSA has built some flexibility into the processes regarding passenger name accuracy. Because Secure Flight data requirement timelines are related to booking dates, not travel dates, if you have booked a flight that uses a shorter name such as Jim, Tom or Ed, for the near future, you should not notice any changes. Other common minor differences between the passenger’s ID and the passenger’s reservation information, such as the use of a middle initial instead of a full middle name or no middle name/initial at all, also should not cause a problem for the passenger. Over time, passengers should strive to obtain consistency between the name on their ID and the travel information they use for booking flights.

Q: Your blog says that in the near future your name on a boarding pass will have to match the name on your ID such as passports etc. As of now many airlines don't have a provision to enter a middle name when purchasing tickets online. So, how far away is the "near future" and what kind of coordination will be in place to make sure the airlines are on board with this?” I hope that there will not be any problems for the people who do not have their middle names on the tickets.

A: Secure Flight will be phased-in and each airline will be incorporating the necessary changes into their systems over the coming months. Passengers shouldn't be concerned if particular airlines don't ask them to provide the additional information right away; it should not impact their travel. Each airline will request this information as their capability to capture it is integrated into their individual systems.

Q: 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 necessary. Thank you.

A: If you entered your name incorrectly when making the reservation, you should follow the airline’s guidance regarding correcting the mistake.

Q: 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 we 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.

A: In designing the Secure Flight process, TSA anticipated these types of issues and provided airlines with specific instructions on the submission of passenger names for individuals whose government issued ID contains only a single name. These instructions permit the airlines to accept and submit such names to Secure Flight for appropriate processing. The passenger needs only to ensure that the airline with which he/she makes a reservation to fly is aware that he has only one name.

Please note that Secure Flight does NOT require that the information on the boarding pass itself match the ID. Whether or not the information on the boarding pass matches the reservation information depends on the capabilities of each individual airline. Some airlines’ boarding passes do not currently have the ability to support names exactly as they appear on the ID.

Q: 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?

A: Secure Flight requirement timelines are related to booking dates, not travel dates. For reservations that are made prior to the dates that Secure Flight has established for data collection requirements, aircraft operators are not required to collect the required Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD).

Secure Flight requires that domestic aircraft operators request and collect full name as of May 15, 2009, and date of birth and gender as of August 15, 2009 for their domestic flights. For international flights, full name, date of birth, and gender must be requested and collected as of October 31, 2009. These data elements are collectively referred to as SFPD.

Q: Name change due to marriage –Reservation is changed/unchanged name from ID.

A: Under the Secure Flight program, TSA requires aircraft operators to collect a passenger's full name, date of birth, and gender. Full name is defined as the name as it appears on the identification document that the passenger plans to use when traveling. This definition applies equally to a newly married woman. If she plans to travel prior to legally changing her name on her government issued identity document she uses when traveling, she should make her reservation using the name as it appears on that document.

_________________________________________________________________

I would like to thank the Secure Flight Office for taking the time to provide answers to your questions. They have provided answers and information in the past for the following blog posts:

Secure Flight Update 7/15/09
Secure Flight Q&A 6/2/09
What’s In a Name 5/15/09

Thanks,

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

106 comments:

Bubbaloop said...

Bob,

You did not address my concern regarding long names that don´t fit on forms. I understand abbreviations will be OK for now, but I would like to know what will be done when full names are required. Many Latin persons have long names. Just an example (the name of a former heir to the Portuguese throne):

Pedro de Alcântara Francisco Antônio João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim de Bagança e Bourton

Anonymous said...

"I would like to thank the Secure Flight Office for taking the time to provide answers to your questions."

This must be under some new definition of "answer" that does not bother with addressing the actual question asked.

I note that TSA continues to be completely unable to explain how identity is related to security, and why any of this makes anyone safer. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Bob (or the Secure-Flight office),

While I appreciate you addressing my question about last-minute changes requiring SSSSelectee SSSScreening, I am disturbed that yet again, you failed to actually answer the question.

Stating, "To achieve that goal, Secure Flight was designed to be able to perform real-time watch list matching for passengers who are standing by or who have last minute flight changes," is not the same as saying "no, you will not get SSSSelected automatically as a result of last-minute changes/tickets." If that is true, why not just come out and say so? And if it is true, then why the SF requirement to submit the info 72 hours in advance? TSA's CYA never-give-a-definitive-answer mentality is unacceptable.

Similarly, your answer about no-ID passengers is a non-answer. Stating the ID requirement and suggesting people get IDs does not answer the question about what will happen to no-ID pax. The phrase threatening "unnecessary delays" used in the "answer" does not really answer it either.

You really need to work on your answer-writing skills, or have someone outside TSA (and not a lawyer representing DHS/TSA) review your answers before posting them. The only questions you really answered were the 1st, 2nd, and 5th in the "Matching Names" section. Your other answers would have gotten me a D from my high school English or history teachers, an F from my college professors, and laughter and humiliation from academic colleagues and peer reviewers in and beyond grad-school.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

If Secure-Flight compliance is based on booking date, how are TSOs at the checkpoint supposed to know when you booked your ticket? Automated checkin kiosks can't verify that name, DOB, and gender match the ID (unless you plan on requiring machine-readable IDs and requiring that they be scanned, which would be a disaster), so as always, ID verification will fall to the papers-please TDC position now manned by TSOs/BDOs/SPOTters. (the guy with the silly loupe and UV lamp.)

How will they know if the ticket was booked after 8/15 (or after a particular airline started phasing in SF) or before, so that they know if they are supposed to harass, detain, and delay a passenger with a minor or moderate name mismatch?

And even the TDC will be able to verify only name against the ticket, unless you plan to require airlines to print gender and DOB on the BP. Or plan to require airlines to encode the information into their barcodes. Either of which would create huge privacy and ID-theft risks by putting more PII on the BP. And would almost certainly require a new privacy-impact-assessment from TSA.

And how do you plan to verify DOB and prevent us from using bogus DOBs in bookings? You might as well answer the question, because in a few weeks we'll likely have online reports of people using fake DOBs and having no problems whatsoever with flying. Unless you are keeping a global database of valid name and DOB pairs (which again would require PA statements not made by TSA), you have no way to verify this info.

That leads to part of the whole joke about SF and why it is obviously about creating travel dossiers and not just no-fly matching. In reality, the only people who should need to provide DOB and gender are those who would otherwise match the NFL or SSSS lists. It is irrelevant to no-fly matching that the rest of us provide this info. Providing a single field for a redress number and issuing redress numbers(without hassle or delay) to no-fly/SSSS false-positives would have solved the list mismatch problem. This solution also would be much cheaper for the airlines and travel agents (redress # could probably be crammed into an existing PNR comment field without rebuilding the entire system) But by requiring the info from everybody, you put the infrastructure in place to create massive databases of personal information and travel history.

Jim Huggins said...

Forgive me for beating a dead horse ... but why all the "should"s in this answer? Why the inability, or unwillingness, to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?

Anonymous said...

Re: "Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt."

Your ID checkers rely completely on SecureFlight to check the names against the watch list, so the layers are not complementary or "multiplicative"--a failure in one of these two layers breaks both. For example, if a terrorist collaborator can buy a ticket and fly, then all the terrorist needs to do is either photoshop a boarding pass that matches his valid ID (bypass secure flight) or borrow an ID that matches their face (bypass TDC like Bonnie Sweeten).

Your onion-like layer of security model is more like a rube goldberg farce.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I would like to thank the Secure Flight Office for taking the time to provide answers to your questions."

This must be under some new definition of "answer" that does not bother with addressing the actual question asked.

I note that TSA continues to be completely unable to explain how identity is related to security, and why any of this makes anyone safer. Pathetic."


Actually this has been address many times. Either you haven't read it, or do not accept the answer. Either is fine and ok. But that does not mean TSA hasn't answer - maybe you don't like the answer, and if you don't does that mean you question hasn't been answered?

I have not seen post anywhere where TSA has said you have to accept and like the answer, or even agree with the answers conclusions (you might think this doesn't make air travel more safe). But that doesn't mean you haven't been answered.

Where does it say everyone has to agree with an "answer" before that answer is accepted as even being given? To face the facts, TSA might be entirely wrong - but this question has still been answered.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...

"Forgive me for beating a dead horse ... but why all the "should"s in this answer? Why the inability, or unwillingness, to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?"



Because names are so different from culture to culture, nation to nation, religion to religion, and people are so different regardless.

I see the "should's" as a flexibility built into the system for those with different naming practices.

You tell me, what is acceptable for a shortened name? The other day I had a passenger with the first name of "Teresa" on their state id, but the name "Kat" on their boarding pass. They said Kat was a common short hand name for Teresa. Is it, I really don't know? Whats common for me might not be common for you, and so forth.

How can TSA make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names? You tell me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

edited...


"How will they know if the ticket was booked after 8/15 (or after a particular airline started phasing in SF) or before, so that they know if they are supposed to harass, detain, and delay a passenger with a minor or moderate name mismatch?"

The answer to your question is actually quiet easy. When airlines started to charge for almost all check-bags, the same thing happened. Didn't have to pay if you bought your ticket before a certain day.

It's really not that hard to firgure out.

As to knowing which passenger to harass, why all of them, of course. ;)

NoClu said...

You: “Once the passenger has made the reservation, their information will be sent to Secure Flight to perform watch list matching. If the passenger is cleared, there will be no further need to provide gender information from that point forward for purposes of the Secure Flight program. While the passenger may be required to provide an ID at the security checkpoint, this process is not a part of the Secure Flight program.”

Me: Really? The passenger MAY be required to provide and ID… are things changing and you’ve realized how useless the process is, or are you splitting hairs (because ID check at the checkpoint isn’t part of the Secure Flight program).

You: “A: TSA requires that passengers provide a government-issued photo ID if they are a potential match to the watch list.”

Me: So, Gov ID required IF you are a potential match. Does this mean that Gov ID is not required if you are NOT a potential match?

You: “A: With regard to acceptable forms of ID, TSA requires that a passenger present an ID that includes their full name, gender, date of birth, and a picture. The ID provides a means by which an airline representative can verify the identity of a passenger if need be.”

Me: So, is ID is required to help the airline representatives do their job. Sounds like revenue protection more than anything else.

I have to agree with Anon @ 2:57 and Jim Huggins @ 3:15, you have to work on how you try to answer questions, if you really mean to clarify and enlighten the traveling public. Otherwise, most of what you have written here will only help to muddy the water further.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
Forgive me for beating a dead horse ... but why all the "should"s in this answer? Why the inability, or unwillingness, to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?

It is "should" because nothing but death is guaranteed. You try making over 45,000 employees follow every rule every day. At some point someone will make a mistake, because that is just what humans do. Can you make a guarantee that for the rest of your like you, your family, co-workers, etc. are not going to make a mistake along the way?

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
Forgive me for beating a dead horse ... but why all the "should"s in this answer? Why the inability, or unwillingness, to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?

Jim, Should is used because that is what "should" happen. However, we are all human beings and as such we all make mistakes at some time in our lives. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time, so TSA cannot guarantee that all of their 45,000+ employees will not make a mistake. The only guarantee humans can count on is that we will all die at some point.

Anonymous said...

Pedro de Alcântara Francisco Antônio João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim de Bagança e Bourton


I thought the answer was fairl straightforward. How does the name appear on your ID? That's the name you need to use.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the TSA "privacy" policy refers only to the copy of the reservation data sent to the TSA. the *airline* is free, under the Secure flight regulaitons, to keep its copy foreverand do anything it likes with it -- including "share" it with the TSA oir other govt. agencies in the future.

There's a restriction on what the airline can do with info it receives from the TSA, but no restriction on what it can do with info obtained form travelers or third parites, even if the traveler only provides the info to the TSA under TSA duress.

The airline has to have a "privacy policy", but there's no requirement for what's in that policy (not that airline's follow their exisitng privacy policies anyway). it satisfies the TSA regs for an airline to have a policy that says, "We'll keep your data as long as we feel like, and do whatever we feel like with it, without telling you or asking your permisison."

So the TSA may not keep its copy, but it can always get access to the data from the airline or reservation system.

Some "privacy".

Anonymous said...

Bob:

Why, when asked a question regarding differences in exact names, etc., you say that it "should" not be a problem? What is preventing you from saying that it "will" not be a problem?

Bob said...

Q: Is there any reason why TSA won't come out and make a bold promise that says "minor differences in names will not affect travel"?

A: It would be unwise and awfully bold for anybody to state that a new program involving millions of travelers and thousands of airline employees daily would not cause any problems. I don’t know of anybody who would make that claim and put their money on it.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

Q: Is there any relationship between the questions and the answer?

A: No.

Andy said...

You guys didn't answer #1. The point of #1 was to ask if those who book tickets at the last minute (>72 hours in advance) would be subjected to SSSS. Please clarify. Thanks.

Trollkiller said...

Please note that Secure Flight will not impact the process at the security checkpoint in any way. The security checkpoint at airports serves to ensure that you, your identification, and your boarding pass match and are valid. Secure Flight, on the other hand, is a behind-the-scenes process that TSA and airlines collaborate on to compare the information you provide against government watch lists.

Aw man here I went and got all excited that the TSA was FINALLY going to follow the law and stop the illegal ID verification as a criterion for granting access to the sterile area.

Please note the ONLY time you are required by law to show your ID is to the COVERED AIRCRAFT OPERATOR not the TSA.

Title 49 § 1540.107 Submission to screening and inspection.

(c) An individual may not enter a sterile area or board an aircraft if the individual does not present a verifying identity document as defined in §1560.3 of this chapter, when requested for purposes of watch list matching under §1560.105(c), unless otherwise authorized by TSA on a case-by-case basis.

Title 49 § 1560.105 Denial of transport or sterile area access; Designation for enhanced screening.

(a) Applicability . (1) This section applies to each covered aircraft operator ...

(c) Request for identification —(1) In general . If TSA has not informed the covered aircraft operator of the results of watch list matching for an individual by the time the individual attempts to check in, or informs the covered aircraft operator that an individual has been placed in inhibited status, the aircraft operator must request from the individual a verifying identity document pursuant to procedures in its security program., as provided in 49 CFR part 1544, subpart B or 49 CFR part 1546, subpart B. The individual must present a verifying identity document to the covered aircraft operator at the airport.

Trollkiller said...

A: TSA requires that passengers provide a government-issued photo ID if they are a potential match to the watch list. To the avoid unnecessary delays that may occur at the airport if a passenger does not have a government-issued ID that includes a photo, TSA recommends taking the necessary steps to obtain one.

So which is it? Above you say the checkpoint will not change and you will still push forward with the illegal forced ID verification at the checkpoint and here you say that you only need ID "if they are a potential match to the watch list."

Cool my word verification is "retro", even the blog software knows we have been down this road before.

KBCraig said...

I see you talking, but all I hear is Charlie Brown's teacher.

"Wahnnk wnnk wahnnnk wank-wahn-wah."

It takes a special kind of expertise to write so many words and saying nothing at all. It must be a government thing: my fed.gov employer gives the same kind of "answers" to employee feedback on our intranet.

Sandra said...

Jim Huggins wrote, in part

"...to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?"

Anonymous then wrote a long response:

"Because names are so different from culture to culture, nation to nation, religion to religion, and people are so different regardless.

I see the "should's" as a flexibility built into the system for those with different naming practices.

You tell me, what is acceptable for a shortened name? The other day I had a passenger with the first name of "Teresa" on their state id, but the name "Kat" on their boarding pass. They said Kat was a common short hand name for Teresa. Is it, I really don't know? Whats common for me might not be common for you, and so forth.

How can TSA make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names? You tell me.

August 12, 2009 4:14 PM"

Did you note notice Jim's phrase "trying to follow the ever-changing rules"?

That means that the passenger would have booked his/her ticket in the same name used on his "government issued photo ID."

Your answer, Anonymous, had nothing to do with a passenger trying to play by the rules.

Bubbaloop said...

Dear Anonymous TSO who loves to refute all questions,

Please sign a name, any name, so we can more easily exchange ideas with you.

As for your answer "I thought the answer was fairl (sic) straightforward. How does the name appear on your ID? That's the name you need to use."

What I am saying is that long names like that don´t fit on the forms. My name (which, although long, is significantly shorter than that one) does not fit on online forms, and, according to at least one airline, will never fit on a boarding pass, regardless of secure flight rules.

I want to know if I am doomed to perpetual super-screening by the likes of your people because I happen to have a long name.

Anonymous said...

"Actually this has been address many times. Either you haven't read it, or do not accept the answer."

Where? Where has TSA given an explanation of why it thinks identity has anything to do with security, or why a screened passenger without an ID is so much more dangerous than a screened passenger with an ID? TSA has been riding this particular hobby horse for years now but has never, ever, ever given an explanation -- which says quite a lot, given how obsessed they are with checking IDs.

As always, when TSA refuses to answer a simple question, people are justifiably suspicious.

Anonymous said...

What steps has the TSA taken to ensure that the extra PII citizens are being required to turn over to private airlines for internal travel is a) protected and b) not used for other non security purposes?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Jim Huggins said...

"Forgive me for beating a dead horse ... but why all the "should"s in this answer? Why the inability, or unwillingness, to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?"



Because names are so different from culture to culture, nation to nation, religion to religion, and people are so different regardless.

I see the "should's" as a flexibility built into the system for those with different naming practices.

You tell me, what is acceptable for a shortened name? The other day I had a passenger with the first name of "Teresa" on their state id, but the name "Kat" on their boarding pass. They said Kat was a common short hand name for Teresa. Is it, I really don't know? Whats common for me might not be common for you, and so forth.

How can TSA make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names? You tell me.

August 12, 2009 4:14 PM

.........................
I think you make some good points and the answer to your questions is a simple one.

Knowing someones name does not improve security in any way, shape or form.

DHS/TSA saying it does is just not true.

I'll say it again, Identity does not improve security!

What increases safety is screening all people for WEI, all cargo and checked baggage for prohibited items.

TSA only screens passengers! Not all cargo and not all people who enter the secure areas of airports.

TSA does not provide real security!

Bob said...

For the Anon who says we've never discussed why ID is important for security, I suggest checking out these links:

Why ID is Important for Security

ID Heads Up

ID Requirements

ID Update

ID Q&A

ID Post From Kip Hawley

Bloger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Knowing someones name does not improve security in any way, shape or form.

DHS/TSA saying it does is just not true.

I'll say it again, Identity does not improve security!

Sandra said...

Bob, all your links aside, if a passenger does not have any object on his/her person that is verboten, i.e., WEI, please tell us how verifying ID makes traveling safer?

That's what so many want to know and that is the question the TSA is NOT answering.

Anonymous said...

Bob, none of those links answer the question "Why is ID important?", except if you're willing to accept "it's important because we say it is" as an acceptable answer. Now, that's a line that people generally use with their kids. I realize that the government likes to see themselves as our mommy and daddy, but it's fairly insulting to my intelligence to see such answers.

Jim Huggins said...

To my oft-repeated question about why rule-abiding passengers "should" have no problems instead of "will" have no problems, Bob replies:

It would be unwise and awfully bold for anybody to state that a new program involving millions of travelers and thousands of airline employees daily would not cause any problems. I don’t know of anybody who would make that claim and put their money on it.


Bob ... can you understand why this is frustrating? Passengers are asked to become an "active partner in [their] security experience by knowing the rules". If a passenger doesn't follow the rules, the consequences are entirely their fault. But when a TSO doesn't follow the rules, the answer seems to be "well, give us a break, you can't possibly expect us to be perfect."

If you're going to demand that passengers follow the rules all the time, and gleefully announce every week how many times passengers don't follow the rules on the TSA homepage (a number less than .001% of passengers, by the way), it hardly seems unreasonable to expect the same high standard of performance from those doing the screening.

RB said...

Sandra said...
Bob, all your links aside, if a passenger does not have any object on his/her person that is verboten, i.e., WEI, please tell us how verifying ID makes traveling safer?

That's what so many want to know and that is the question the TSA is NOT answering.

August 13, 2009 9:16 AM

...........................
Bob's method of answering your question will go something like this:

Puts on Ruby Red Slippers and clicks heels three times while repeating I wish it were true, I wish it were true......

Worked for Dorothy.

Phil said...

Bob, it seems that each of the pages to which you linked dances around the issue of identification of passengers, but never answers the question. Could you please quote the relevant portion instead of just pointing us to the entire discussion?

Can you explain how the ID check does anything besides 1) protect airline revenue (preventing customers from transferring tickets, thus allowing airlines to sell a seat a second time if the purchaser is unable to use his ticket) and 2) restricting people's freedom of movement using blacklists?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

If your neighbor bought an orange car, and you asked, "Neighbor, why did you buy an orange car?", and your neighbor said "Orange is a mixture of red and yellow," would you consider your neighbor to have answered your question?

Of course not. Your neighbor might have said some words right after you asked your question, but they're not an answer in any meaningful sense of the word.

So too with TSA. Nothing you've posted has ever addressed the fundamental "why" behind TSA's obsession with identity. To claim otherwise is to be deliberately obtuse.

Throw this on the pile with the war on liquids and the shoe carnival as security theatre that does nothing to make anyone safer.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anonymous: "It is "should" because nothing but death is guaranteed. You try making over 45,000 employees follow every rule every day. At some point someone will make a mistake, because that is just what humans do. Can you make a guarantee that for the rest of your like you, your family, co-workers, etc. are not going to make a mistake along the way?"

Burger King, McDonalds, KFC, etc all have as many if not more employees of lower quality yet I can walk into any of those and get the same burger/taco/chicken/etc at any of those places - even if they're not owned by the same people.

What does that say about TSA if they can't control 45,000 people and get them to follow their own rules? I don't want to hear that it's hard - it can be done. TSA isn't doing it.

Earl

Rational Thinking Adult said...

Bob said...

For the Anon who says we've never discussed why ID is important for security, I suggest checking out these links:

Why ID is Important for Security

ID Heads Up

ID Requirements

ID Update

ID Q&A

ID Post From Kip Hawley

Bloger Bob
TSA Blog Team

August 13, 2009 9:05 AM
-----------------------------

Best I can tell from all of the above cited posts, the TSA considers ID verification important in order to match the ID to boarding passes. This is presumed upon the fact that the boarding pass is genuine and the person holding the boarding pass has been vetted against the watch list.

There are several problems here which the TSA has failed to specifically address at this point, which should make any thinking person question how valuable this process is in its current form.

Problem 1: Boarding passes printed at home

A) How is the document checker able to tell if the boarding pass printed at home contains information which correctly matches the data which was entered when the flight was booked.

B) The document checker is apparently only checking the validity of the travel document presented, and is unable to check whether or not the name and other identifying information listed on the travel document corresponds to anyone listed in the terrorist watchlist because as noted by Bob, the match is presumed to have been preformed prior to the ticket being issued.

Solution:
Verification of the boarding pass should be preformed at the travel document checker's position. This could be preformed via a secure credential on a boarding pass. The TSA has made some proposals to include this step, which is good.

To not preform this step leaves the whole process in question.

Problem 2: Data entered on terrorist watchlist

How complete is the data entered on the terrorist watchlist?

Problem 3: Terrorists not listed on the watchlist.

This is a pretty major incongruity. As posted earlier, known terrorists are not presented on the watch list. How does the TSA reconcile this verification process if the data set being used to verify excludes the actual people whom the TSA is trying to deny flight privledges?

Problem 4: This catches "amateur" or non-state sponsored terrorists.

While many of the 911 hijackers did in fact have valid ID, any highly motivated, highly trained, and well funded terrorist will a) have valid ID and not be on a watch list b) be able to procure an authentic ID or undetectable facsimile through coercion.

This may dissuade some potential terrorists, but if we are looking to defend against another 911 scenario this does little to solve the problem.

Problem 5: The ID verification process can be overcome by finding a similar looking ID holder.

Any teenager who has borrowed a sibling's ID, or by a terrorist obtaining the ID of a similiar looking person.

Solution: Check biometric data. The problem is, do we have biometric data of the people listed on the terrorist watchlist. Will passengers be willing to submit to biometric data screening at the checkpoint? Will passengers be willing to deal with additional delay at the checkpoint?

Major incongruity:

If someone is on the watch list but passes the screening process, why are they a danger?

Not fully addressing this question again leads the thinking adult to question the entire process. Merely making hand waving by the TSA of layers of security does not address the actual question, nor does it make someone safer in any actuality.

Conclusion:

The TSA's response to such questions is typically, that ID is one of many layers of security. The problem is that highly motivated and well funded terrorists along with any thinking person can see the obvious holes in the current process. If the TSA wants to convince intelligent thinking people that this process is needed, then it needs to fully commit to the process and not go "part way". To do anything less is not very persuasive to any intelligent and educated person as to why this process is needed,

RB said...

Rational Thinking Adult said...

Conclusion:

The TSA's response to such questions is typically, that ID is one of many layers of security. The problem is that highly motivated and well funded terrorists along with any thinking person can see the obvious holes in the current process. If the TSA wants to convince intelligent thinking people that this process is needed, then it needs to fully commit to the process and not go "part way". To do anything less is not very persuasive to any intelligent and educated person as to why this process is needed,

August 13, 2009 12:02 PM

...................
If TSA screens people and prevents WEI from getting onto aircraft what benefit does knowing a persons identity provide?

I say no benefit is gained.

TSORon said...

Rational Thinking Adult said...

“Conclusion:

The TSA's response to such questions is typically, that ID is one of many layers of security. The problem is that highly motivated and well funded terrorists along with any thinking person can see the obvious holes in the current process. If the TSA wants to convince intelligent thinking people that this process is needed, then it needs to fully commit to the process and not go "part way". To do anything less is not very persuasive to any intelligent and educated person as to why this process is needed,”

Some of the layers of the security process provided by the TSA you will be able to see and acknowledge, some you will not. Some of the layers are specifically designed to be hidden from the public, and some are not. Some of the layers of the security process you may have a need to know about, some you don’t. One of those layers of security is keeping certain layers unknown to the public, and hopefully the terrorists as well. Known security measures can be planned for, unknown one’s cannot. Known security measures one might be able to circumvent, unknown one’s cannot be.

You may think that there are holes in the process, and there might be a few, but there is much that you cannot see which includes much of what you seem to write about. A rational thinking adult with a security background “should” be able to see that. Those with no background in security will have a much tougher time finding not only the holes but also those hidden things that plug them.

Trollkiller said...

TSORon said...

Some of the layers of the security process provided by the TSA you will be able to see and acknowledge, some you will not. Some of the layers are specifically designed to be hidden from the public, and some are not. Some of the layers of the security process you may have a need to know about, some you don’t. One of those layers of security is keeping certain layers unknown to the public, and hopefully the terrorists as well. Known security measures can be planned for, unknown one’s cannot. Known security measures one might be able to circumvent, unknown one’s cannot be.

You may think that there are holes in the process, and there might be a few, but there is much that you cannot see which includes much of what you seem to write about. A rational thinking adult with a security background “should” be able to see that. Those with no background in security will have a much tougher time finding not only the holes but also those hidden things that plug them.


Horse hockey!

Anonymous said...

Simple question. When did the Fourth Amendment get repealed?

Anonymous said...

On August 12, 2009 9:54 PM

Blogger Bob said:

Q: Is there any reason why TSA won't come out and make a bold promise that says "minor differences in names will not affect travel"?

A: It would be unwise and awfully bold for anybody to state that a new program involving millions of travelers and thousands of airline employees daily would not cause any problems. I don’t know of anybody who would make that claim and put their money on it.


Bob, the issue is not really that people want you to say "will not" instead of "should not". Any rational person well understands that with 45,000 people there will be the occasional slip-up. What is frustrating to so many people is that TSA will never to commit to a hard and fast rule for itself (or for that matter the flying public).

A statement that would be much more acceptable to us would be something along the lines of: "Minor differences in names are not an issue. If a TSA agent objects to a minor difference in names, he or she is in error. In this case, you should politely ask for a supervisor."

That would tell the public what to expect and would also give some clarity to what the rules really are. I undertand that this is contrary to TSA practice and that is is much simpler to hide behind "SSI" when anyone asks to see the actual rules; however, it may be time for TSA management to consider the need for some transparency. It would go a long way to damp down the hostility felt towards TSA.

T-the-B at flyertalk

Marshall's SO said...

Bob, I would suggest that it be mandatory for all employees of the TSA, "leadership" (including Janet) downward to the lowliest screener, to read comments by readers of the Washington Post, the New York Times, many websites, etc. about this newest form of harassment from the TSA. Doing so will at least get you a heads-up as to the resentment your screeners are going to face, in spite of your "suggestion" that we "be courteous" to your screeners so they will let us through.

Over the past two days I have read more than 350 comments on several sights and I can count on one hand the number that were favorable towards "Secure Flight."

Now, back to the "be courteous" comments. The fact that the TSA has the arrogance to say that we have to play nice in order to get through a checkpoint just shows how out of control this agency has become. A passenger's access to the "sterile area" (that's put in quotes because it's not sterile, no matter what you think) must not depend on whether one of your screeners likes the passenger's attitude or not.

RB said...

Blogger Bob has once again violated his oath to the Constitution by limited free speech, speech which in no way challenged the illegal posting guidelines on this government operated blog.

So I will again attempt to use my Constitutional Right as a citizen to question my government.

DHS/TSA has determined tht people cannot travel without permission from the government. A clear violation of the Constitution.

Then they say they are not capable of ensuring that their employees will comply with this illegal regulations.

TSA requires compliance by travelers.

TSA will not require compliance by employees.

Sounds wrong if you ask me.

I suggest readers should consider these facts. TSA cannot ensure compliance by its employees with TSA policy. Why?

TSA has secret, unknown to the public rules that we must somehow comply with. TSA will not take a stand saying that employees will comply with policy.

Discussion is underway for government to mangage healthcare for the citizens of this country. If we take performance of TSA as any kind of measure of how well government can do certain tasks then why would anyone condsider allowing government to take on such a responsibility?

TSA in its current form is such a complete failure that allowing government to do anything should be warning enough.

So do you want an agency is capable as TSA in charge of your healthcare decisions?

Anonymous said...

The birth date requirement is easily defeated. TSA didnt require airlines to print the date of birth on the boarding pass or to embed it in the barcode.

As a result, someone could get away without inputting their real birth date at the time of ticket purchase.

Anonymous said...

As a result of the oversight of not requiring airlines to print birthday on the BP (or embedding it in the barcode), TSA has created a simple loophole that undermines the entire XXX millions of investment in Secure Flight.

Al Ames said...

Anonymous said: "As a result of the oversight of not requiring airlines to print birthday on the BP (or embedding it in the barcode), TSA has created a simple loophole that undermines the entire XXX millions of investment in Secure Flight."

You're also assuming that the purpose of Secure Flight is to secure air travel. Depending on the motive, it may not be an issue in calculating the return on investment.

Al

Anonymous said...

RB said...

"Anonymous said...
Jim Huggins said...

"Forgive me for beating a dead horse ... but why all the "should"s in this answer? Why the inability, or unwillingness, to make guarantees for the passenger who is just trying to follow the ever-changing rules?"



Because names are so different from culture to culture, nation to nation, religion to religion, and people are so different regardless.

I see the "should's" as a flexibility built into the system for those with different naming practices.

You tell me, what is acceptable for a shortened name? The other day I had a passenger with the first name of "Teresa" on their state id, but the name "Kat" on their boarding pass. They said Kat was a common short hand name for Teresa. Is it, I really don't know? Whats common for me might not be common for you, and so forth.

How can TSA make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names? You tell me.

August 12, 2009 4:14 PM

.........................
I think you make some good points and the answer to your questions is a simple one.

Knowing someones name does not improve security in any way, shape or form.

DHS/TSA saying it does is just not true.

I'll say it again, Identity does not improve security!

What increases safety is screening all people for WEI, all cargo and checked baggage for prohibited items.

TSA only screens passengers! Not all cargo and not all people who enter the secure areas of airports.

TSA does not provide real security!"

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

You didn't answer my question, RB.

I asked "How can TSA make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names?"

To said knowing someones name does not making flying any more secure.

Fine, but that does not answer what I asked.

So again, assuming that this policy WILL come into effect, even if you believe it provides for no better security, even if you don't like it, my question is "how do you make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names?"

Anonymous said...

I read the posts that you linked, Bob; to repeat what several other posters have already pointed out, none of the posts came anywhere close to answering the question of why "identity matters." What I did find was a lot of talk about "layers," and about one "layer" in particular, the "Behavior Detection Officer." I highly doubt that anyone from the TSA will actually go so far as to provide independent, peer-reviewed studies that back up the TSA's theory that it is possible to detect criminal intent by focusing on a subject's "microexpressions" (and I don't mean a quote from one of the researchers who have profited by selling the TSA on this system), but perhaps you could do one thing...

On this blog BDOs are regularly described as "highly trained." However, to my knowledge BDO training lasts all of seven days (four in a classroom, three on the job). I'm sure the vast majority of BDOs are decent people who work hard at their job-- I'll even concede that they may truly be able to filter out the seemingly contradictory subconscious impulses to racially profile on the one hand with the strict prohibitions on racial profiling on the other as they analyze our "microexpressions." That being said, it's an insult to those of us who have spent years developing career-related skills to suggest that a week can make anyone "highly trained" in anything. Please avoid such patently false descriptions in the future.

Also, please avoid posting links that do not actually answer the questions that you claim they do-- this is a waste of our time.

Khurt Williams said...

I did not see an answer to the question about names that are too long to enter into the airline system. I have 3 middle names listed on my passport. When I booked my tickets I saw no way to enter all those names. How will this affect my ability to fly? This is not a hypothetical questions.

D.Ramsey said...

From what I have read on SF the airlines have been doing something similar to this for a long time. Now the only difference is that TSA will be doing it instead of multiple airlines doing the same thing. Nobody seemed to have an issue when the airlines were checking this information, but now that TSA is going to be doing the checking everybody is up in arms. Is it only because TSA is doing this? It seems to me that there are much bigger an issue to deal with than who is checking names against the watch list isn't there? I have yet to see anybody denied boarding because of a slight difference in the names on their boarding pass and their ID.

On a side note, I have a friend who is the security director for an airline who is currently running SF. He just informed me that they love it! That is runs very smoothly; they have entire flights of 125 to 140 passengers cleared within 5 minutes. If a passenger name comes back with an issue it is within 72 hours before the flight and they have time to correct it and they have never had a passenger denied or made a selectee for additional screening. He informed me that the entire process runs very smoothly and he is very impressed with it. I really hope this will help alleviate some of the anxiety people feel about this program.

Anonymous said...

RB, I remember reading in the constitution about the right to air travel....wait...its not there. Last i checked the TSA has nothing to do with where you go by car, or by train. If you want to travel without being hassled by a so called "incompetent" government agency... don't fly... simple, elegant, and to the point.

Ryan K. said...

Hey Everyone,

I have a question regarding the Q&A answer on transgender people. What if a person's gender identity, does not match their gender expression? I.e. What if a person's legal gender does not match their gender expression as they present themselves? This is an incredibly important issue for the trans community--and could raise concerns about the resolution process you mentioned.

Gender Identity and Gender Expression are protected from discrimination by Colorado State Law. Can you please provide me an official policy regarding the questions raised, and details of the resolution process as they might affect a transgender individual's privacy, dignity,and security?

Thank you,

Ryan K.

Anonymous said...

Marshall's SO said...

"Now, back to the "be courteous" comments. The fact that the TSA has the arrogance to say that we have to play nice in order to get through a checkpoint just shows how out of control this agency has become. A passenger's access to the "sterile area" (that's put in quotes because it's not sterile, no matter what you think) must not depend on whether one of your screeners likes the passenger's attitude or not."

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

Now your just being a bit unrealistic. This advice is true no matter where you go, no matter who you deal with. Even when you deal with people/companies outside of government.

I worked in private industry for nearly 20 years before coming to the government and can honestly tell you that polite people get more than rude ones.

It is not fair. It should not happen. But lets face the facts; it does happen.

Its part of human nature, I believe. You are more helpful to those who are kind and polite to you. Notice, I am NOT saying this is an excuse for any bad behavior on the part of a TSA employee toward a rude passenger. There is no excuse for that. But lets deal with reality here.

Not accepting this or failing to recognize this FACT does not change it.

That old saying was around long before TSA came to be: "you get more flies with sugar than vinegar".

Anonymous said...

RB said...

"Blogger Bob has once again violated his oath to the Constitution by limited free speech, speech which in no way challenged the illegal posting guidelines on this government operated blog."

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

Bob has not violated anything. Free speech does not mean you can say anything you want. Free speech does not mean the government has to post anything you write on this blog.

If you think it does, take a civic class once again, you seem to have forgotten your lessons.

Now, it would/might be a violation of the freedom of speech if you were punished for what you said on this web site without the right to redress. But has that happened to you? I doubt it.

Irish said...

Blogger Bob tells us . . . .

"A: It would be unwise and awfully bold for anybody to state that a new program involving millions of travelers and thousands of airline employees daily would not cause any problems. I don’t know of anybody who would make that claim and put their money on it."


Especially if one is talking about TSA. Bob, I'm really tired of the "how can we hold so many employees responsible for knowing and properly applying the rules" argument.

Do mistakes happen? Yes, of course -- in every venue. These are human beings; they make mistakes. However, consider this: There are over 200,000 EMT's in the US. Recently, here where I live, a couple of EMT's declared a patient dead on the scene. The patient was not yet dead. They'll likely lose their jobs. However, the point of this story is -- one local tv station wanted to see how common such mistakes are among EMT's. After two days of research, they could come up with LESS THAN ONE such serious error per year in the ENTIRE US.

If we can manage to get over five times as many EMT's to follow proper procedure at a rate in excess of 99% of the time, then what exactly is the problem with getting your workforce to do the same?

The obvious conclusion seems pretty embarrassing for TSA.

Irish

Adrian said...

Let's be clear: checking names against watch lists during ticket purchase and comparing IDs to boarding passes at the checkpoint are NOT two independent layers of security. They are two links in a chain. Both have to work in order to achieve the goal of keeping no-flies from getting through the checkpoint. If either one can be broken (currently they both can be), then the system fails.

If you were really designing a system to keep no-flies from passing through the checkpoint, then you'd do it all at the checkpoint. The boarding pass would be irrelevant, and you'd compare the passenger's ID to entries on the no-fly list at the checkpoint.

Compared to the current Secure Flight plus checkpoint ID check, this has a much smaller window of vulnerability, it reduces the ability of bad guys to determine who's on the watch list, it eliminates data leakage to third parties (i.e., airlines who have no obligation to keep the data private), it keeps passengers safer from identity theft, it is simpler to deploy (because it doesn't require coordination with the airlines), it costs less to deploy, and it could have been deployed long ago.

Anonymous said...

Each time TSA trots out this "layers of security" model, I am reminded of the "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" saying.

The weak link in TSA's ID checking system is that they trust the potential terrorists to arrive at the TDC with a real boarding pass. Welding more whiz-bangs rules onto the secure-flight no-fly-list checking does nothing to make the paper-thin layer/link at the TDC boarding pass check any stronger.

When TSA acts as if it doesn't recognize a problem, it makes people think you are idiots. If you can't even get the ID system that you think is so important right, why should we believe you can get anything important right?

If TSA was selling their security theatre chain, they'd advertise how many links it has, rather than how strong it is.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Do you car to discuss why 100% of the comments made about Secure Flight on the NYT are negative?

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/travel/16practsa.html?sort=recommended

Anonymous said...

I think that If a person is found to be on a watch list and trying to fly on a plane, they would be arrested or possibly shot down by the FBI and Federal Air Marshals before they even had a chance to blink.
The T.S.A. officer at the checkpoint is the least of your worries.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I think that If a person is found to be on a watch list and trying to fly on a plane, they would be arrested or possibly shot down by the FBI and Federal Air Marshals before they even had a chance to blink."

A woman who once worked for my girlfriend just got a $3,000,000 settlement from our government because the FBI was involved in the murder of her husband. So much for your opinion.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "RB, I remember reading in the constitution about the right to air travel....wait...its not there. Last i checked the TSA has nothing to do with where you go by car, or by train. If you want to travel without being hassled by a so called "incompetent" government agency... don't fly... simple, elegant, and to the point."

Apparently, you haven't read it, or if you have, you don't understand it.

Read Amendments 9 and 10 of the Constitution found here

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


In the 9th amendment, it clearly states that just because they didn't spell it out doesn't mean that a right to do something doesn't exist. The Founding Fathers knew they couldn't conceive of everything, nor did they feel the need to spell everything out. Remember, the constitution was written as a limit on the government, NOT the people. Some of the FF's thought that the Constitution was clear enough, others thought that the Bill of Rights was necessary to spell out certain rights lest they be infringed. Looks like the latter were right, as people today are ignorant of what the constitution is and means, and have to have everything spelled out for them.

So please, oh great understander of rights and the constitution, show me where the right to travel is spelled out as a limit and takeable by the government without due process.

I'll give you a clue - see the 9th amendment. I'll wait.

Robert

RB said...

Fine, but that does not answer what I asked.

So again, assuming that this policy WILL come into effect, even if you believe it provides for no better security, even if you don't like it, my question is "how do you make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names?"

August 14, 2009 10:15 PM
....................
I would suggest that such a policy cannot be created and is therefore doomed to failure.

Besides the need for such a policy is unproven.

RB said...

If you think it does, take a civic class once again, you seem to have forgotten your lessons.

Now, it would/might be a violation of the freedom of speech if you were punished for what you said on this web site without the right to redress. But has that happened to you? I doubt it.

August 16, 2009 1:51 PM

..................
Here's a place you can do a little reading on Freedom of Speech anon.

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/

Get back to me when you get done.

Anonymous said...

Suppose I am a terrorist and know my name is on the watch list. Suppose I am also incompetent enough a terrorist not to be able to get myself a fake ID (yes, I am a very incompetent terrorist).

What would I do? I would book the flight under a fake foreign name. It obviously would not match any watch list data, since the name and information are made up.

Then, I would print out at home a fake boarding pass with my real name, matching my ID exactly, and use the real ID when going through the checkpoint. The TSA does not check our boarding passes against anything but our ID, so I would be free to go.

See? Even an incompetent terrorist can get through this "layer".

Anonymous said...

D Ramsey wrote:
Now the only difference is that TSA will be doing it instead of multiple airlines doing the same thing. Nobody seemed to have an issue when the airlines were checking this information, but now that TSA is going to be doing the checking everybody is up in arms. Is it only because TSA is doing this? It seems to me that there are much bigger an issue to deal with than who is checking names against the watch list isn't there?


A lot of us have been up in arms since well before TSA took it over. The entire concept of having a government-selected blacklist (the list was always managed by the government) that can be used to deny liberty to law-abiding citizens with no due process and no effective means of redress is fundamentally un-American. Requiring government permission for law-abiding citizens to travel domestically (this system is the 21st-century equivalent of USSR and Eastern Bloc "papers please?") is also fundamentally un-American.

The debacle that is the no-fly list is a classic example of Stasi-like tactics that are easily abused. At first, DHS/TSA denied the existence of such a list, but they were forced to recant when the David Nelsons and Robert Johnsons came forward. Not only have random innocents been impacted, but bureaucrats from both the Bush administration and Obama administration have been effectively caught putting the names of opponents/dissenters on the list out of spite or revenge. (Bush DHS/TSA: CNN reporter Drew Griffin for writing about no-fly list abuse. Obama Administration: Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin, a long time political opponent/adveseary of Napolitano.)

Moving the list-checking from the airlines to the TSA makes it worse, because with TSA checking, there will be an even greater presumption of correctness (i.e., guilt) when there is a false positive. And there still will be false positives. If indeed Secure Flight reduces false positives (I personally don't believe it will, because the number of "near matches" will go up when DOB is added to the database search), it will help the people who would have been false positives at the expense of making it even harder for the remaining false positives to clear their names. Moving the list-checking to TSA also makes it harder for an impacted innocent person to avoid issues by switching airlines, or even modes of transportation. (DHS/TSA has made inroads into expanding it into ship and boat service and obviously would like to expand this to trains and buses if they could get away with it.) It's much more serious for the government to deny you the ability to travel than for any individual business to do so.

There is no "fix" for the no-fly list except to abolish it. CAPPS II was not a fix; it was an effort to use data mining to create travel, residence, and credit dossiers on innocent Americans to determine if their activities were suspicious. Secure Flight was not a fix; it is a slightly scaled down effort to create travel dossiers on innocent Americans while (they hope) reducing the bad PR that comes with years of false no-fly matches. Someday a court will strike down the insanity of the USA allowing a secret blacklist with no due process and no effective means of redress to deny liberty. And history will judge those who architected, enabled, and implemented such a policy.

Omar said...

So much boilerplate. Try having somebody OTHER than the PR/lawyers write the answers maybe? Too many of these are pathetically useless.

For example, the question about not trusting TSA after a previous breach of data does not in any way address the question, or the issues it raises. E.g.:

* punishment for transgressions. eg, accountability.

* the actual trust issue or what has been done to redress that specific instance

* accountability. How about an IG or ombudsman with firing authority, or an FAA liaison with power to sanction an airline if that airline is at fault? Some motivation to follow the rules? You've already shown that TSA does not always, and that you refuse to provide visibility into the redress process.

* And if you aren't going to answer the questions, spare us the smoke and handwaving...

Anonymous said...

RB said..

"If you think it does, take a civic class once again, you seem to have forgotten your lessons.

Now, it would/might be a violation of the freedom of speech if you were punished for what you said on this web site without the right to redress. But has that happened to you? I doubt it.

August 16, 2009 1:51 PM

..................
Here's a place you can do a little reading on Freedom of Speech anon.

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/

Get back to me when you get done."

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

Yeah, ok, I studied all that in college. So what?

You still don't have the right to say whatever you want, you can actually get in trouble for that. I'm sure you know of the terms "libel" and "slander" and "defamation". All of these are when flapping your lips can get you into trouble, despite the fact that the freedom of speech is protected by the constitution. Proof that you do not have the right to say whatever pops into your mind.

But not only that, the TSA through this blog, does not have to publish whatever you want. Send in your comments to the blog team. They have every right ot not post them.

The fact that you are not punished for what you attempt to post here, even if it is not posted, and the fact that you have the right to redress your grievances, as you did when you were able to post a complain that your other post was apparently deleted, is proof that your freedom of speech is actually being protected by Bob.

You owe him thanks, but I doubt that you will give it to him. You seem like a very sour and ungrateful person.

But like I said, you need a refresher course in how our government/system of politics works.

Anonymous said...

RB said...

"Fine, but that does not answer what I asked.

So again, assuming that this policy WILL come into effect, even if you believe it provides for no better security, even if you don't like it, my question is "how do you make a guaranteed policy that encompasses everyones conceptions (misconceptions?) regarding names?"

August 14, 2009 10:15 PM
....................
I would suggest that such a policy cannot be created and is therefore doomed to failure.

Besides the need for such a policy is unproven."

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

So you agree with me when I told Jim Huggins that such a policy can not be created? Good to know we agree on at least something.

Anonymous said...

Robert Johnson said...

"So please, oh great understander of rights and the constitution, show me where the right to travel is spelled out as a limit and takeable by the government without due process."


Ok, all you have to do is read judicial decision handed down throughout the years. In Gilmore v. Gonzales the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals specifically said no one has the constitutional right to fly. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case when Gilmore appealed the decision.

Anonymous said...

Ok, all you have to do is read judicial decision handed down throughout the years. In Gilmore v. Gonzales the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals specifically said no one has the constitutional right to fly. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case when Gilmore appealed the decision.

---

Ah yes. But they said that's true... because Gilmore had a right to fly without ID with an extra search. We no longer have that right.

Anonymous said...

A question nobody thought to ask: Are the various agencies that maintain the watch lists required to update their million or so records to include full legal name, gender, and birth date?

If not, how will forcing passengers to provide more complete information do anything to improve the accuracy of watch list matching? And more generally, does this do anything to bring more accuracy and accountability to the whole dubious process of compiling watch lists that seems to value quantity over quality?

"Secure Flight" sounds like one of those things that sounded absolutely brilliant when Homeland Security officials discussed, reviewed, and approved it behind their locked doors. But once it gets declassified and imposed on millions of people in the Real World, deficiencies that were ignored or disregarded during the classified Groupthink process become glaringly obvious.

In this case, the most likely effect will to create additional difficulty for millions of innocent passengers. Some of it will be the result of the Inconsistency that is the TSA's hallmark. "Officers" will apply widely differing standards for determining whether documents are "close enough." Some will allow significant mismatches, while others will take the easy approach of mindlessly rejecting all but exact matches.

Other difficulties will result from increased "matches" in the automated part of the system. That seems inevitable when they're putting all the burden of "data cleansing" on passengers without fixing the watch lists themselves. Since this entire process is an opaque black box, passengers who suffer from this difficulty will have to rely on an equally-opaque redress process that for all practical purposes could be replaced with a form letter that says "We recommend you use Greyhound from now on" (but often they find it easier just to ignore the redress request on the assumption that passengers will eventually figure that out for themselves).

The TSA seems to be responding to passenger concerns about Secure Flight in their typical fashion of spinning, obfuscation, and deflection. That somehow all adds up to Effective Security.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Ok, all you have to do is read judicial decision handed down throughout the years. In Gilmore v. Gonzales the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals specifically said no one has the constitutional right to fly. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case when Gilmore appealed the decision.

---

Ah yes. But they said that's true... because Gilmore had a right to fly without ID with an extra search. We no longer have that right."

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

Actually, the 9th Court simply stated in Gilmore that the right to fly is not protected by the constitution, that it is not a constitutional right. They said nothing else about it, nor did they tie it to any id check or any form of screening. Just as you do not have the right to drive (as it can be taken away), so too the "right" to fly.

D.Ramsey said...

To Anonymous who responded to my post. You had a lot to say, and some made sense. My question to you would then be what it your solution? It is fairly clear by now that nobody at this point in time is going to "do away" with the "watch list", "black list", "no fly list" or whatever someone wants to call it today. So, what do you suppose America does? The airlines were getting to many false positives, you are afraid TSA being government ran is going to abuse the power. Am I on the right track? So can you give us a better idea that would work? Please, scrapping the whole system while it would probably greatly please some people is not a plan. Like I said, at least for the time this is here to stay so what do you suggest to make it better?

Sandra said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Just as you do not have the right to drive (as it can be taken away), so too the "right" to fly."

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote on July 10 of this year:


"The harm to the rights of appellants is apparent. It cannot be gainsaid that citizens have a right to drive upon the public streets of the District of Columbia or any other city absent a constitutionally sound reason for limiting their access."

For those who don't know the term gainsaid, it means "denied."

IOW: "It cannot be denied that citizens have a right to drive upon the public streets...."

What say you now, Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Sandra said...

"Anonymous wrote:

"Just as you do not have the right to drive (as it can be taken away), so too the "right" to fly."

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia wrote on July 10 of this year:


"The harm to the rights of appellants is apparent. It cannot be gainsaid that citizens have a right to drive upon the public streets of the District of Columbia or any other city absent a constitutionally sound reason for limiting their access."

For those who don't know the term gainsaid, it means "denied."

IOW: "It cannot be denied that citizens have a right to drive upon the public streets...."

What say you now, Anonymous?"


What do I say? As a driver there are still laws (conditions) that have to be met before I can get a license to drive. I don't have to be accused of anything - the state has the right to set up certain procedures for me to get a license.

You seem to be confusing these "rights" with what one might call an "unfettered right", meaning you have unlimited access and no restrictions to. That is not the case. Our rights to travel are tempered by certain conditions, many of which you do not even have to be accussed of doing anything illegal for you to lose that right.

Thats what I have to say about that.

But really, I can care less with the right to drive. We are specifically talking about flying, and I was just using that as an example where everyone knows you can lose your right. Every hear of anyone who has lost their license? Usually its because of illegal activities (drinking and driving), but more rare its for other reason where the person did not meet certain conditions set forth by the government. I used this as analogy as a comparison between the two.

But nice try to attempt to focuse the issue on something else, as this is actually a moot point.

You cited some sources, but seem unwilling to look up or read federal court cases where it has been stated no one has the constitutional right to fly.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

You cited some sources, but seem unwilling to look up or read federal court cases where it has been stated no one has the constitutional right to fly.


You are correct, no one has the Constitutional right to fly, drive, ride a rocket, train, roller skate, or bicycle.

What everyone has is a Constitutional right to be "free to travel throughout the length and breadth of our land uninhibited by statutes, rules, or regulations which unreasonably burden or restrict this movement".

What the court ruled is the ID policy at the time of Gilmore was reasonable, they went on to explain why it was reasonable.

Like the plaintiff in Miller, Gilmore does not possess a fundamental right to travel by airplane even though it is the most convenient mode of travel for him. Moreover, the identification policy’s “burden” is not unreasonable. See Shapiro v.Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 629 (1969) (noting the right of all citizens to be “free to travel throughout the length and breadth of our land uninhibited by statutes, rules, or regulations which unreasonably burden or restrict this movement”), overruled in part on other grounds by Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651,670-71 (1974). The identification policy requires that airline passengers either present identification OR be subjected to a more extensive search. The more extensive search is similar to searches that we have determined were reasonable and “consistent with a full recognition of appellant’s constitutional right to travel.”

The court is saying that denying someone a single mode of transportation in and of itself is not Unconstitutional but the reason for the denial can be.

In Gilmore the Court ruled that the ID policy was reasonable because it offered an alternative to showing the ID that was not unreasonable.

Note: the Court did not rule that FORCING someone to show ID was Constitutional it only ruled that the alternative available to Gilmore was Constitutional.

The TSA has removed the choice and is FORCING ID verification as a criterion for granting access to the sterile area, thus creating an unreasonable burden restricting movement.

Violet said...

Question: I am a larger person, and I purchase two tickets for myself whenever I fly. Until now, I've booked one ticket in my name, and the second under "ExtraSeat" MyLastName (as if "ExtraSeat" were my first name). What do I do under Secure Flight? I am concerned that booking two tickets under the same name/birthdate/gender combo might not work, or one reservation might accidentally get deleted. Help!

Anonymous said...

Ultimatly what will have to be done is that someone with a lot of $$$ and a lot of time will have to sue the TSA to stop the ID checking and the various watchlists checks. The Courts may be the final dsider. I don't see anyone in Congress forcing the issue, as they would probably be branded soft on terroism.

BUT untill that happens, this all remains a fascinating theoretical debate.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...

edited...


"In Gilmore the Court ruled that the ID policy was reasonable because it offered an alternative to showing the ID that was not unreasonable."


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

You are correct about one thing, our courts have ruled in favor of TSA, but not because of the alternative screening process once offered to those who did not want to show their identification.

The Gilmore ruling clearly states it was constitutional because a person who refused to show their identification has the option to walk away and not fly. This has not changed; there is no punitive measure taken against any passenger who does not want to show their id. If you want I will quote that passage for you from the ruling, but you should have already read it. Or did you miss it?

Anonymous said...

D.Ramsey wrote:
To Anonymous who responded to my post. You had a lot to say, and some made sense. My question to you would then be what it your solution? ...
Like I said, at least for the time this is here to stay so what do you suggest to make it better?


Working within your condition that the underlying government-run blacklist system is to be maintained:

1) Publicly admit to what the system is: a blacklist of people who are not allowed to fly, and a government-required permission-check and papers-please check to fly. DHS/TSA has made some progress on this front (they initially denied the existence of the NFL), but they still use marketing speak, doublespeak, and evasiveness.

2) Provide fast, immediate redress for false-positives. Require airlines to set up a manned checkin counter for NFL matches that is higher priority than the regular bag check line, elite checkin lines, etc. Someone who is being denied the use of a kiosk due to bureaucratic snafu deserves the highest priority for fixing it, not a wait in a 60-minute line. Passenger who is denied a BP at the kiosk due to a false positive should have a resolution within an average of 5 minutes.

3) Provide fast, permanent, redress for false positives. In other words, if you match on your outbound flight on Monday morning, you should be automatically issued a redress # that day when you are cleared, and that redress # should prevent you from matching again on your return flight that afternoon, even if it is on a different airline.

4) Any citizen suffering from repeated mismatches or who believes they are incorrectly a true match for the blacklist should have redress in a public court. In said court, DHS/TSA should be required to publicly account for the reasons for the mismatch or the reason they blacklisted the person. Any citizen who is placed on the blacklist and thus denied liberty should have the right to defend against that accusation in open court, in a public jury trial. Presumption of innocence should go to the passenger, not DHS/TSA. Any passenger cleared by the judge or jury should be removed from the blacklist.

5) Incompetence, negligence (including repeated false positives), or malice (including blacklisting for personal or political retribution) on the part of DHS/TSA employees regarding blacklists should result in (personal) criminal convictions, loss of pension benefits, and prison time. Any case from (4) that makes it to the court and is found in favor of the passenger should result in automatic charges and penalties against someone under this section.

6) Change the system from default-no-fly to default-fly. This seems trivial but is important. As a practical matter, it means to establish now that if and when the blacklist IT infrastructure crashes, the stop-gap solution will be to skip blacklist checks, not subject all passengers to SSSSelectee SSSScreening or shut down airports. No bad guy is going to plan their actions around unpredictable blacklist failures. DHS/TSA's best move would be to make failures completely transparent and non-obvious to passengers and airlines when the system fails (i.e., no delays, no extra checks, etc.). As it is now, TSA would likely shut down air travel or at minimum SSSS all passengers during Secure-Flight crashes. (They have done all-pax SSSS at airports in the past when individual airlines' computers failed.)

7) Require annual independent, 3rd-party audits of Secure Flight to prove that TSA is not maintaining travel dossiers on US citizens, or using commercial data to assign risks.

8) TSA should come up with a legitimate, non-doublespeak, non-spin explanation for how a US citizen can be too dangerous to allow on a commercial airline but not dangerous enough to charge with a crime. This explanation should eventually be tested in court. (IMO such tests will eventually lead to abolishing the blacklist.)

Bubbaloop said...

Just one point to question:

"4) Any citizen suffering from repeated mismatches or who believes they are incorrectly a true match for the blacklist should have redress in a public court. In said court, DHS/TSA should be required to publicly account for the reasons for the mismatch or the reason they blacklisted the person. Any citizen who is placed on the blacklist and thus denied liberty should have the right to defend against that accusation in open court, in a public jury trial. Presumption of innocence should go to the passenger, not DHS/TSA. Any passenger cleared by the judge or jury should be removed from the blacklist."

What should non-US citizens do in this situation? Many "watch-listers" do not live in the US, but through the country.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

You are correct about one thing, our courts have ruled in favor of TSA, but not because of the alternative screening process once offered to those who did not want to show their identification.

The Gilmore ruling clearly states it was constitutional because a person who refused to show their identification has the option to walk away and not fly. This has not changed; there is no punitive measure taken against any passenger who does not want to show their id. If you want I will quote that passage for you from the ruling, but you should have already read it. Or did you miss it?


Go back and read the ruling again, under the "Right to travel" heading they mention the ability to walk away once.

Additionally, Gilmore was free to decline both options and use a different mode of transportation.

Use of the word "additionally" tells me that the ability to walk away was not a central factor in their reasoning on the Constitutionality of the ID policy at the time of Gilmore as it relates to the right to travel.

If you look above the "additionally" sentence you will see clearly the meat of their reasoning was the fact Gilmore had a choice of screening or showing ID. The ability to walk away was merely seasoning for the meat.

While the "walk away" option seems to be a catch all for unconstitutional activity by the Government it will not hold up when given full scrutiny.

I agree with the 9th that Gilmore's rights were not violated but I disagree with their reasoning. And the cases they used to back their reasoning are as weak as water.

I have to run to work but as you can imagine I have much more to say on this. The next chapter will cover the fact that Davis no longer applies. Be sure to study, class dismissed. :-D

Anonymous said...

My two cents worth....

If we want to get from point A to point B, the flying public will have to jump through the hoops, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. Do I feel any safer flying post 9/11 than pre 9/11 with all the new safety and security regulations. NOPE, NOT AT ALL!

Steve said...

There is a fine line between our freedom to do things and our freedom to do things safely. I believe we have the freedom to do things we want yet expect to be safe while doing so. If this means we have to wait in line longer or deal with ridicules rules then so be it. At least we will be safer in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Bubbaloop wrote:
What should non-US citizens do in this situation? Many "watch-listers" do not live in the US, but through the country.


It is an issue. The reason I phrased it specifically for US citizens is that to me it is unquestionable that a US citizen shouldn't be denied liberty without due process. When you get to non citizens, even those legally here, it's trickier.

Non-citizens are a bit more problematic, since technically the government can simply refuse to admit them with no real recourse and maybe even demand that a non-citizen just leave the country.


IANAL, but I recall that courts have generally claimed that anyone in the USA has most if not all of the rights of a citizen. But to me, that's another discussion.

If you let them, TSA will use non-citizens as a distraction to justify their behavior regarding the blacklist. That's why I always focus on the impact of TSA's un-American policies on US citizens.

C said...

I see on the FAQ's posted for the airline industry TSA says that if a passenger changes flights (even if to the same city) he/she has to be ran through the system again? Why is this? He/She was cleared the 1st time what is going to change? Is this a way to track passengers?

Also how long is this data kept? Should be purged as soon as the flight lands as there is no futher use.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...

"I agree with the 9th that Gilmore's rights were not violated but I disagree with their reasoning. And the cases they used to back their reasoning are as weak as water."


When it comes down to it you and I are novices talking about expert subject matter, and though we are in a democratic-republic, our opinions matter for squat.

I have no back ground in law. Sure, went to college, but no law degree here, never worked as a lawyer, never sat on a court, never had to write a brief or a decision.

Where did you goto law school and where did you work to become such an expert that you know better than those who ahve spent their entire lives doing something?

I wonder how foolish I would look if I showed up at a chemical lab, without any education or experience and starting telling them what they were doing was wrong....

It SHOULD speak volumnes, even to the deaf such as you and I, that currently no pending law suits are challenging the ID requirment because the secondary screening option is gone. What is that saying, "actions speak lounder than word."

The ACLU is NOT a friend of TSA. They have tons of money. It would be so easy for them to (months ago) send in a lawyer, refuse to show ID, not be allowed to fly, and file a suit. Nothing yet. And guess what, Gilmore could do the same, he's loaded too.

Why hasn't this happened? Any thoughts, oh teacher.

Trollkiller said...

To Anonymous

Even without formal training you and I possess logic, intelligence and moral grounding in what is right and what is wrong.

I assume by your comments that you also posses the ability to read and comprehend rulings. In those ruling the justices explain their decisions.

The backing cases the justices used to justify their reasoning are weak.

One backing case involved denying someone a license to operate a motor vehicle because that person did not want to submit to the licensing process.

How they tied the legal ability to drive a vehicle with the legal ability to ride in a vehicle is beyond me.

The other backing case involved a travel club that was selling airline tickets without the required travel agency license.

How they tied in an illegal travel agency with someones ability to legally buy a ticket and fly is also beyond me.

It looks like the justices searched back cases and grabbed the two they had ruled against someone's claim to the right to travel without regard to the applicability to the case at hand.

I would have been more comfortable with their ruling if they had not used the backing cases.

As for the ACLU, if you look at their recent history it seems they only take slam dunks, "sexy" or anti-religion cases. (sexy = cases that will garner press like defending a Klan member with a Jewish lawyer)

When was the last time the ACLU took a case that could fall either way depending on the mood of the justices that day?

Why is the ID policy not being challenged? Honestly I don't know. It could be that most people have no clue to the legal nature of the policy, it may be that when push comes to show the TSA will allow you to fly without ID or it could be, like in my case, a lack of resources to mount an effective challenge.

BTW I will post on Davis, it has been stupid busy at work so I have not had a chance to consolidate my lesson.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
It SHOULD speak volumnes, even to the deaf such as you and I, that currently no pending law suits are challenging the ID requirment because the secondary screening option is gone. What is that saying, "actions speak lounder than word."

The ACLU is NOT a friend of TSA. They have tons of money. It would be so easy for them to (months ago) send in a lawyer, refuse to show ID, not be allowed to fly, and file a suit. Nothing yet. And guess what, Gilmore could do the same, he's loaded too.


ACLU is not a friend of TSA, but in general they seem much more focused on left-leaning social issues (e.g., suppressing religious expression in public schools) and high-profile abuses that embarrass the previous administration (e.g., Gitmo abuse) than in nuts-and-bolts issues like freedom-of-movement.

It's likely going to take someone like the Identity Project to deal with this, and they have much less money than the ACLU. You do have a point about Gilmore though. I wonder why Gilmore hasn't tried, but then again, he's already done his part and can't be expected to do everything. He was a nice case though, because he has a medical condition that prevents driving, and he wanted to go a fairly long distance (California to DC) which is relatively impractical by other means.

IANAL either, but there's also an issue of "harm;" my understanding is that someone with lots of money can't just sue about the ID requirement, they have to have some reasonable claim that they were harmed by it. That's why cases that re-affirm civil liberties tend to have litigants who are actually pretty bad criminals who end up "getting off" on the technicality; a "good guy" can't just go sue on the hypothetical that the police might search him without probable cause, etc.

Generating a good test case is hard, because the person probably needs to be traveling for a purpose and not just using a ticket bought for purposes of testing the rule. And because TSA has a fuzzy policy of letting no-ID pax fly sometimes, it's even harder to guarantee a denial. (I wonder if they train TSOs to be extra careful with "willful" no-ID pax who seem to be "testing" the ID policy.)

To me, the ideal test case would be one of these people who has been refused an ID document due to real-ID snafus (and thus truly has no ID), has lots of funds or funding support, is attempting to travel for serious reasons (medical issues, legal issues, to run a business, maybe to meet a government official), and preferably traveling from Hawaii (no other practical means of travel; "take a bus" can't even enter the discussion).

Unfortunately, the intersection of those requirements is pretty small. Most rich people already have ID because they have the clout to fix the type of snafus that prevent people from getting ID. Most rich people have probably flown recently anyway, so a sudden refusal to show ID would look odd. And Hawaii is a small state. (While I think the "take a bus" argument is bogus, a lot of government and commentator-types seem to like it.)

Anyway, just because someone hasn't sued yet doesn't mean someone won't, and doesn't mean the rule is constitutional. It's not like Gilmore sued the week after TWA800 (when the ID requirement really started) or the week after 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous wrote:
It SHOULD speak volumnes, even to the deaf such as you and I, that currently no pending law suits are challenging the ID requirment because the secondary screening option is gone. What is that saying, "actions speak lounder than word."

The ACLU is NOT a friend of TSA. They have tons of money. It would be so easy for them to (months ago) send in a lawyer, refuse to show ID, not be allowed to fly, and file a suit. Nothing yet. And guess what, Gilmore could do the same, he's loaded too.


ACLU is not a friend of TSA, but in general they seem much more focused on left-leaning social issues (e.g., suppressing religious expression in public schools) and high-profile abuses that embarrass the previous administration (e.g., Gitmo abuse) than in nuts-and-bolts issues like freedom-of-movement.

It's likely going to take someone like the Identity Project to deal with this, and they have much less money than the ACLU. You do have a point about Gilmore though. I wonder why Gilmore hasn't tried, but then again, he's already done his part and can't be expected to do everything. He was a nice case though, because he has a medical condition that prevents driving, and he wanted to go a fairly long distance (California to DC) which is relatively impractical by other means."



You may be correct, but I do not think so. A wildly accepted theory holds that people/organizations are fearful to bring cases before the Supreme Court if there is the possibility they will lose because once you lose there you lose big (of course I am putting this in my own words). It may take decades for the Court to reverse itself. This is why we see cases that involve issues in an indirect way - can the government make you undergo a background check to own a gun, not can you own a gun or not.

I think it has more to do with this.

Another possible reason is because its a moot issue. Why? If you understand how the Supreme Court works you should understand that with Gilmore the court had the opportunity to call that case forward and strike down any requirement to show identification before a person flies at all. The Court does this often. People file a case with the Court, state their reasons why, and the Court brushes aside their reasons (and says it has done so in the decision), and rules on something neither side saw coming. The fact that they didn't even want to hear Gilmore tells me they didn't even consider the the ID requirement as a burning constitutional issue. They didn't even give Gilmore the time of day.

In that way its a moot issue. Why would you waste your money fighting a case the Court wouldn't even hear before?

Anyway, just a thought.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous wrote:

The fact that they didn't even want to hear Gilmore tells me they didn't even consider the the ID requirement as a burning constitutional issue. They didn't even give Gilmore the time of day.

In that way its a moot issue. Why would you waste your money fighting a case the Court wouldn't even hear before?


I interpreted that outcome a little differently--not that SCOTUS didn't consider the ID issue serious, but that in a climate of post 9/11 fear and paranoia, striking down ID requirements would be seen as bizarre, would strike down some security measures that might actually be increasing safety (even if they are wrong/illegal), and possibly even reduce the court's credibility. So instead, the court found a way to skirt the issue and rule very narrowly by pointing out that Gilmore could fly without ID by submitting to additional SSSScreening. They like to do that--e.g., they've gone to great lengths to make narrow rulings about affirmative action because to broadly rule that all race discrimination was illegal (i.e., abolish affirmative action completely, which IMO is the obviously Constitutionally-correct position) would abolish a number of well-intentioned social programs that might be doing some good (at the expense of reverse-discrimination victims) and might lead to substantial racial instability.

I personally don't see how anyone who was alive during the Cold War, let alone knows anything about World War II, cannot see government papers-please checkpoints for domestic travel, government permission checks for domestic travel, and the government maintaining travel dossiers on law-abiding citizens with no suspicion, as not serious Constitutional issues.

Perhaps you are right about fear of losing though, and perhaps potential litigants think their prospects will be better in a few years. If Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, or (much less likely) Alito or Roberts, were replaced by Obama, the prospects for a favorable ID ruling would improve. (BTW, I'm in general quite conservative and fear how such a replacement would vote on other issues, but would welcome a more libertarian stance on travel and freedom issues.) That's not unlikely, particularly if Obama manages to find a course center of far left and get himself re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous wrote:

The fact that they didn't even want to hear Gilmore tells me they didn't even consider the the ID requirement as a burning constitutional issue. They didn't even give Gilmore the time of day.

In that way its a moot issue. Why would you waste your money fighting a case the Court wouldn't even hear before?


I interpreted that outcome a little differently--not that SCOTUS didn't consider the ID issue serious, but that in a climate of post 9/11 fear and paranoia, striking down ID requirements would be seen as bizarre, would strike down some security measures that might actually be increasing safety (even if they are wrong/illegal), and possibly even reduce the court's credibility.

So instead, the court found a way to skirt the issue and rule very narrowly by pointing out that Gilmore could fly without ID by submitting to additional SSSScreening."

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

I still think my interpertation is correct, but we're all entitled to our opinions.

However, I think you misstated something, or mixed some facts together. The Supreme Court did not rule about Gilmore at all. They refused to hear the case. The 9th Court handed down the Gilmore ruling you discuss.

Anonymous said...

What if I just got out of detention center on bond and i don’t have any ID or passport, but I have, newly given I-94 form with the picture,full name,date of birth,address and even right index printed.can i travel on that domesticly (inside the USA).it will be great if u will provide a TSA phone# for more information.

Trollkiller said...

The Supreme Court did not take the Gilmore case because there was no fatal flaw in the 9th's ruling.

The ID policy in place at the time of Gilmore was Constitutional because Gilmore had the choice to either show ID or take a secondary. Further the ID policy was Constitutional because requesting ID was just that a REQUEST, not a demand.

Add in the fact that at the time of Gilmore an ID check was considered a valid part of screening.

NOW screening has a definition that does NOT include ID verification and the ID verification is NOT an option, if we are to believe the TSA press releases.

Any case brought forth now would be completely different than Gilmore.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said....

"The Supreme Court did not take the Gilmore case because there was no fatal flaw in the 9th's ruling.

The ID policy in place at the time of Gilmore was Constitutional because Gilmore had the choice to either show ID or take a secondary. Further the ID policy was Constitutional because requesting ID was just that a REQUEST, not a demand.

Add in the fact that at the time of Gilmore an ID check was considered a valid part of screening.

NOW screening has a definition that does NOT include ID verification and the ID verification is NOT an option, if we are to believe the TSA press releases.

Any case brought forth now would be completely different than Gilmore."

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

The Supreme Court does not need a to have a "fatal flaw" to hear a case. It might be one of the many reason they decide to call a case up, but it is just one of many reasons.

That you fail to recognize this tells me that you do not more fully understand how the Court works, and I do not mean to say that in an insulting way.

The Court has a long history of taking cases for reasons other than those the plaintiffs describe in their petitions, and without these cases having a fatal flaw.

One possible reason is that the Court could decide the case affects a large part of the populationa As a side note, on average 2 million people fly per day, and are required to show their identification to a government employee, yet they still did not hear the case.

There does not have to be a failure in the reasoning in the lower courts for the Court to take a case. The Court could simply decide (4 or more of its memembers have to agree) that they want to hear the case for reasons they think they see and no one else sees. The case is then argued before the Court. How it goes after that is anyones guess.

Oddly enough, right now the Court is rehearing a case involving campaign contribution, and the Court even hinted that they wanted to hear the case again. In this way they are proactive. They wanted this case sent to them again.

Why not so with Gilmore? There is no longer the option to have the SSSS screening, as you correctly point out, so why hasn't the Court suggested it is willing to hear Gilmore again, or another case like it?

That it hasn't is a good indicator that even with the SSSS option gone, the Court still does not see an important constitutional issue with the ID requirement.

You can disagree, as I am sure you will.

But my main point is that there does not have to be a "fatal flaw" before the Court will hear a case. Yes, there is that, but to say that is the only reason - or most important reason - the Court will hear a case, shows a limited understand of how the Court works.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

But my main point is that there does not have to be a "fatal flaw" before the Court will hear a case. Yes, there is that, but to say that is the only reason - or most important reason - the Court will hear a case, shows a limited understand of how the Court works.


I don't think I stated that a fatal flaw was the only reason for the Court to hear a case. But a case with a fatal flaw is more likely to get heard.

The point I was trying to make is the Supremes had no compelling reason to hear the case based solely on the ruling or the points argued in the case. As you point out the Supremes have free reign to hear a case based on points not raised in the lower court ruling.

My firm belief is the Court took a look at the Gilmore case and came to the quick conclusion that 1) Gilmore was a jerk, 2) Gilmore's rights were not violated due to the fact he could have opted out of the ID and still been able to fly, 3) Gilmore's arguments were weak, 4) Gilmore threw a bunch of stuff against the wall hoping something would stick, 5) the lower court ruled correctly, 6) It would be a waste of valuable court time.

Why not so with Gilmore? There is no longer the option to have the SSSS screening, as you correctly point out, so why hasn't the Court suggested it is willing to hear Gilmore again, or another case like it?

You have me confused here. Why would the Court want to hear Gilmore when the facts in Gilmore have not changed?

Gilmore's rights were not violated due to the "flexibility" in the ID policy at that time. Gilmore was not injured by the ID policy in place at that time. It would not be proper for the Court to attempt to impose today's ID policy to the Gilmore case in order to determine if Gilmore was injured back in 2002.

The Court would need a new case to deal with the new policy. (I am tired so I hope that makes sense)

I have a theory on why no new case has appeared yet. I have yet to hear of anyone being denied entry into the sterile area because they refused to show ID. All of the instances I have seen where a PAX refuses to show ID and refuses to back down about showing ID the TSOs will allow entry with a secondary screening.

To bring a case you have to be injured, correct? If the TSA ultimately allows entry to the sterile area to a PAX that refuses to show ID, as the SOP directs, that person has not been injured. No harm no foul.

Take a look at this copy of the SOP. Page 3 number 3 (PDF warning)

It states "Individuals who appear to be 18 years of age or older with a valid travel document, but without an ID, or in possession of an invalid ID, must be designated and screened as a selectee."

Now scroll up to page 2 section C1 it states "the TDC must ask to see the individual's travel document and, if a passenger appears to be 18 years of age or older, a valid form of ID"

According to the SOP there is NO requirement to show ID, furthermore according to Title 49 § 1540.107 the only time you must show ID is to a covered aircraft operator for the purpose of watch list matching.

Basically the TSA is playing a game, pretend that the forced ID verification is a requirement and hope nobody notices it is not. Sorry I noticed.

Time for sleep, I look forward to your reply.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...

(edited)

"According to the SOP there is NO requirement to show ID, furthermore according to Title 49 § 1540.107 the only time you must show ID is to a covered aircraft operator for the purpose of watch list matching.

Basically the TSA is playing a game, pretend that the forced ID verification is a requirement and hope nobody notices it is not. Sorry I noticed."



I was wondering how you got SSI info, but wouldn't be surprised if you had current SOP. However, you do not. That is dated as of last year, and is not the current SOP.

The current SOP, which I actually can not show you - and to be honest, doesn't really bother me that I can't (just being honest) - does REQUIRE ID to be shown to proceed through the checkpoint, or at least for the passenger make an effort to identify him/herself if no ID is available (maybe lost, stolen, forgotten. The current SOP is dated as of 2009.

So TSA is not playing a game here, there is a requirement to show ID as part of its SOP.



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



You said:

"'Why not so with Gilmore? There is no longer the option to have the SSSS screening, as you correctly point out, so why hasn't the Court suggested it is willing to hear Gilmore again, or another case like it?'

You have me confused here. Why would the Court want to hear Gilmore when the facts in Gilmore have not changed?

The Court would need a new case to deal with the new policy."


The facts in Gilmore did change. SSSS screening for refusing to show your ID is now gone. The 9th stated that, in part, because there was that option, along with the fact that anyone who refused to show their ID could walk away, the ID requirement is valid.

Gilmore's lawyers could NOW argue that since the SSSS option is gone, the ID requirement should be struck down. Yet his lawyers have failed to file a case with the Court. Why?

Regardless, the Court does not need to hear a new case to consider the ID requirement. It does happen that cases can be re-submitted to the Court under new arguments. Sometimes this is successful, sometimes not. Again, why haven't Gilmore's lawyers done so?

A case does not have to work its way up the 'ladder' of courts to reach the Supreme Court. A number of cases have been filed originally with the Supreme Court, and not seen the light of day anywhere else. Simply put, Gilmore could be sent again to the Court, under the argument that since the SSSS option is gone the ID policy should be struck down. Again, this has not happened.


The fact the Court does not want to hear Gilmore at all tells me they are content with TSA's current ID policy.

Anyways, just a few thoughts.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

I was wondering how you got SSI info, but wouldn't be surprised if you had current SOP. However, you do not. That is dated as of last year, and is not the current SOP.


Scared ya, didn't I? Rest assured I would never reveal the fact I have current SOP.

The current SOP, which I actually can not show you - and to be honest, doesn't really bother me that I can't (just being honest) - does REQUIRE ID to be shown to proceed through the checkpoint, or at least for the passenger make an effort to identify him/herself if no ID is available (maybe lost, stolen, forgotten. The current SOP is dated as of 2009.

So TSA is not playing a game here, there is a requirement to show ID as part of its SOP.


I am not seeing it, what section is it in? (Don't worry telling me what section and subsection the information is in is not SSI.)

The facts in Gilmore did change. SSSS screening for refusing to show your ID is now gone. The 9th stated that, in part, because there was that option, along with the fact that anyone who refused to show their ID could walk away, the ID requirement is valid.

Gilmore's lawyers could NOW argue that since the SSSS option is gone, the ID requirement should be struck down. Yet his lawyers have failed to file a case with the Court. Why?


The facts in Gilmore did not change. Gilmore was not injured by the ID policy at that time. Gilmore's lawyers have no standing to reintroduce THAT case.

His lawyers could introduce a new case, I can make a few guesses to why that has not happened yet.

My guess is the lawyers got their butt handed to them in Gilmore and decide that the next case would need to be a slam dunk. (nobody likes to lose)

Regardless, the Court does not need to hear a new case to consider the ID requirement. It does happen that cases can be re-submitted to the Court under new arguments. Sometimes this is successful, sometimes not. Again, why haven't Gilmore's lawyers done so?

What new arguments could you apply to the Gilmore case? The lawyers pretty much shot their load the last time through and nothing stuck.

The only possible new argument in Gilmore that I can see would be the right to travel argument.

The argument would need to be made that even if Gilmore could use another mode of transportation the Government violated his rights by placing undue restrictions on this particular mode.

The fact Gilmore could have availed himself of the Constitutional search instead of the ID would shoot the argument down in a heartbeat. Gilmore had the option so the ID REQUEST was not undue.

The fact the Court does not want to hear Gilmore at all tells me they are content with TSA's current ID policy.

This is where we disagree.

I see the fact that the Court does not want to hear Gilmore again tells me they are content that Gilmore was a proper ruling.

There is no way you can make the assumption that the refusal to hear Gilmore equals current contentment with the new ID policy.

If a new case is brought and the lower rulings are the same and then the Supremes refused to hear it, then I would agree with you.

Trollkiller said...

Hey Anonymous were you referring to MD 100.4 6-A(6)?

BTW I looked it up Art 3 section 2 of the Constitution limits the courts to cases that are "live" and are "controversies". (It doesn't make sense until you read how the courts have applied it)

Basically the courts say that once a policy is changed you can not claim future injury. Translation: Gilmore can not be reheard in light of the new policy.

The TSA lawyers are trying that one in a hopes of dismissal on the Bierfeldt case. (The Ron Paul money dude) The TSA is claiming that even if his rights were violated the fact they changed the directive renders Bierfeldt's injury moot.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...

"(responding to only this part now, have to go in a few minutes, sorry.)

I was wondering how you got SSI info, but wouldn't be surprised if you had current SOP. However, you do not. That is dated as of last year, and is not the current SOP.

Scared ya, didn't I? Rest assured I would never reveal the fact I have current SOP.

The current SOP, which I actually can not show you - and to be honest, doesn't really bother me that I can't (just being honest) - does REQUIRE ID to be shown to proceed through the checkpoint, or at least for the passenger make an effort to identify him/herself if no ID is available (maybe lost, stolen, forgotten. The current SOP is dated as of 2009.

So TSA is not playing a game here, there is a requirement to show ID as part of its SOP.

I am not seeing it, what section is it in? (Don't worry telling me what section and subsection the information is in is not SSI.)"

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

lol actually you didn't scare me, just wondering how you would get current SOP.

HOwever, I'm still not sure you have current SOP. As of some time last year SOP is no longer in print, meaning the only way to access it is through a Power Point "classes" on the OLC (online learning center) that people at TSA have access to.

As I understand, this upcoming year they plan on changing that again, and it will be both print and online. ehhh...

But regardless, here is how SOP has worked since the years I have been at TSA.

SOP is published (paper or OLC). When there is a policy change, it is sent out as a "course" through the OLC. When SOP was in print then there was a print out too of this new directive. The old SOP was taken out and replaced with the new. So it was possible, when it was still in print, to flip through the printed SOP and see various different dates for when different parts of the SOP went into effect.

I can not currently direct you to this section as of right now it can only be accessed through the OLC. I am sure that somewhere out there someone has made copies of SOP. That doesn't really bother me, but maybe you can find it?

But you can rest assured, and you will just have to take my word for it - lol - that I have actually recently reread that section dealing with ID (actually to respond to your first post) and it is not a request, it is required.

But I am not sure as to your claim that the section and such is not SSI. The SSI requirement, as I read it, refers to everything on that page, which to me even means section ans such. It does say, "no part of this record...".

Again, eh....

Sorry this post was jumpy, but I really have to run!

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I purchased an international ticket in June (to Italy) and mistakenly used the wrong middle initial (from a divorce) and it doesn't match my passport. My flight is November, 2009. Should I be concerned? The ticket can't be changed...I'd have to buy a new one!

Thanks

Bob said...

Anon said: Bob, I purchased an international ticket in June (to Italy) and mistakenly used the wrong middle initial (from a divorce) and it doesn't match my passport. My flight is November, 2009. Should I be concerned? The ticket can't be changed...I'd have to buy a new one! Thanks
----------------------

Hi. This small difference should not cause a problem. If you are concerned about it, I would suggest arriving earlier than normal just in case. That will give you the piece of mind that you will make your flight no matter what. With the extra time, you can read a book or grab some food.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Jim said...

What about if your middle initial is one letter off. I'm having trouble getting one fixed that has my middle initial as F when it's really E.

Anonymous said...

WOWWWWW I just spent TWO HOURS trying to make a plane reservation for my boss before I figured out why I needed to ask him for his birthdate to make the reservation. Thanks a lot TSA for enacting another stupid pointless idiotic step in this security theatre which doesn't make us any safer but sure makes us more stressed and aggravated. A reservation agent even suggested I make up a birthdate and change it later. This is completely pathetic and pointless. I'm really amazed that this organization has the resources to keep coming up with absolutely ridiculous hoops to jump through in order to fly. You are a worthless organization.

Anonymous said...

All I want to know is where we can find a comprehensice list of airports that have or do not have the new screening procedures.
I am looking for Sky Harbor, DFW, Hobby, Bush International and St. Louis (Lambert).
I want to know if this is by airPORT or by airLINES? I have been told by both in some cases.

Bethan said...

Heyy,
A friend of mine recently made an airplane booking for me, and accidentally got my birthdate wrong, is it possible to change this, would it be a problem?
Bethan