Next Stage Of Security Theater: Homeland Security Wants More Info To Let You Board A Plane

from the feel-safer? dept

Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security would like to add another layer of security theater to the airplane boarding process. Homeland Security is now taking over the process of matching your identity to government watch lists at airports (away from the airlines), and they’re going to start demanding more info. You will not be allowed to fly if you don’t provide your first and last names, birth date and gender. This is positioned as a way to avoid the various “false positives” we’ve heard so much about with fliers who have similar names to those on the no-fly list. While it’s good that they want to cut down on those false positives, it’s not as if this makes you any safer. It just requires giving up more privacy to fly.

Also worth noting is that this is the first time that the government has actually admitted how many people are on the no fly list (about 2,500) as well as the “selectee” list for extra careful searches (another 16,000). They also noted that it’s quite rare for anyone on the no-fly list to actually try to fly (about once a month — and it’s almost always initiating in a foreign country). Of course, if you were actually a terrorist, would you fly under your real identity?

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Comments on “Next Stage Of Security Theater: Homeland Security Wants More Info To Let You Board A Plane”

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Thom says:

What we, the people, need is ...

What we, the people, need is to start tracking our government officials the same way they want to track us. There’s no need for anyone or any agency to keep track of 99+ percent of Americans but there are myriad reasons for us to track 99 percent of our elected officials. Greed, bribery, corruption, scandal, etc. are all legtimate reasons to monitor their every move, their every lunch, their every meeting and make that information public.

The honest politicians would all like that for they have done nothing wrong. Those who are facing temptation and trying to remain on the up-and-up would all like it too because we’d help them retain their integrity. Only the guilty would have a problem with it.

Let’s get the ball rolling. All we need is someone to hack up a quick and dirty web site listing all elected officials. One where anyone can go to read or report real time information on their whereabouts and activities. Government for the people by the people needs intelligence for the people by the people.

KJ says:

I'm pretty sure this even ...

I’m pretty sure this even affects domestic flights with departure and destination in Canada, because most flights from Toronto heading West pass over US airspace. As a result, I think Canadian airlines are required to comply with the no fly list.

I flew to Costa Rica a couple of years back and had a stop over in Miami. I had to go through security checks about 4 times both ways. It’s friggin rediculous. Expecially when the below-the-wing areas of airports are a free-for-all.

BJ says:

All this Security Theater is ...

All this Security Theater is why I don’t fly much at all anymore. All it does is cause longer lines and unnecessary delays for my travel. Not to mention that as someone with a slight handicap removing and putting my shoes back on just to go through security is a difficult task for me, essentially I have to sit down to both remove and put on my shoes, really annoying and the screeners don’t care about this at all. Until the stupid rules go away I will be taking as many trips as I can by car or train.

Anonymous Coward says:

And when they say it's a rare,...

And when they say it’s a rare, once a month occurrence that someone on the no-fly list tries to fly, are they counting the known false positives, such as Senator Kennedy? Or all the other people who have a name similar to someone on the list? That would probably bring the actual number of people on the list trying to fly to about zero.

Zaphod (user link) says:

Recently, in my city, they have...

Recently, in my city, they have wondered why flights in and out of town are down by half from the last oil boom…
We don’t like being subjected to treatment equitable to that of an alien abductee!
Meanwhile, the real terrorists have flown into northern Mexico, and snuck across the border last night.
This is B.S. the govt. is laying on us. I guess we as a people, are failing our intelligence test, and lining up like the good sheeple I always thought most of you were.
I respectfully decline to be quiet.

Baloney Joe says:

The honest politicians would ...

The honest politicians would all like that for they have done nothing wrong. Those who are facing temptation and trying to remain on the up-and-up would all like it too because we’d help them retain their integrity. Only the guilty would have a problem with it.

Um, that’s the same thing the tell us…Right before they implant the RFID chips in our necks and tell us to "move along citizen"…

Anonymous Coward says:

"It is the honest folk who...

"It is the honest folk who should not have to submit to the invasion of privacy. Your argument that the honest politicians should welcome the loss of privacy implies that those of us who have nothing to hide should also welcome the loss of privacy."

The difference being that the politician is a public figure, elected by the people, and therefore monitoring their engagements is justifiable to determine their performance.

DS78 says:

All this does is inconvenience ...

All this does is inconvenience legitimate travelers like myself. If it was feasible to drive from Arkansas to Oregon (or New Brunswick) I would. Unfortunately my job requires me to fly.

What I don’t understand in the scenario is why this extra data is required for one to board a plane. You already have to show TSA your ID (in my case Arkansas Driver’s License) before you can enter the security gate. It’s already on there. Do they need me to read it to them or perhaps recite it from memory?

Thom says:

@David: Your argument that the ...

@David: Your argument that the honest politicians should welcome the loss of privacy implies that those of us who have nothing to hide should also welcome the loss of privacy.

Nope, my argument is actually the opposite. Government, politicians, and police use that argument on us all the time when they know it’s false or they (the good ones) are too ignorant or lazy to think. Put them (all) under the same microscope as is, being surveilled by a group they can’t possibly stop or control, and while we’re catching and ousting the bad ones the good ones will be feeling our discomfort and hopefully recognizing the error of their ways.

Will says:

As witnessed this election cycle...

As witnessed this election cycle we’re on the verge of something good with this Internet thing. People are stepping up and making their voices heard and acting against the lies and propoganda being spread by those in power and their political machines. It’s only a matter of time before we start to truly utilize the Internet en-mass to fight back and expose fraud and corruption.

Forget your private database TSA, we’ll have hundreds of public databases on you.

nasch says:

Did you see the article about ...

Did you see the article about Schneier and another guy demonstrating what a joke airport security is? I think it was on here and /. a few days ago. The airline checks your name against the no-fly list, but TSA doesn’t do so at the security checkpoint, and the gate agent checks the boarding pass but not your ID or the no-fly list. So you can buy a real ticket with a stolen credit card. Then make a fake boarding pass with your real name, and use that and your real ID to pass TSA even if your name is Frank J. Terrorist, because they don’t check the no-fly list. After you pass security, get rid of the fake boarding pass, scribble on the real one like the TSA agent does, and hand that to the gate agent. They won’t check your ID so it doesn’t matter that the name doesn’t match. And now you’re on a plane and the no-fly list at the same time.

If instead they move the no-fly list check to the security checkpoint, that will close one of the holes in the security. There are still many others, but it’s something. It wasn’t clear if that’s what they’re doing or not from the article though. Presumably that would increase wait times at security. Yay.

Anonymous Coward says:

They already used planes once. ...

They already used planes once. How many successful generals would be successful if they used the same tactic over and over in spite of their enemy’s "catching on"? I guarantee that the next wave won’t involve flying vessels. I would bet it’s water supply contamination or widespread blackouts or something else aimed at our infrastructure. And I mean, after the cold war, Russia had more weapons leaks than a rusty pail. Dirty bomb, anyone?

known coward says:

my previous comment

yes I know only a jackass comments on his own comments, but i do not want to be misconstrued.

Homeland security strikes again, this is more about the Orwell state and keeping track of people more than anything else.

The only time it is legal to stop MR. Atta from flying is if he was in the act of committing a crime. If he is going to the planning meeting for blowing up the US fine bust his ass, if he is going to his daughter’s birthday party. HE can fly.

While TSA is a joke, if they really did their jobs and stopped people from bringing weapons and bombs aboard planes. A “no fly” list would not be necessary and the airwaves would be safe from the passengers. From the airlines and the FAA is another matter.

another mike says:

Homeland Security

Everyone knows the “In Soviet Russia…” joke, so I don’t need to repeat it here. But how about “In patriotic America, you watches Big Brother.” It’s way past time we rebalanced the equation. A government should fear its citizens and not keep secrets from them.
Actually, there are some secrets they can keep. How we beat the red commies into space, what new toys are our military will be playing with? Those are the secrets they can keep. Why I’m not allowed to fly without making sure my copy of my biography matches theirs? That’s something that shouldn’t have even started, much less be allowed to continue.
You know what’s next. Biological samples. “What’s this cup for? You want a urine sample before I can board?” “Not that type of sample. Here’s a Playboy.”
“Skin sample Chekov, hair sample Chekov. I think I’m going to run out of samples.”
I’m starting to debate whether my family needs to see me over the holidays.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Let's face the future...

The TSA is not going to stop ratcheting this all up until we are stripped naked, cavity searched by robot, inserted into a bomb proof Lexan tube and inserted into the belly of the airliner like abuseable, bar-coded air-cargo.

Screw you TSA.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t we just come to grips with the realization that the planet is now to small to tolerate the un-civilized?

Overtkill... says:

Take a F()@&!%& Train!

Seriously, this is reminiscent of customs questioning when visiting another country.

Flying to Canada from the U.S. was a joke. They repeatedly asked myself and fellow crew mates the same questions, especially the ones that implied that we were there for work instead of pleasure. Gotta collect those taxes I guess.

The ‘Soviet Russia’ thing is more of a reality than most people think or believe. Though only people in a proper position can really get these men in power in any real trouble. We are on the edge if not already slightly in the hands of socialism, and we don’t get any of the real benefits. -Like free nationalized health care! Instead we get the shitty end of the stick like higher taxes to bailout crooked banks (which the government has taken some control of, and crappy insurance companies who we pay a small fortune out of our paychecks, and they decide what we need for our individual health care. -After all, what do our doctors know about our conditions. What ever it is, the insurance compainies think they know whats better for us. Think about who lines the politicians pockets for that kind of control over our daily lives.

/end somewhat sarcastic rant..

Back to the airline security thing, Don’t you have your papers ready and in order? if not, they will take you aside to meet a man in a small room with only 2 chairs and a table, where his opinion of you matters, and he asks you what ever he wants about your trip, or life for that matter.

– Another sarcastic view… Or was it?

John (profile) says:

Poster #25 has it right

Yes, it’s still fairly easy to get by security, just like it’s easy for a professional thief to steal a car that’s locked. With a decent computer and Photoshop, you can probably create any kind of fake documentation- it’s not like anyone scans your driver’s license to make sure the magnetic strip is real.

The point of airport security has never been to stop terrorism, but to make people “feel safe”- and, yes, feeling safe is NOT the same thing as being safe.
The government has convinced us that we have to give up more and more information so we can “feel safe” by knowing Joe Smith over there is giving up his name and birthday. Now suppose Joe’s real name is Ted Kennedy and he’s lying so he can board a plane without the hassle of arguing with the TSA that he’s not the Ted Kennedy who they think is a terrorist. So, um, how does giving your real name help?

Then again, I think signer Cat Stevens would have been let into the country a lot faster if he didn’t use his newer name of Yusef Islam. Then again, isn’t Cat Stevens a stage name also?

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