TSA Announces Plans To Subject Domestic Travelers To Biometric Screening

from the to-secure-its-'position-as-a-global-leader-in-aviation-security'-hahahah dept

As promised/threatened, the DHS is moving forward with expanded use of biometric scanning at airports, including facial recognition and fingerprint matches. What was touted as a way to combat international terrorism and illegal immigration will now include those on the home front, as the tech spreads to include US citizens on domestic flights. But the TSA doesn't see this as an unwanted incursion into the lives of innocent citizens. Instead, it pitches it as a useful tool to speed up security screening at TSA checkpoints.

TSA says that by moving toward facial recognition technology in a time where travel volume is rising, it’s hoping to reduce the need for physical documents like passports and paper tickets. Currently, TSA manually compares the passengers in front of them to their ID photos, but it believes an automated process that can match facial images to photos from passports and visa applications will be more accurate and efficient.

The TSA expects paying customers to foot the bill for the expansion -- the same citizens it's been selling civil liberties back to for years. From the TSA's "roadmap" for expanded biometric screening:

Currently, TSA and airline partners verify traveler identity primarily by processing biographic data and inspecting physical identity and travel documents. The use of biometric technology will simplify the passenger experience and increase efficiency and security effectiveness.

The roadmap focuses on four main goals: 1) partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on biometrics for international travelers; 2) using biometrics provided by TSA Pre✓® members to enhance the travel experience; 3) expanding biometrics to additional domestic travelers; and 4) developing the infrastructure for biometric technology. TSA is already carrying out these objectives through smart investments and collaborative partnerships.

Yes, the paying members of the TSA's Pre✓ program will be the first to "enhance" their "travel experience" by feeding their faces into a database the TSA controls, using tech prone to erroneous conclusions. Other travelers won't be able to opt out of biometric screening, however. They'll just be subject to the non-enhanced travel experience where TSA and CBP officers ask a long series of invasive questions and infer suspicious behavior on the part of travelers who bypass the biometric kiosks.

It's true that traveling in the US has always been a "papers, please" experience. But prior to the 9/11 attacks, this simply meant presenting a ticket before boarding. Now, it's everything about everybody, no matter how useless this information is 99.9% of the time. Rather than move towards smarter screening methods, the TSA has decided to subject everyone to the same level of screening with the same arbitrary rules stemming from airborne attacks the TSA failed to prevent.

The TSA pitches this as a paperless airport, but it's really just another way for the government to compile a massive database of identifying info and of citizens' movements. The DHS likes to talk about its 96% accuracy target, but has released no information about actual accuracy in test runs, so concerns about false positives/negatives aren't going away anytime soon.

The government has responded in the worst way to terrorist attacks in the US. It has made freedom of movement a hassle -- one that diminishes Constitutional protections and turns every traveler into a potential suspect.


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Warren Terra, 19 Oct 2018 @ 9:45am

    If buy the gov't fable of 9/11, then you can't object.

    Simple as that. You are TRAPPED by what you believe.

    It's always odd that "liberals" and "libertarians" absolutely believe the gov't about 9/11 even though the flaws are obvious as are the uses gov't had and has for it in extending police state and wars abroad for empire.

    Here at "eclectic", "highly informed", and "skeptical" Techdirt, the New York Times / Establishment view is never questioned, even if requires believing the FBI / CIA / NSA which otherwise revile. WEIRD.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Warren Terra, 19 Oct 2018 @ 9:47am

    If buy the gov't fable of 9/11, then you can't object.

    Simple as that. You are TRAPPED by what believe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 3:19pm

      Re: If buy the gov't fable of 9/11, then you can't object.

      CIA was working in the walls of building 7 a month before 9/11 and that fact was seen by those who worked there. Its very suspect how building 7 toppled. You keep yawning. Someday you'll wake up to the nightmare many of us already know.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re: If buy the gov't fable of 9/11, then you can't object.

        Jesus isn't going to be kind to the perpitrators of 9/11.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 10:17am

    Papers please?

    "It's true that traveling in the US has always been a "papers, please" experience. But prior to the 9/11 attacks, this simply meant presenting a ticket before boarding."

    I see this as wrong in two ways. The first of which is that presenting a ticket for a train or a bus (this discussion is related to internal US travel) is proof of payment, not ID. Second, there are no tickets needed to drive your car, motorcycle, bicycle interstate. If the cops pull you over for a traffic violation, either real or invented, one might get asked for a license, and if walking, again sans any legal violations, requiring ID is not valid (there may be some exceptions to that).

    So while we are far from being required to present 'papers' anytime some officious dirtbag requests it, we are certainly on a path to get there, and that is not a good thing.

    This is not like

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JustMe (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 11:14am

      Re: Papers please?

      Tim isn't talking about providing proof of payment when boarding the vehicle, but about identity verification when entering the 'secure' boarding area of the facility.

      And of course, all of the 9/11 terrorists had valid IDs so none of this (post 9/11) would have deterred them in any way. I don't see how it will do so once biometric screening is implemented given their demonstrated willingness and ability to spend enough time in the country to lawfully obtain legitimate government documentation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Coyne Tibbets (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 9:12pm

        Re: Re: Papers please?

        No, I'm sure this perfect new facial recognition technology will somehow identify everyone dodgy as being that master terrorist Kaalim el-Niazi Nazmi al-Dib, man of a thousand faces. The fake ID (even that made by government spooks) will not work anymore and we will all be mucho safer.

        In TSA we trust!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        John Smith, 20 Oct 2018 @ 11:37am

        Re: Re: Papers please?

        These arguments were made against the first Rogues' AGallary after the invention of the photograph. It could even trace back to when we began using names.

        Speaking of which, since search engines are immune to any number of lies being placed online about someone, literally ddestroying their reputation (say from an anonymous remailer, where the 'original publisher" literally can't be found), you'd think "privacy" advocates would consider a persons's reputation something worth defending against lies, but most say that "the internet as we know it would cease to exist" without 230. That would be a good thing, because any internet that doesn't protect individual rights -- reputation is considered a basic human right elsewhere, hence the right-to-be-forgotten laws -- should no longer exist as we know it.

        Since I'm not a terrorist and have no arrest warrants out for me I actually like the idea that actual criminals will be caught by this.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2018 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Papers please?

          What about when the technology thinks you are somebody else, and you are treated as a criminal until you can prove otherwise.

          Also what makes you think that real name is unique, or that identity fraud will not make you seem to be a criminal?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          ryuugami, 21 Oct 2018 @ 12:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Papers please?

          Since I'm not a terrorist and have no arrest warrants out for me I actually like the idea that actual criminals will be caught by this.

          Which just shows that the world is fundamentally unfair, since that statement is proof of criminal stupidity that makes you a greater danger to civilized society than any terrorist.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 10:33am

    > using biometrics provided by TSA Pre✓® members to enhance the travel experience

    It almost sounds like TSA is sharing a PR team with Facebook, Google, and the rest of the ad/surveillance industry. "Enhancing your experience" is a common excuse for increased surveillance from both.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      Yes, and their version of 'enhanced' includes delays, intrusions, annoyance, false positives along with expenditures on legal assistance and even longer delays, insulted integrity, and wasteful spending of tax dollars. Each of these are considered features of the program and were part of the use case when they sent it out for design.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 9:16pm

      Re:

      That favorite euphemism of business and government, "Serving you better," always means you're getting screwed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 19 Oct 2018 @ 10:38am

    it’s hoping to reduce the need for physical documents like passports and paper tickets.

    I call BS. Does anyone seriously believe that the TSA is striving toward a goal where no one needs to have their passport, photo ID, or whatever type of documentation physically with them when they travel?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 10:51am

    If asked why I chose to avoid biometric screening, my answer will be, for the period of time where it is an optional fee-based thing, "I have to pay for it. I chose to save my money."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 11:08am

    The whole aim has been to get this implemented for everyone in the USA. The previous iterations were just to get the process underway, so no one would complain and it has worked! Terrorism and saving the children have never and will never be as important to any government as knowing everything there is to know about everyone! Ensuring they are in complete control of a country full of slaves is 2nd on the list!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 11:31am

    "The government has responded in the worst way to terrorist attacks in the US."

    Considering that the major purpose of "terrorists" is to force political/social change by threat of violence, the terrorists "won" the day DHS was created. Each time the Surveillance State escalates (in the name of terrorism), the terrorists laugh harder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      ...I really doubt many acts of terror are motivated by a desire to see the US increase domestic surveillance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re:

        The domestic surveillance industry might

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 1:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Not increase of surveillance ... decrease of freedom and privilege - disruption of the "way of life" for the "free countries"
        Surveillance is a method (or symptom), not an "end goal"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 1:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The terrorists hate us for our freedom" is a nonsense nationalist talking point (ironically pushed by the same people who are responsible for taking away our freedoms in the name of national security).

          Al Qaeda targeted us because of our foreign policy. While I'm sure there's plenty of hatred for the "decadent west" and the various ways in which we don't conform to their preferred religious restrictions, that's pretty tangential to the subject.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2018 @ 8:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Agreed. And many Nationalists hate their fellow citizens for the freedoms that are afforded to them. I wondered which "freedom" they hated the most. Is it the freedom to speak truth to power or is it the freedom to ignore their silly demands?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          bob, 19 Oct 2018 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          the terrorists are fighting an asymmetrical war. One of the tactics is to cause your enemy to waste time and resources on things. Thr US wastes how much money on DHS and other things a year?

          Loss of our freedoms wasn't the goal but it can be used as a stepping point to cause infighting amongst the US and allies.

          It doesn't help that politicians took advantage of 9/11 to gain power too.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 4:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's pretty much what I was trying to say, but said much better. The goal is disruption - keeping us busy resource wasters and encouraging our governments to treat our own citizens as the enemy

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2018 @ 8:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think we were doing a fine job of wasting resources well before the terrorists attacks recently.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 12:08pm

    "Smarter" screening

    Rather than move towards smarter screening methods, the TSA has decided to subject everyone to the same level of screening...

    But the TSA's mindgames have clearly worked on Tim, who is only questioning the details of the screening rather than the need for any (hint: if it's so ineffective that people get weapons through by accident...). The same thing's happening with this announcement: push "normal" forward a little at a time. In 20 years we'll be glad that museum entry "only" requires ID, body scanning, and facial recognition, not DNA sampling like airports.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 12:24pm

      Re: "Smarter" screening

      But the TSA's mindgames have clearly worked on Tim, who is only questioning the details of the screening rather than the need for any

      ...and just what exactly do you think the "security theater" tag on this post (and, y'know, all those other posts Tim has written about the pointlessness of the TSA) is meant to imply?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re: "Smarter" screening

        Possibly that this latest thing, rather than all airport security, is theater. Unless by "smarter screening methods" he meant "throw the TSA out of airports and have them guard people from toddlers, their own furniture, and cigarette smoke".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 12:12pm

    Who needs a hunting licence.

    A way to bag and tag everyone, as has been SHOWN to happen..
    The bible, Wells, and many others...Including hitler..
    !984 passed long ago and we are abit late..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 1:55pm

    Next up, domestic passports.

    Gee, where have we seen this kind of thing before?
    Heil Trump!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Oct 2018 @ 3:44pm

    Isn't the party of smaller government the ones in charge?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2018 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      When they say "smaller government" what they really mean is "bigger government".

      The bigger part is for them and the smaller part is for everyone else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Isma'il, 21 Oct 2018 @ 8:37am

      Response to: That Anonymous Coward on Oct 19th, 2018 @ 3:44pm

      Yes, and they're also the party of reduced civil liberties, unless you're a wealthy white male.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 7:10pm

    As far as I know, it is still legal to not have identification.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anacheops, 20 Oct 2018 @ 7:48am

    I've been boycotting travel to the USA for years, but this is just one more reason for Canadians to avoid travelling to the USA, even those not planning on taking advantage of recent drug legalization.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Smith, 20 Oct 2018 @ 11:32am

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Privacy is as dead as copyright. Brave new world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2018 @ 6:05am

      Re:

      "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear"

      Tell that to the politicians as they seem to be very fearful and have much to hide, as opposed to the rest of us who have to endure this myth spewed forth by these same fools.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2018 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      Where do you get the idea that copyright is dead?

      If anything, it lasts at least 70 years longer than humans. And that limit is increasing...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brenda, 27 Oct 2018 @ 10:36am

    TSA screening

    Always fun to visit these guys/gals while going on a trip

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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