Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Panel urges TSA to implement ‘trusted travelers’ program - The Washington Post

There's recently been a lot of talk about a "trusted travelers" program, where a person could win the privilege of going through an expediated (less intrusive and less bothersome) security check once they have passed a background check and provide biometric identification.

According to The Washington Post:
Even a voluntary trusted-traveler approach would require passengers to provide credit information, tax returns and other personal data to verify that members pose little or no risk.
I'm not sure what I think of this as a stand-alone policy. I'm suspicious of the long term political implications, as frequent fliers (who tend to be richer and have more political influence) are treated differently from the politically faceless masses. I also wonder if this will be used to punish and neutralize people with unpopular political views. For instance, would they "trust" an anarchist who has never advocated violence? Finally, will this be used as an excuse to open an investigation on anyone who applies for Trusted Traveller status? The backfround check could reveal suspicious financial patterns, perhaps related to drug purchases. Alternatively, it could end up being another enforcement tool for the Copyright lords.

In the end, the reality is that many people would need to submit to a background check just so that they can efficiently engage in an activity that is practically essential for the business and social lives of many Americans. Just another brick in the new class barrier.

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