The media and blogosphere has been splattered with stories discussing the TSA’s plan to roll out a three-tiered "Trusted Traveler" program to assess passenger risk. The issue merits discussion because without further research, the thought of not having to take off your shoes, leaving your laptop in the bag, and avoiding full body scanners might sound appealing even to those with civil liberties concerns.
It should come as no surprise that I am diametrically opposed to the TSA’s new plan start profiling travelers into three categories, Trusted Traveler, Regular and Risk. I shall use the space below to consisely explain why by asking the following questions:
- How would the TSA determine who is dangerous?
- Would the TSA make this criteria public? If not, who would hold the TSA accountable?
- Who would perform these data searches? This isn’t the first time such a plan has been trotted out by the TSA. Originally, the TSA proposed gathering this information from commercial data sources, you know, the ones with a great track record…
- Where will the government draw the line in this data collection?
- What kind of security would normal and risky travelers have to endure?
- Say the government labels you as an "untrusted" traveler. What redress do you have? (Because we all know how well the TSA’s "No Fly List" worked out)
- What’s to stop a terrorist from breezing through security by obtaining a false passport or driver’s license? Or photoshopping a boarding pass?
I have heard no satisfactory answers from Pistole and company. And I don’t think there are any.
My fundamental concern remains the complacency people with the federal government’s restriction of internal movement within the United States. Now we’d need to register with the government (background check, fingerprinting, maybe a retina scan) just to avoid heightened security theatre to fly from one U.S. city to another? Sorry. Even though I’d like to leave my shoes on and skip the long security lines, I am not willing to surrender personal information to the gestapo. But they probably already have it…
Just as they did after 9/11, Congress should defeat this latest push for faux-security.