Buried in the September 5 issue of the Federal Register, was a notice that this Thursday, September 20, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will hold public hearings on their ¨Secure Flight Plan.¨
Come with me into a nightmare world where American citizens will have to obtain permission from the government before they can travel by air in the U.S.
Your government (meaning the Department of Homeland Security) is up to no good.
Beginning in February 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement their ¨Advance Passenger Information System (APIS),¨ the gist of which is that you will need permission from the United States Government to travel on any air or sea vessel that goes to, from or through the U.S. The travel companies will not be able to issue a boarding pass until you are cleared by DHS. This applies to ALL passengers, US citizens and visitors alike. And how do you get said permission to travel? That´s for your government to know and you to never find out.
Now TSA proposes to do for domestic travel what APIS will do for international routes. That´s what I said: the new TSA rule would require that you obtain PERMISSION to travel within the U.S.
Here is the summary of their proposed rules, which seem so reasonable, couched as they are in the blandness of governmenteez [emphasis added].
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assume from aircraft operators the function of conducting pre-flight comparisons of airline passenger information to Federal Government watch lists for international and domestic flights.
This rule proposes to allow TSA to ... receive passenger and certain non-traveler information, conduct watch list matching ... and transmit boarding pass printing instructions back to aircraft operators.
TSA would do so in a consistent and accurate manner while minimizing false matches and protecting privacy information.
Right. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn...
We propose that, when the Secure Flight rule becomes final, aircraft operators would submit passenger information to DHS through a single DHS portal for both the Secure Flight and APIS programs. This would [result] in one DHS system responsible for watch list matching for all aviation passengers.
Don´t you feel great knowing that your government will use economies of scale to protect you?
Edward Hasbrough states that these rules are more insidious than merely complying to demands for ¨Your papers please.¨ He states,
The proposal ... require[s] that travellers display their government-issued credentials not to government agents but to airline personnel (staff or contractors), whenever the DHS orders the airline to demand them. But since the orders to demand ID of [certain passengers] will be given to the airline in secret, ... travellers will have no way to verify whether ... demands for ID are actually based on government orders.
Think about that: you will not be allowed to verify if the person demanding your papers is actually authorized to do so. In addition, the airlines or their contractors (or sub or even sub sub contractors) have the right, under the proposed rules, to do anything they like with your personal information including:
keep copies of your passport ... as long as they like, use it, publish it, broadcast it, sell it, rent it, or pass it on to whomever they please.... [T]hey would have no obligation to get your permission for any of this.
Aside from the privacy issue, this is the DHS. Their past performance is an indication of future returns and we can look forward to true travel nightmares beginning February 19, 2008. Just think about the mess that occurred when CBP demanded that travelers to Canada and Mexico have a passport. Multiply that by orders of magnitude to imagine what travelers will be facing.
If you can, please attend the TSA hearings on Thursday (Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, N.W. beginning at 8:00am). If you can´t attend in person, you have until October 22, 2007 to submit written comments through the Docket Management System. The docket number is TSA-2007-28572.
The Identity Project at Papers Please is working to prevent your government from robbing you of your right to privacy in your movements.