ID Checks are About Control, Not Security

by on June 9, 2008 · 40 comments

If there was ever any doubt that ID checks at airports are about control and not security, the Transportation Security Administration is clearing that up. Starting June 21, it says, “passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint [sic] will be denied access to the secure area of airports.”

The claim is that this initiative is “the latest in a series designed to facilitate travel for legitimate passengers while enhancing the agency’s risk-based focus – on people, not things.” So let’s take a moment to look at how refusing airport access to the willful enhances security.

. . . OK! We’re done!

No terrorist or criminal would draw attention to him or herself by obstinately refusing an ID check. This is only done by the small coterie of civil libertarians and security experts who can’t stand the security pantomime that is airport identification checking. The rest of the people traveling without ID have lost theirs – and TSA officials at airports have no way of knowing which is which.

This new rule will do nothing to improve airport security, but watch for the incident when a TSA agent “doesn’t believe” someone who has truly lost his or her driver’s license and tries to strand a traveler in a faraway city.

  • Nick Karels

    It gets worse… Amtrak “requires” ID too…

    Per Amtrak’s “PASSENGER IDENTIFICATION” FAQ Page:
    (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Title_Image_Copy_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1080080554204&ssid=342)
    ———-
    Random Ticket/ID Checks
    Following federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, we regularly conduct random ticket verification checks onboard trains to ensure that passengers are properly ticketed. Please be prepared to show valid photo identification to a member of the onboard crew upon request.
    ———-

    Worse Yet…
    Since Amtrak runs California’s “Capitol Corridor” route for the State, they also require one to carry ID to ride that route. That opens up tha “slippery slope”, where, the same requiremwnt could be adpoted by the Heavy-rail Caltrain SF Peninsula service, then BART, then other local transit agencies, like SF’s Muni. One could eventually need an ID document to ride to bus to _apply_ for one! More absurd, would be one in the position of being “short” on documentation to get a REAL ID — hope he doesn’t have to travel to get a duplicate Birth Certificate!

    I’ve scoured the TSA website for the “guidelines” that Amtrak mentions, and found nothing. Considering tha fact that Capitol Corridor tickets can be bought with cash, at a vending machine, the requirement to posess photo ID to ride one of those trains could make sense only to an Authoritarian bureaucrat.

    Whoops! I’m wrong. Up in the Sierras, there’s a snowball with a keen interest in this “slippery slope”, as it offers him what the most expert-level ski runs up there can’t. He’ll shock us all, as we witness his lifelong dream of making it to Hell come true.

    Too bad that we’ll all be along for the ride. ID or no ID.

    -NK

  • Nick Karels

    It gets worse… Amtrak “requires” ID too…

    Per Amtrak’s “PASSENGER IDENTIFICATION” FAQ Page:
    (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pag…)
    ———-
    Random Ticket/ID Checks
    Following federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, we regularly conduct random ticket verification checks onboard trains to ensure that passengers are properly ticketed. Please be prepared to show valid photo identification to a member of the onboard crew upon request.
    ———-

    Worse Yet…
    Since Amtrak runs California’s “Capitol Corridor” route for the State, they also require one to carry ID to ride that route. That opens up tha “slippery slope”, where, the same requiremwnt could be adpoted by the Heavy-rail Caltrain SF Peninsula service, then BART, then other local transit agencies, like SF’s Muni. One could eventually need an ID document to ride to bus to _apply_ for one! More absurd, would be one in the position of being “short” on documentation to get a REAL ID — hope he doesn’t have to travel to get a duplicate Birth Certificate!

    I’ve scoured the TSA website for the “guidelines” that Amtrak mentions, and found nothing. Considering tha fact that Capitol Corridor tickets can be bought with cash, at a vending machine, the requirement to posess photo ID to ride one of those trains could make sense only to an Authoritarian bureaucrat.

    Whoops! I’m wrong. Up in the Sierras, there’s a snowball with a keen interest in this “slippery slope”, as it offers him what the most expert-level ski runs up there can’t. He’ll shock us all, as we witness his lifelong dream of making it to Hell come true.

    Too bad that we’ll all be along for the ride. ID or no ID.

    -NK

  • Wade

    Half of the high school seniors in this country have a fake picture ID. They use them to buy cigarettes and beer. You can get one anywhere. If high school students can manage it, then so can terrorists. Possession of a picture ID is therefore utterly meaningless and of no security value whatsoever.

  • Wade

    Half of the high school seniors in this country have a fake picture ID. They use them to buy cigarettes and beer. You can get one anywhere. If high school students can manage it, then so can terrorists. Possession of a picture ID is therefore utterly meaningless and of no security value whatsoever.

  • http://www.idealgovernment.com William

    This just adds one more to the ample reasons for travelling instead to the many other countries in the world. (Just back from Morocco. Just off to Germany. Then Peru. Anywhere but US&A)

  • http://www.idealgovernment.com William

    This just adds one more to the ample reasons for travelling instead to the many other countries in the world. (Just back from Morocco. Just off to Germany. Then Peru. Anywhere but US&A)

  • George Bush

    Hey dont worry about it – just get an ID chip in your arm and then you can get preferential treatment at airports and train stations, leaving the suckers without to queue up [needlessly] for hours.

  • George Bush

    Hey dont worry about it – just get an ID chip in your arm and then you can get preferential treatment at airports and train stations, leaving the suckers without to queue up [needlessly] for hours.

  • Alex

    This is only “news” in the U.S. in Europe one must carry an I.D. card at all times and show it at airports to pass check-in and boarding.for international voyages you need a passport. If you travel by train to another European country you are asked to show your ticket and may be asked to show your i.d as well. failure to show the i.d. to an officer of law can get you arrested.

  • Alex

    This is only “news” in the U.S. in Europe one must carry an I.D. card at all times and show it at airports to pass check-in and boarding.for international voyages you need a passport. If you travel by train to another European country you are asked to show your ticket and may be asked to show your i.d as well. failure to show the i.d. to an officer of law can get you arrested.

  • Louise Ferguson

    Alex:

    It may comes as news to you, but ‘Europe’ is not a country. The law is not the same across the various countries that comprise ‘Europe’. In fact it varies *considerably* from one country to another. Different countries, different laws. Fact.

    In my own country – the U.K. – there is *no* requirement to carry ID (yet!) in day-to-day life. There is only a requirement to carry photo ID when travelling from one country to another (e.g. when boarding an international flight; or when entering the country). AFAIK – from my own experience travelling – similar restrictions apply in the U.S.A.

    In the U.K., there is no requirement to show ID to an officer of the law, or even to give your name or address to such an officer, even if you are being searched under suspicion of having committing an offence.

    I’m sure showing your valid train ticket to the train company officials is not an uncommon situation in the U.S.A. (At least, that has been my experience when travelling in various parts of the U.S.A.). They generally want some kind of assurance that you have paid your fare, and tickets are the vehicle for that assurance.

  • Louise Ferguson

    Alex:

    It may comes as news to you, but ‘Europe’ is not a country. The law is not the same across the various countries that comprise ‘Europe’. In fact it varies *considerably* from one country to another. Different countries, different laws. Fact.

    In my own country – the U.K. – there is *no* requirement to carry ID (yet!) in day-to-day life. There is only a requirement to carry photo ID when travelling from one country to another (e.g. when boarding an international flight; or when entering the country). AFAIK – from my own experience travelling – similar restrictions apply in the U.S.A.

    In the U.K., there is no requirement to show ID to an officer of the law, or even to give your name or address to such an officer, even if you are being searched under suspicion of having committing an offence.

    I’m sure showing your valid train ticket to the train company officials is not an uncommon situation in the U.S.A. (At least, that has been my experience when travelling in various parts of the U.S.A.). They generally want some kind of assurance that you have paid your fare, and tickets are the vehicle for that assurance.

  • http://www.serhat.gen.tr serhat

    In my own country – the U.K. – there is *no* requirement to carry ID (yet!) in day-to-day life. There is only a requirement to carry photo ID when travelling from one country to another (e.g. when boarding an international flight; or when entering the country). AFAIK – from my own experience travelling – similar restrictions apply in the U.S.A.

  • http://www.serhat.gen.tr serhat

    In my own country – the U.K. – there is *no* requirement to carry ID (yet!) in day-to-day life. There is only a requirement to carry photo ID when travelling from one country to another (e.g. when boarding an international flight; or when entering the country). AFAIK – from my own experience travelling – similar restrictions apply in the U.S.A.

  • http://www.saillabstechnology.com saillabs

    getting on the plane, everyday, being even more difficult every other day.I don’t really want to fly if i don’t have to. Airports are already busy and very complicated that security checks makes it even harder…

  • http://www.saillabstechnology.com saillabs

    getting on the plane, everyday, being even more difficult every other day.I don’t really want to fly if i don’t have to. Airports are already busy and very complicated that security checks makes it even harder…

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ oyun download

    Half of the high school seniors in this country have a fake picture ID.

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ oyun download

    Possession of a picture ID is therefore utterly meaningless and of no security value whatsoever.

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ oyun download

    Half of the high school seniors in this country have a fake picture ID.

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ oyun download

    Possession of a picture ID is therefore utterly meaningless and of no security value whatsoever.

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ Oyun indir

    This is only “news” in the U.S. in Europe one must carry an I.D.

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ Oyun indir

    This is only “news” in the U.S. in Europe one must carry an I.D.

  • JJ

    It is not mandatory to carry an ID in Sweden or Finland either. Perhaps more like in southern European countries, such as Italy (although I have not checked).

  • JJ

    It is not mandatory to carry an ID in Sweden or Finland either. Perhaps more like in southern European countries, such as Italy (although I have not checked).

  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/forum/han-savaslari-t-1390.html Han Sava?lar?

    AFAIK – from my own experience travelling – similar restrictions apply in the U.S.A.

  • http://www.lordpress.com Film download

    Hey dont worry about it – just get an ID chip in your arm and then you can get preferential treatment at airports and train stations, leaving the suckers without to queue up [needlessly] for hours.

  • gargouri2001

    Nice write up and blog , Thanks for sharing all those good info

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  • http://www.donanimoyun.com/ Oyun

    In the U.K., there is no requirement to show ID to an officer of the law, or even to give your name or address to such an officer, even if you are being searched under suspicion of having committing an offence.

  • http://www.sanalbilisim.net/ Seo

    Airports are already busy and very complicated that security checks makes it even harder…

  • http://www.xn--4dbdgfocbey6bc2fig7a.net David

    “The claim is that this initiative is “the latest in a series designed to facilitate travel for legitimate passengers while enhancing the agency’s risk-based focus – on people, not things.” So let’s take a moment to look at how refusing airport access to the willful enhances security.” – nice :)

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  • richardaroberts776

    I can remember when flight attendants were courteous to a fault. Now they are surly. But don’t become enraged to the point of amtrak promotion code anarchy: If you so much as talk back to them, they can have you arrested as a security threat.

  • http://unilinkinc.com/sheartech.php sheartech

    The primary use of an Id is for identification purposes, well it will serve as your proof for your identity in some establishment wherein you might need it

  • http://unilinkinc.com/sheartech.php sheartech

    The primary use of an Id is for identification purposes, well it will serve as your proof for your identity in some establishment wherein you might need it

  • http://unilinkinc.com/sheartech.php sheartech

    The primary use of an Id is for identification purposes, well it will serve as your proof for your identity in some establishment wherein you might need it

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