Friday, June 09, 2006

Flying with no ID.

Yes I'm still here. I sort of disappeared for the last month on here though. Sorry about that.

I just figured out since April 20th I've been on about 19 different planes! Man!! I've spent time in Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, Manitoba, Morocco, Holland and Denmark. Quite a busy few weeks. I think that's the most planes I've ever been on in that stretch of time. My passport is definitely being well used.

So after a couple of months of this kind of insano flying, an article from caught my attention. As I'm sure you all know travelling is a little tricky now with security the way it is. For instance, leaving Denmark I had to put my carry on luggage through the scanner. Then when I arrived in Amsterdam for my layover I had to go through another one. Then to get on the plane to Toronto I had to do it yet again. And you need to have your passport and boarding card with you at all times too. I went to buy my son Jonah a gift at the airport in Holland and they needed to see both my passport and my boarding pass before I could purchase! Crazy.

So the title of this article is "The Great No-ID Airport Challenge". Sounds interesting to me. And impossible! But I guess the deal is (at least in the USA) that "airline passengers either present identification or be subjected to a more extensive search." And that's where the controversy begins. The man who issued the challenge is John Gilmore. He did this at a meeting in San Francisco of the Homeland Security's privacy advisory committee. I guess he feels some of his rights are being infringed upon by having to show his ID all the time. Call me simple but, if you have nothing to hide what's the big deal? Signs at airports and on the TSA's web site say that showing ID is mandatory and John Gilmore wants to make it known that it's not. I guess.

So he challenged the members of this committee to mail their drivers licenses home and try to fly home without any ID. One took him up on it. Very interesting result.

I think you should read the whole article here but if you just want to know what happens continue reading below.

"At 6:00 a.m. the next morning, Harper handed this reporter a green self-addressed stamped envelope and entered the checkpoint line, which even at that early hour was filled with travelers facing a 20 minute crawl to the magnetometers.

Harper told the identification checker he had no ID, and the attendant quickly wrote "No ID" with a red marker on his ticket and shunted him off to an extra screening line -- generously allowing him to bypass the longer queue of card-carrying passengers.

There Harper was directed into the belly of a GE EntryScan puffer machine which shot bits of air at his suit in order to see if he had been handling explosives.

TSA employees wearing baby blue surgical gloves then swiped his Sidekick and his laptop for traces of explosives and searched through his carry-on, while a supervisor took his ticket, conferred with other employees and made a phone call.

Meanwhile, a TSA employee approached this reporter, who was watching the search through Plexiglas, and said, "It's pretty awkward you are standing here taking notes," but he did not ask for identification or call for a halt to the note-taking.

The TSA supervisor returned from her phone call and asked Harper why he didn't have identification and to where he was traveling. But she was satisfied enough with his answer -- that he had mailed his driver's license home to Washington D.C. -- that she allowed him to pass."



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