Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Privacy News

John Gilmore's Search for the Mandatory ID Law 1568

Posted by Zonk
from the when-making-things-easy-isn't-a-good-idea dept.
powerline22 writes "John Gilmore, the millionare who cofounded the EFF, has been prohibited from travelling because he refused to show an ID while boarding an airplane. He's been under this self-imposed ban since 2002. From the article: "The gate agent asked for his ID. Gilmore asked her why. It is the law, she said. Gilmore asked to see the law. Nobody could produce a copy. To date, nobody has. The regulation that mandates ID at airports is 'Sensitive Security Information.' The law, as it turns out, is unavailable for inspection. What started out as a weekend trip to Washington became a crawl through the courts in search of an answer to Gilmore's question: Why?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

John Gilmore's Search for the Mandatory ID Law

Comments Filter:
  • Private Company... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by numLocked (801188) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:26PM (#11798439) Homepage Journal
    Airlines are private companies...can't they require whatever the hell they want? A company doesn't need a law to back showing IDs. They can't ask you for your social security #, but ID is fine as far as I know.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:27PM (#11798449)
    I always thought the old Soviet Union required authorisation for its citizens to travel between towns and provinces/states. Of course this is not the case on a free country ;)?

    Oh, I see... Security means less privacy, according to some, uh?
  • Re:Because. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sta7ic (819090) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:28PM (#11798453)
    Fair enough, but if a highway patrol officer stops you, it's assumed that you've done "something wrong". This is more like asking to see your ID and proof of insurence before they let you step into your car, or pull onto the road.
  • by bburton (778244) * on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:29PM (#11798470)
    Does anybody know how much ID you need to get a driver's license? My little brother went to get his, and I guess they require like 4 separate forms of ID. How can they resonably expect a highschooler to have 4 different forms of ID? AND they wouldn't except his school ID. He ended up having to bring in his birth certificate and everything.

    How much is too much?
  • Re:Because. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SUB7IME (604466) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:29PM (#11798474)
    No, the man is not concerned because nobody has taken the time to produce a copy of the law. It is my understanding that he is concerned because the law is being withheld from inspection.

    Sure, the law is in print somewhere (ostensibly), but no layperson knows precisely what it says. In essence, we are being held accountable to rules that we cannot know.
  • Re:Because. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zackrentwood (828124) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:30PM (#11798479)
    Sure, eventually someone would produce the law, but was it worth it?
    This case is very different. With a highway cop you know what the laws are, some states require you to show ID (e.g. Nevada) and the Supreme Court recently upheld such laws. You can investigate those laws if you like, vote for or against them in you r home state and avoid states where they have such laws if you don't like them. In the Gilmore v. Ashcroft case, the "law" in question is actualy an agency rule. Rules passed by adminstrative agencies have the force of law, but are not created by adminstrators, not by representative bodies. This case is particularly noxious because the government is claiming that the law itself is a secret. You are not permitted to see the rule that binds you, you simply have to trust the TSA people that such a rule exists and that they are enforcing it fairly. We now live in a nation where we are bound by secret laws. I'm sure some of the tin-foil hat people can tell you why that's a bad thing.
  • by nachoboy (107025) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:30PM (#11798484)
    The agent misspoke, and there's no law requiring travelers to show ID. It's still perfectly within reason for airlines/airports to request identification for passengers - if only to ensure that the ticket was sold to the same person making use of it. Don't like it? Don't fly. If you want to take a stand on something, why not those ridiculous security stations I'm forced to walk through barefoot?
  • by Sta7ic (819090) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:31PM (#11798489)
    I won't swear to it, but airlines are bound by federal regulations. If they have it in writing either within those rules and regs, or they have you sign a contract prior to paying for the ticket, there's a justifiable, identifiable reason involved.

    I haven't been on a plane for 15+ years, what are the written rules for passangers?
  • by DaHat (247651) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:32PM (#11798500) Homepage
    You are correct, however I would expect that it would be fraud for an airline to claim that federal law requires passengers to show their ID's just to conform to company policy. More likely the FAA or DHS told the airlines to do so, so the blame will end up going back to them... for now.
  • Dude! wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:32PM (#11798504)
    If I was driving down the freeway one day, following all the rules, going the speed limit, and a police officer pulls me over for "a traffic violation", but is not willing to tell me what this "traffic violation is", wouldn't I have reason to question why?
  • Re:Because. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:36PM (#11798539)
    No tinfoil hat required ... it's one of those things that if you have to ask why it's bad, you probably slept through history class.
  • New slant ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:36PM (#11798541)
    ... on the rule that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". It would be amusing if it were not so tragic. Here are people enforcing laws against others with neither party aware of the full wording of the law.

    Here is a law, furthermore, that was not passed in accordance with the constitution. We have faceless individuals deciding on controls on everyday movement and almost no questioning of their right to do so.

    I am actually surprised Mr Gilmore has not asked for a court injunction asking either for proof that such a law exists (and its text) or for the regulation to be lifted.

  • by Snarfangel (203258) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:37PM (#11798549) Homepage
    Next thing you know, you'll want to be innocent until proven guilty and question witnesses.
  • ObCatch-22 quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Piquan (49943) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:38PM (#11798559)

    "What right did they have?" said Capt.Yossarian

    "Catch-22." said the old woman

    "What?" Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt his whole body begin to tingle. "What did you say?"

    "Catch-22," the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. "Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

    "What the hell are you talking about?" Capt. Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest.

    "Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. "Didn't you even make them read it?"

    They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to."

    "What law says they don't have to?"

    "Catch-22." The old woman said.

    Joseph Heller, Catch-22 [straightdope.com]
  • Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:39PM (#11798562) Homepage
    I don't know about you guys, but I've always felt that if you are going to be restricted by rules and laws, those rules and laws need to be available for your viewing.

    I mean, the reason people go to law school and the reason pay lawyers so much money is because the law is something that needs to be done BY THE LETTER. It sounds like the airlines want us just to abide by the spirit of the law.

    And while I personally wish society were at point where we COULD just go by the spirit of things, we are not there yet, and so in order to protect OUR rights, and OUR safety, we need to be able to view these laws and make certain we're not getting screwed over.

  • It reminds me. . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastian (66383) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:42PM (#11798595)
    It reminds me of when my town's high school started making kids wear their sudent ID's around their necks in response to Columbine, with the stated purpose of trying to prevent such a situation in our town by discouraging unauthorized people from entering the school.

    Only problem is, there has not been a school shooting I know if that was not perpetrated by a student who is authorized to be at that school.

    Same thing with airplanes. "Ha ha, you dumb terrorists! Now you have to prove you bought the ticket to get on the airplane!" I'm sure this inconveniences them much more than it inconveniences me when getting on an airplane. In fact, I bet it inconveniences them so much that they would scrub years or decades of planning. Sure, I get on an airplane once every couple months, and it hasn't made life too much harder for me, but somehow it's magically different for terrorists.

  • Re:Because. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by colmore (56499) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:42PM (#11798599) Journal
    So at what point should we really be concerned about this? I think it's difficult to deny that the past 4 years have seen the most radical transformation of the federal government since the New Deal, if not since the end of the Civil War. I think this is of far greater concerns than any tax policy or even any inidividual war, but there has been little to no public questioning of the vast changes in the way our government operates.

    So when does this stop being something bad just in concept? When should I start thinking about getting myself and my family out of here?
  • "Lose" your ID (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:43PM (#11798603) Journal
    Ticket Agent: May I see your ID?

    Me: I'm sorry, I lost my wallet somewhere. All I have is some cash until I get everything replaced. You have no idea just how difficult this has been.

    Ticket agent: Okay, you'll have to go thru some extra screening, though. [Meaning a guaranteed wanding, remove shoes, etc.]

    Me: Okay.

    Been there, done that. It works.

    Of course, I actually DID lose my wallet on that trip, but the principle is the same.

    -Charles
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:43PM (#11798605)
    I drove from NYC to Boston the other weekend. There was no authorization required. I just went and did it.

    Oh I see, I just totally trashed your idiotic comparison. Excuse me while I go take my victory lap.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:43PM (#11798608) Journal
    They are claiming that the law requires they do this while at the same time refusing to point out what law does.

    One can not have a Democracy if the laws are hidden from the people.
  • by robw810 (819414) * <robby&rlworkman,net> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:44PM (#11798616) Homepage
    He could even start a private airline company that doesn't require ID

    No, he can't - the federal government mandates that all airlines require identification. As I stated in another post, IF the airline were TRULY a private business imposing certain requirements on potential customers, THEN this would be acceptable. As it stands, however, the airline is a de facto corporation of the federal government.

    Since you consider yourself a liberal, I'll take this opportunity to say "thank you" - you guys are the ones that have always clamored for more government involvement in everything.

    RW

  • by zackrentwood (828124) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:45PM (#11798622)
    He could drive. He could buy a plane. He could walk. He could hitchhike, for goodness' sake. He could even start a private airline company that doesn't require ID.


    I'm pretty sure that it's illegal to drive without ID in most if not every state.

    The FAA requires that you carry positive ID along with your Airman's Certificate (their gender-charged language, not mine) whenever operating an aircraft

    Walking is an impractical method of moving around the country at this point in history, requiring people who don't want to show ID to walk would preclude them from many types of job.

    Hitchiking is illegal in every state where i've bothered to research the law.

    If he starts a private airline company then he will be subject to the rules of the FAA or TSA and have to impose the same requirements.

    He actually has a pretty good point.
  • by multiplexo (27356) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:45PM (#11798623) Journal
    Did you bother reading the fine article? You did, Oh, are you one of those individuals who does poorly in reading comprehension tests? You must be, because if you had read the article you would have found out that Gilmore has epilepsy and lost his driver's license because of it. If you had bothered to read the article you also would have found out that the airlines claimed that it was not their policy but one they were forced to comply with by the federal government. Also the airlines are not allowed to just adopt any policy they like, as an example if an airline said "we don't like niggers and we don't let them on our planes" they'd be grounded pretty quickly by the federal government. Of course the federal government says that there is a policy but that we, the people who the federal government ostensibly serve, and who actually pay for the federal government, are not allowed to see it. If you can't see the danger in having the government create and enforce secret laws that the citizenry is expected to follow but not allowed to read then you're even dumber than your post makes you out to be. Who is to say that there isn't a secret law on the books that would allow me to come out to your house and hook some electrodes up to your nuts and show you all of the fun things that went on in Abu Ghraib? There might be a rule on the books that allows me to do this, but it's sensitive security information, so you can't see it, now shut up and stop screaming before I turn the voltage up even higher.

    There are some people who are smart enough to be bothered by the whole concept of having a bunch of government bureaucrats enforcing secret and unwritten laws on an unknowing populace and then there are stupid bastards such yourself who aren't much higher on the intellectual food chain than say a retarded steer, or perhaps a particularly bright carp.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:46PM (#11798632)
    You are exactly right.

    But exactly wrong too!

    Perhaps there should be a law so that you have to prove who you are to board an airplane. I'm not sure about that.

    But if that is the case, then a law should be passed. If its really that important, congress should simply pass a law. They could do it in one day if it was important.

    But they haven't passed such a law. Isn't that interesting?

    Isn't it even more interesting that the government claims there is such a law, but that its too secret to tell you about? Doesn't that make you *the least bit interesting* in what the hell is going on?

    Where do you draw the line? If the police asked you for papers when you crossed from one state to the other, but couldn't tell you under what authority, would you simply brush it off? Seriously, where will you draw the line?

    In other news, congress is trying to get bigger fines on broadcasters in case they say "anal sex" on the air.
  • by Piquan (49943) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:48PM (#11798643)

    Point one: The request for ID was never mandatory; the airlines had been fighting for it to be mandatory for some time, since they didn't want tickets to be transferrable.

    Point two: The request for ID by itself is not as serious, in many people's minds, as the fact that we are bound by regulations that we are not allowed to know.

  • by Kiryat Malachi (177258) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:48PM (#11798644) Journal
    You would be correct, except:

    TSA agents, who are *government* employees, are telling him he has to show ID because it's the law.

    Airline officials are *not* saying that this is company policy; they are saying it is US law.

    He is asking to see said law. No one will show it to him. Private laws are *not* something we should be saying "Oh, well that's okay then" towards; they lead in exactly the wrong direction.
  • by Jim Starx (752545) <JStarx@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:48PM (#11798648)
    There is a law, the TSA acknowledged that there was a law. Did you read the article?
  • by Ecks (52930) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:51PM (#11798677)
    First, he doesn't have a driver's license. Second, he doesn't have a problem with the law that says you have to show ID to get on a plane. He just wants someone to show him a copy of it and the government claims that the details of the law cannot be divulged to the public. Liberal or conservative you shouldn't like the idea that the government can hold you accountable to rules that they won't divulge.

    -- Ecks
  • by daeley (126313) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:51PM (#11798683) Homepage
    I sense a new unit of measurement coming.

    Joining Volkswagen Bugs, Rhode Islands, and Libraries of Congress: the new monetary unit "Seasons of Trek", an amount of dollars necessary to fund one season of Star Trek.
  • by finkployd (12902) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:52PM (#11798684) Homepage
    So you are perfectly ok with living under laws that you are not allowed to read or know about?

    And if you think showing ID does one bit of good regarding airline security, I would love to join you in that dream world. Are you under the impression that IDs are hard to get? Do you believe that the 9/11 guys did not have valid IDs?

    Finkployd
  • He is free to travel by foot, bike, motorcycle, car, boat, or other device himself while not violating applicable pedestrian or traffic laws, or by bus or train, entirely anonymously.

    Foot and bike do not reach towns whose only access road is an interstate. Motorcycle, car, and boat require licensure, and states reserve the right to deny licensure to people diagnosed with epilepsy.

  • how does ID... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @09:59PM (#11798745)
    But how does the presence of an ID solve the problems that a "screening" searches for ?

    Can a person with an ID not have "impure" thoughts ? Or carry a knife ?
  • Re:Apt Quote? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:00PM (#11798752)
    Oh hell, I'll bite.

    Look at what the Administration is doing now, then compare it to the 1860s, 1960s, 1940s, 1910s, 1950s.

    You'll find that the Bush Administration is acting like the model of restrant when compared to the Americans, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, British, French or Russians during any of those decades.

    For example, 1861-1865 - 600,000 dead in US, civil liberties restrained much more openly and much more harshly than now.
  • by dbcad7 (771464) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:00PM (#11798759)
    And yet, these changes were made by a conservative controlled regime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:02PM (#11798777)
    Well no, you didn't totally trash it. So you are still free to drive...until they decide to subject driving to the same sort of secret rules. After all, the 9-11 hijackers had drivers licenses.

    As a no American, let me say the USA should be ashamed of how far they have allowed their system to slip towards a totalitarian facist state.
  • by zackrentwood (828124) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:04PM (#11798797)
    Since you consider yourself a liberal, I'll take this opportunity to say "thank you" - you guys are the ones that have always clamored for more government involvement in everything.
    http://www.theconservativevoice.com/modules/news/a rticle.php?storyid=3045 [theconservativevoice.com]
    http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID =17446&c=206 [aclu.org]

    Republican President Bush backs a big-government national ID card. The "conservative voice" condemns this action as un-American as does the ACLU. Is it just me or are these labels sort of stupid? Perhaps destroying the checks and balances of the three-branch system?

    Oh well, maybe it's just me.
  • Re:Because. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:05PM (#11798799)
    Naturally, because to contest it carries risk. America has become one of the most risk-averse cultures on the plant, and I believe that's a good part of our problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:05PM (#11798806)
    Oh please. If a security layer is totally inefficient, why keep it? "it's better than nothing". No, it's not. It's just as good as nothing, or worse because it's a nuisance to legal passengers. Getting a fake/stolen ID is easy, especially for someone who would want to attack the plane. Make a photo, compare with database of known criminals. Or just perform a reasonable check for dangerous materials without too much inquiry into who's flying. Make a check that actually protects. It's like "users are required to enter a real email address to access the resource". It doesn't protect at all.

    Besides why planes? Why high-security airports? You americans got crazy about planes because they were used recently. But what will stop a guided missile launched 5 miles away from hitting the White House? How are you going to stop a truck filled with nerve gas from driving into Manhattan? Why do you think someone can't attach a container with cyanide and a pump to the tap at home and pump the poison up the water pipes of a city network?

    You can't protect yourselves. The best you can do is to stop giving people reasons to hate you and doing any of the above, but you're working really hard on the opposite.
  • what an idiot (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:07PM (#11798820)

    You, my friend, are an idiot.

    Why isn't the law public then ? If it's so good for us, let us see it.

    Are you really buying into the "it's secret for our own protection" bullshit ?
  • by vijayiyer (728590) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:08PM (#11798827)
    Like most such regulations, it's there to keep the soccer moms happy through the feeling of security. Realistically, it's meaningless. A criminal will either be sure to not have a prior record or use a fake.
  • by Get Behind the Mule (61986) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:09PM (#11798836)
    Wait a minute. Person with a uniform and a role of auhtority says to a citizen, "Show me your ID." Citizen asks, "Why?" Person with authority says, "Because it's the law." Citizen asks, "What law?", and the person with authority doesn't have an answer.

    If persons with authority start telling people what to do on the grounds that the law says they can, and then it turns out that they don't know what they are talking about, indeed for all appearances might just be making it up, then there are no limits to what citizens can and will be forced to do. If that's not a grave threat to civil rights, I don't know what is. It no longer matters what the law does and does not allow, the law doesn't make any difference any more if anyone with a badge can claim, "It's the law" and then without any further explanation demand anything they want.

    It's never wrong to question authority. Authority can be expected to have an answer.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:12PM (#11798860) Journal
    look, if you want to be able to drive your low gas mileage car, eat tacos and watch the super bowel (without breasts) then you bloody well better co-operate. the war on terror is the single most important war that has ever been fought in the world, ever, this is because they killed 3000 innocent people and that means we have to kill absolutely every last terrorist and their families and everyone who has ever known them, and anyone who ever becomes a terrorist in the future. as you can imagine this requires quite a few 'tools' - for example, the president needs to be able to declare war on anything at any time, such a war needs to be able to continue for as long as is needed and in order to find the enemy (they don't wear uniforms you know) you need to be able to search anyone. if your not a terrorist you have absolutely nothing to hide simply because the war on terror is so important that anything else that anyone might do will be ignored unless its terrorism - if your gay for example fear not, the war on homosexuality is totally on hold for the moment! even if your ISP did forward your gay web-browsing history and emails to the FBI they wouldn't want to know! in fact banning gay marriage has dropped right off the current administrations to-do list because there are so many more important things to do - president bush has actually said that he won't even go to sleep until terrorism is stopped, let alone waste time on less important things like that. now people seem to think that the bill of rights is some set in stone thing that cant be changed - wrong, the bill of rights is just a bit of paper and if it turns out that the terrorists are using free speech and all our crazy prisoner rights against us then we have to drop them from the law! remember politicians can be trusted because we all elect them - when has a politician ever lied or done something dishonest? maybe about once a century!
  • by pVoid (607584) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:20PM (#11798907)
    I think the point being made is that you have to leave your driver's license information at the rental store.

    It's one thing to say "do you have a license? and can I see if it's valid?" it's another thing to say "I will now log your driver's license into our database".

  • Re:New slant ... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:22PM (#11798924)
    Kafka...
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:23PM (#11798932) Homepage Journal
    It's about laws you're not entitled to know about but you are bound with.

    This one is mostly harmless. But it's just a step away...

    Imagine such a law: Any visitor to an anti-government website is considered traitor of the country, subject to arrest and lawsuit, without right to a lawyer, with methods of interrogation like tortures allowed, bound with secret about everything they see or hear, including this law.

    Now this law comes into effect, except it's not being published anywhere. Just the same as the "ID check" - you don't get a chance to know it exists possibly until after you've violated it. The agents are free to drag you out of your house and keep you imprisoned for months, then eventually kill you and nobody can do anything about it, they can't even know what happened to you. And it's all fine in the eyes of law - and nobody can protest because nobody knows, and those who know, by knowing are bound by secret, or they violate the law and are subject of prosecution.

    That's the method of rule of totalitarian government. Laws you don't know about until it's too late. And of course laws made up on the spot, just as binding because nobody can verify they were made up on the spot...
  • by isa-kuruption (317695) <kuruption@[ ]uption.net ['kur' in gap]> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:27PM (#11798968) Homepage
    Well the court said that, in Roe v. Wade, that it was illegal for the state to tell a person what to do with their body.

    And, well the court also said, that you must show identification to board an aircraft [findlaw.com].

    Case closed. Liberals, if you want to be able to change the laws from the judicial branch of governemnt (gay marriage, abortion, patriot act, etc) then you should at least live by the other court rulings as it would seem hypocritical to do otherwise. Oh wait....

    OK, now mod me down!
  • by amjohns (29330) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:29PM (#11798978)
    So you think that just knowing who people are is going to make anything safer? Boy are you naive!!

    What the hell does knowing who someone is have to do with whether they're carrying a weapon or bomb onboard? Absolutely NOTHING!

    I have no problem w/ security screenings, even though they're ineffective at preventing weapons other that large bombs (which can still easily get through too). I could list 5 'innocent' things I can carry aboard a plane to kill someone with, if I were so disposed. I could probably come up with an even longer list of things easily smuggled aboard. But knowing who I am has nothing to do with any of that

  • Re:Apt Quote? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by deanj (519759) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:33PM (#11799006)
    ...and if it wasn't for them, you probably wouldn't even be able to type that message... You'd be in some gulag wondering how you were going to survive after shooting your mouth off.
  • I'm wondering why he doesn't sue? A secret law would seem to be in violation of a few parts of the Constitution.

  • by wk633 (442820) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:40PM (#11799047)
    is so that you can't fly on someone else's ticket.

    If you have a ticket you can't use, you can't sell it in the paper (or on eBay). There used to be all kinds of classified ads for airplane tickets for sale. No more. It's economics, not security.
  • Actually, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:41PM (#11799057) Journal

    conservatives are the ones who have pushed through regulations on personal freedoms as well as pushing their morals. Liberals have normally fought this.

    OTH, Liberals, and the 1960-1970 republicans, pushed through such things as environmental laws. IOW, business regulations. Fortunately, some regulations have been destroyed, such as when the oil industry dereg occured due to Nixon and Carter (reagan simply accelerated their laws by 1/2 a year).

  • That is so (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TCaM (308943) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:45PM (#11799094) Homepage
    however, if there isn't a law and the airlines are making shit up the need to be called on it. Likewise if there really is some 'secret law' on the books it needs to be exposed as the very idea of 'secret laws' is totally against the basic ideal of having a free society.

    This is a battle worth fighting.
  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:45PM (#11799098) Journal
    It's not far from it, perhaps. There's been serious talk of requiring photo ID for travel by train and long-distance bus.

    The whole security thing is overblown. There are things that need to stay secret, but things like this aren't one of them. A list of items that cannot be carried onboard might be something, but the basic conditions required to get past security and onto the plane should not be secret. There's not even been anything saying that you can get on a plane without ID if you submit to a search. None of that is public, and that's the problem here.
  • Re:Because. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:49PM (#11799129) Journal
    risk-averse cultures

    That's a helluva way to spell "gibbering cowards."
  • Retarded (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:51PM (#11799149)
    Nearly every services company in the USA has a "right to refuse service to anyone for any reason" clause in it.

    If the airline decides that it requires an ID to get on one of it's planes, it's perfectly within thier right.

    So my point is: Maybe it isn't a law, but a policy.

    A gym requires ID to get in, so does a library. I need ID to get into my place of employment, into a bar (sometimes) and more often to buy cigarettes. I need to show ID in the form of a credit card to get nearly every utility hooked up (even though they are not billing the CC).

  • Re:Showing IDs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:56PM (#11799178) Homepage
    If I'm getting on an airplane, I feel better that everyone has to show an ID.

    True! You do feel better! Unfortunately, you are no safer, but everyone has less privacy. Is the loss of their privacy worth happy feelings on your part? Perhaps you should take happy pills instead? That way, you'll still be happy, and other people will still have their privacy.
    -russ
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:56PM (#11799181) Homepage
    Oh, I see... Security means less privacy, according to some, uh?

    I remember in the days after 9-11 around here they had this town hall meeting so people could talk about their fears. There was this lady, she had a couple kids, and she was blubbering about who was going to protect them? Another guy stood up and said he'd be happy to give up all his privacy if it would help and people appluaded that remark.

    Those people make me sick. What made America great wasn't some sniveling pussy bawling about who was going to protect them. Absolutely disgusting. Instead of looking to the government to protect us in a free society you look to the government to provide the tools to protect yourself.

    If we hadn't spent decades conditioning people to just cooperate with terrorists and criminals they wouldn't have had a snowballs chance in a sunny July day in downtown Dallas, Texas of taking over an airliner with just five people.

    We're no longer the country we started out to be and we don't deserve the freedom that most college students today would trade for an iPod.

  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @10:58PM (#11799188)
    any sane person would just pull out a photo ID and be on their way.

    No, any sheep would pull out a photo ID. I, for one am glad that Gilmore has the time, money and motivation to follow through on this.

    I bet you show your receipt at the door at Fry's too...
  • by bani (467531) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:00PM (#11799206)
    no, the airlines can't require whatever the hell they want.

    if that were true, they'd be free to discriminate however they liked.
  • Re:Because. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbIII (701233) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:01PM (#11799217)
    No, the man is not concerned because nobody has taken the time to produce a copy of the law
    Good point, the law of the land should never be allowed to be kept secret - there is no legitimate justification for that in a democracy. "But it hasn't been written yet" is not a legitimate excuse.

    What is it with the USA? The cold war is long over but we see the former USSR steadily getting more democratic and the USA steadily adopting more totalitarian tactics.

    National security should never be used as an excuse when "I just want to do whatever I want" is the real reason.

    The case of this guy is trivial. The case of not disclosing the information and saying "Because I said so" is not - many non-democratic third world countries can't even get away with and at least have flimsy pretexts based on published laws when they do things injustly. Think of what sort of injustice you can get up to when you don't have to rely on published laws and superiors are not expecting you to be responsible for your actions until the press find out.

  • Re:How about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ikkonoishi (674762) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:02PM (#11799221) Journal
    I will now log your driver's license into our database for insurance purposes.

    You have to be able to prove to your insurance person that you actually did see a driver's liscense.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:03PM (#11799230)
    I think the point being made is that laws which citizens are expected to obey should be public. How can you enforce a law that doesn't (for all intents and purposes) exist? And for that matter, how far can that go? If they can enforce an Stasi-like "may I see your papers please?" law without providing any evidence that such law exists, then what else could they theoretically do? And how could your lawyer defend you against a law that the government claims exists, but doesn't make available anywhere?
  • by demachina (71715) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:04PM (#11799236)
    Just to clarify a rampant mistake in terminology in this whole article. This is not a question of "law" it is a question of "regulation". The difference is the first is passed by Congress and the second is just written by the executive branch and its agencies, the FAA, FCC and TSA for example.

    To my knowledge Congress has never passed a "law" implementing the "Do Not Fly" list which led to this requirement airlines ID all passengers. If they had passed a law it probably wouldn't be secret and someone could show Gilmore the "law", There isn't one.

    Congress has toyed with passing a law for several versions of "CAPPS" which are the next gen successors to the current stupid "Do Not Fly" list but Congress has so far balked at at the privacy invasion of CAPPS though the executive branch keeps bringing it back over and over again.

    The "Do Not Fly" list began in the early '90's as FAA "regulation" in concert with the FBI. It was lame and wasn't for the most part enforced. After 9/11 it was given new life, dramaticly expanded and turned over to TSA, Homeland Security and FBI and is now widely and badly enforced.

    It is to my knowledge all done through secret "regulation". However all airlines that fly in or in to the U.S. have to at least go through the motions of enforcing it, ID'ing all passengers and preventing passengers from flying whose names are on the "Do Not Fly" list. When they get a match they are supposed to call TSA/FBI agents who detain and interrogate the person. The person is usually completely innocent and just an unfortunate victim of having the same name as a suspected terrorist or even an alias a suspected terrorist uses. These innocent people are routinely harrassed, embarrassed and often prevented from flying and there is no known procedure for cleaing your name. Your best option is to petition your congressman who in turn begs the FBI, TSA, Homeland security to clear you.

    If an airline employee refuses to enforce the regulation they will probably be fired so its "law" to them. If an airline refuses to enforce it they will probably be denied access to U.S. air space so its "law" to them, but it is really secret regulation created by the executive branch and its agencies, the FAA, TSA, FBI and Homeland Security.
  • Re:No Right to Fly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Buran (150348) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:04PM (#11799242)
    You don't get it, do you? Are you really that stupid? This isn't about flying. This is about totalitarian-regime-style secret laws.

    I'd call that something VERY worth arguing about.

    Get off my planet.
  • Re:Dude! wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:04PM (#11799243)

    One thing to note, my car at the time was equiped with a video recorder next to the odometer.

    Sounds cool. Got a link?

  • by bani (467531) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:05PM (#11799247)
    it's not about airline security policies being secret.

    it's about secret government laws.

    how is it possible to be a law-abiding citizen when the government passes laws you aren't even allowed to know about? "just use common sense" is not justification, because there are thousands of laws which are not sensible at all.
  • Re:Retarded (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wk633 (442820) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:05PM (#11799249)
    And you've never questioned any of that?

    Why should you need to show a credit card to buy something not on the credit card? I tried to report a car running a red light and almost hitting me on my bike. The police wanted to see my drivers license. Um- I wasn't driving. As a cyclist, I'm not required to have a drivers license. So, why ask for it?

    Just because things are ubiquitious in our society doesn't make them right. Most of the time you are 'required' to flash a card, it's for the convenience of the other party.
  • by cgenman (325138) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:06PM (#11799261) Homepage
    How can we be bound by a law we can't read? Courts have ruled again and again that ignorance of the law is no excuse... How can we accept that we're bound by laws, which we must know, which we can't know?

    This country has turned into a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

  • Re:Dude! wtf? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bani (467531) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:08PM (#11799283)
    do you have a reference?

    which television stations or newspapers covered the story?

    do you have a copy of the formal apology somewhere?

    how about a copy of the video?

    or maybe the name of your lawyer?
  • You're so right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:10PM (#11799297)
    "If a regulation requires passengers to present an ID, you can choose to show it or find another method of transportation."

    Seee? Its that simple. If there is a regulation that he should show it, then he should show it.

    Umm.

    That's the point though. There is no such regulation.
  • by Pseudonym (62607) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:12PM (#11799318)
    It's one thing to say "do you have a license? and can I see if it's valid?" it's another thing to say "I will now log your driver's license into our database".

    If you break the law in a rental car, like running a red light or hitting a pedestrian, the police must to be able to match up the driver (and their licence) to the perpetrator. For this reason, and for the specific case of renting a car, I don't have a problem with handing over my driver's licence details.

    OTOH, I would not want to have to show photo ID before I could use a taxi.

    John Gilmour's main point, though, is that secret law is an abomination. With this, I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khrtt (701691) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:20PM (#11799373)
    The gate agent should've just told him it was an airline policy (which it probably is). Nothing wrong with that.

    Though I should tell you, I really don't give a fuck if the guy trying to hijack the plane I'm flying on has an ID or not.
  • by Sancho (17056) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:20PM (#11799377) Homepage
    So let me get this straight: At the first airport, he was at first rejected, then told he would be allowed on the plane if he submitted to a search, then once he submitted to the search, he was rejected again.

    And you're surprised that he didn't ask to be searched at the second airport? And you really expect that he would have been let on the plane that time when he wasn't the first time?
  • by VidEdit (703021) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:24PM (#11799408)
    Judging from your post, I know you'll be happy to overlook this glaring incongruity - and seeming change of story - to fuel your belief that we live in a police state.

    You are right in thinking that I still think that Gilmore has a case. Which account is right. I don't know, and either way there is still a secret law requiring us to "show our papers" to travel within the US.

    Interestingly, I see that you can't challenge a single one of my assertions about the current state of the police powers in the United States: "We now live in a police state, with secret searches, secret evidence, secret arrests, secret detentions without charges, secret touture, secret laws and even secret legal arguments." My position stands unopposed by you with a single fact. The facts also include the fact that the President of the United States believes that the constitution is null and void for anyone he personally deems to be an "Enemy Combatant," US Citizen or no. There is literally nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that says the Bill of Rights only applies to those the President approves of. This suspension of the Bill of Rights at the sole discretion of the Administration is literally an unprecedented extension of authoritarian power to the President.

    Your straw argument that if some things should be secret then it is ok to have secret laws (like those in Communist China and Soviet Russia) rings hollow. Yes, some things should be secret, such as the details on how to make weapons of mass destruction, but the actual laws we have to follow day to day need to be public so we can know what they are and challenge them if they are unconstitutional.

    We do live in 1984. The government can do sneak and peak searches, warrantless secret searches of your medical records, credit card transactions, library records and any "public" record. They can also, without a warrant, record who you phone and when, and many other transactions. The Administration to increase pollution is called Clear Skies; their plan to deforest is called The Healthy Forests Initiative. All I can say is that I think the President is double plus un-good.

  • by RickHunter (103108) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:25PM (#11799415)

    Interesting, isn't it? Conservatives always claim they don't want stuff like this... Yet the instant they get into power, they start passing it left, right, and center, and blame the "Liberals".

  • by Minupla (62455) <minupla@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:26PM (#11799418) Homepage Journal
    Then why would the requirement be enforeced by a secret law? Much easier to enforce as an airline reg: "All tickets are non-transferable. Prior to boarding the aircraft you will be required to present an acceptable proof of identification. The following are acceptable".... No biggie. On the other hand, if you have a secret govt law requiring that you show ID to get on the airplane, you get lots of bad press, and someone suing for constituational reasons. Sounds to me like the airlines did this the hard way if they were just trying to keep people from trading tickets.
  • govt lobbysts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheekyboy (598084) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:34PM (#11799482) Homepage Journal
    Its not that hard really.

    Big friends in high places, lets unite and make it look like someone else is doing this... takes the blame away... etc... Usual Suspects, Usual Scum.

    Imagine if cars were non transfereable, used car market would be DEAD.

    Technically and legally, the airlines could easily setup a system were anyone could reauthorize their ticket to anyone else, like a normal sale, and with only $3 admin fee (talking 5minutes to a $11/hr employee should not cost $25 admin fees, again same scum making false fees)
    or done online. We know us slashdotters could easily do it, unless their ticket systems are so ancient and cruddily coded in COBOL or some lego systems.

    Why is it easier to build a 747 with millions of parts and efficient engineering, yet the airlines billing/ticket/scheduling systems are MORE OUTDATED than your local blockbuster running DOS ordering systems.

  • by MindStalker (22827) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .reklatsdnim.> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:34PM (#11799483) Journal
    Not to mention the fact that you may steal the car. Should one seriously expect to anonymously be able to rent anything.
  • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmurfButcher Bob (313810) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:38PM (#11799506) Journal
    You answered your own question -

    If I have nothing to hide, then the government has no need to know. Period.
  • by Fred_A (10934) <fredNO@SPAMfredshome.org> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:40PM (#11799522) Homepage
    Can there technically be a secret law ?

    One basic tennant of any legal system is that none may ignore the law (although I don't know how it's typically formulated in English). How are you supposed to know about a secret law ? It doesn't fit in the system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:46PM (#11799573)
    Terrorists can get fake IDs but drug dealers can't?
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:47PM (#11799576) Journal
    A sniveling ANONYMOUS COWARD wrote

    "No, the sheep are the ones admiringly looking on at such ineffectual dilattante windmill-tilting."

    Yeah, anybody who values their privacy must be a fucking hippy or something.

    Nobody sane would want to do that. Privacy is for assholes who have something to hide.

  • Re:Homophone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deutschemonte (764566) <lane.montgomery@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:49PM (#11799588) Homepage
    "Piece of Ass" is too Clinton-esque and was subsequently rejected by big oil, I mean big energy, I mean big religion, I mean the Bush administration.

    Clinton-esque
    Big Oil
    Big Energy
    Big Religion
    Bush Administration

    One of these things is not like the others.
  • by bitingduck (810730) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:50PM (#11799593) Homepage
    This country has turned into a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

    More like a Kafka story or novel.
  • by wwahammy (765566) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:52PM (#11799608)
    I agree that the patriot act and all the regulations surrounding it such as the Secret ID law are grossly unconstitutional and will lead to severe violations of our civil liberties but I think its extreme to say we live in a police state. A police state would allow all of the secret things you've mentioned in every case. That just doesn't happen yet (although there is certainly potential for it to happen). We do have a fairly robust and open justice system, despite all its flaws, in cases not involving terrorism. I'm not minimizing your concerns but making a statement like you did will allow others to ridicule our concerns as hyperbole.
  • Possible reactions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bongo Bill (853669) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:53PM (#11799616) Homepage
    Well, there are two ways a person can take this news.

    One, you could look at it as evidence that the United States is fascist or is heading there and that it is mostly corrput and devoid of legitimacy, and put on your proverbial tinfoil hat.

    Two, you could look at it as an inevitable mistake inherent in a government run by humans, and have faith that the system will eventually correct itself.

    Which seems better to you?

    The law in the United States is a dynamic thing. Laws can be passed that are unconstitutional - but that doesn't mean that they're on the books forever. Most unconstitutional laws are eventually declared as such and become unenforceable. If one makes headlines rather than slipping quietly to its death the way it ideally works, that doesn't make it any more permanent.

    The law relies on incidents like this in order to make sure that it's fair.

  • by dvdeug (5033) <dvdeug@@@email...ro> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @11:55PM (#11799627)
    The difference between Us and John Gilmore? We're not millionaires who think bureaucracy should be spat upon at every step. Sure it sucks, but this is a persons job- show 'em some respect and they chill out (*'cept for the real jerks).

    Rights are not just for nice guys. Rights are for everyone. The government shouldn't give random people jobs to harrass people and only let the nice ones travel.

    They just searched her. And at BWI, we were so late for the plane, they didn't even search her.

    So, if you're nice, no one even bothers to look twice at you. That's amazing high-quality security. Is the whole point of this is to randomly harass not-nice people, or protect people?
  • Constitutionality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PsiPsiStar (95676) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:10AM (#11799741)
    And how can a Supreme Court rule it unconstitutional if noone brings the case to it.

  • by Handbrewer (817519) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:14AM (#11799778) Homepage
    How can a democracy have secret laws? It is absolutely unjustifiable, it goes against everything a democracy is. How can you justify the Patriot Act and this secret law? Oh, thats right, Terrorism. Great, a scapegoat! Remember what Hitler did when the Bundestag burned down? Remember what his first action was when he was elected after he rubbed it off on the jews? Now ofcourse, im not comparing united states to hitlers germany, but there is something going on that should not be. And only the people can stop it - but how can you? Arguing against the government would be defending terrorism.

    "Either your with us, or against us"...
  • by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:17AM (#11799795) Homepage Journal
    From the article: and arrived in rental cars that required a valid driver's license and one major credit card.

    I'd argue that the rental car contract is not the same thing as flying without an ID.

    A rental car company is libel when it gives a vehical away. It is required to be postively sure that the individual is fully capable and legally permitted to drive the car, or else it WILL be sued in the event of an accident, insurance be damned. Similarly, the credit card check is not to verify that the individual is what the ID says it is -- its to avoid having to do their own credit background check (minimum week or more delays and hefty increase in costs) in order to lend the car with the knowledge its going to someone likely to give it back.

    they hold the credit card company responsible for dealing with that credit check and that cost, to save themselves the money and keep competitive.

    both items are strictly business decisions that have no relation at all to the no flying without an ID law.
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:19AM (#11799815)
    All of the 9/11 hijackers had valid ID.
  • by Sancho (17056) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:23AM (#11799835) Homepage
    Officer: Excuse me sir, you've broken the secret law. You will now be tried in a secret court.

    Me: Ok, I'll hire a lawyer.

    Officer: Don't bother, your lawyer will be appointed by the court. We can't have any old lawyers around, they might hear the secret laws.

    Me: I want to see the judge! I want to face my accusers!

    Judge: I'm afraid we can't have that. If you face your accusers, you may find out what law you've broken. We can't let out what law was broken.

    Me: At least I get my day in court.

    Judge: You will be tried outside your presence, because we can't have you hearing the sec...

    Me: Yeah yeah, how do I know this law even exists?

    Judge: Trust us.

  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boodaman (791877) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:32AM (#11799905)
    Won't inconvenience you? That's why you're a sheep...you can only see the next two seconds in front of your face instead of the long term ramifications.

    How valuable is that two seconds if every piece of information about you is tracked in some database? Forever?

    How valuable is that two seconds if you no longer control your own personal information, such as where you go, when you go there, who you see, what you buy, and how long you stayed?

    How valuable is that two seconds if you travel to someplace for personal reasons, but while you're there, there's a massive political protest in the same city, and the government automatically assumes that's why you went there, and logs it into some database somewhere?

    How valuable is that two seconds if you just want to check out, off the grid, for awhile, recharge, meditate, whatever, but someone files a missing persons report on you, and you get tracked because of your ID? Or your cell phone?

    How valuable is that two seconds if some event that happened in your past comes back to haunt you in the future, and keeps you from doing something you need or really want to do?

    Sheep think about the two seconds. Wolves think about the damage done to the their privacy and their freedom.

    New definition: Sheep are nature's efficient, sane food.
  • by rco3 (198978) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:35AM (#11799927) Homepage
    Well, then, Anonymous Brave Guy, allow me to rebut a few specific points. Apologies if I have misconstrued or misquoted any.

    1) People who enforce laws shouldn't be required to have all of them memorized.

    Well, I'm going to agree that the average street cop doesn't need to know tax law. But I assert that someone who enforces one very small specific subset of laws, e.g. TSA law enforcement, should in fact have a VERY thorough understanding of what is and is not illegal within the purview of those laws. That IS their job. Otherwise, that person may enforce personal preference or prejudice rather than the laws, or allow illegal activity to continue and thus endanger the lives of passengers. I'll go further and suggest that there should be on duty at all times some TSA enforcement person who has a written copy of such laws available for public perusal and for agent reference. This is my opinion, of course, not fact. I'd like to go on record as vigorously disagreeing with both your opinion and the factual basis underlying it.

    2. Common sense suggests that a law requiring ID to board a commercial airliner exists and is reasonable.

    Common sense is neither.

    More specifically, I would assert that common sense suggests that if there is a law requiring you to show said ID, it can be found without having to break it first. That wasn't the case. The author might have tried to find such a law (the fine article doesn't say), perhaps in reaction to a previous TSA enforcer's actions*, or out of a desire not to have to tell every random stranger in a uniform that he was an epileptic, and couldn't.
    (*Having flown several times in the last year, I can relate from experience that TSA people can often be rude, unpleasant, and leave one with a sense that one's privacy and dignity has been invaded unnecessarily. )
    Common sense suggests that if one searches diligently to find a law prohibiting or requiring some pattern of behavior, and can't, then that law doesn't exist. That wasn't the case.

    3. Making the scene that he did was unnecessary.

    How else do you find out about secret laws, other than breaking them? Clearly we can't trust our lawmakers to be open about what's illegal. Applying common sense, as we've seen above, won't do either.

    As mentioned previously, he may have had perfectly legitimate reasons for not wanting to show his papers - excuse me, for not wanting to show or have a TSA-approved photo ID.

    Turning this around, common sense suggests that hiring a lawyer to file a court case to ask the government whether a specific law exists is unnecessary. However, this is what you said was "the correct answer." I'm thinking that perhaps common sense means something else when you say it. Maybe that's why we have laws instead of asking everyone to rely on their common sense...?

    4. The TSA enforcement people reacted appropriately to this incident, as they would to a threat against the President.

    I didn't really understand this - I'm hoping this was you being unclear in your phrasing, rather than as simple-minded as it appeared. Joking about assassinating the President is not a particularly parallel case. It's explicitly illegal [about.com], a Federal crime, and the law is readily available for citizens to read. Moreover, the foreigner who jokingly makes such a threat will quickly meet some nice Treasury Agents, probably members of the Secret Service, each of whom is perfectly capable of telling him exactly which laws he has broken. They will be polite, knowledgeable, and very serious.

    TSA agents pulling a man out of line without being able to cite the relevant law is not reasonable or appropriate. This is NOT a personal fiefdom for agents to throw around personal power; this is a sensitive position in which agents are tasked with enforcing laws to protect "transportation"**. The agent's responses, FTFA, suggested that he pulled Gilmour at least in part because he
  • by Piquan (49943) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:37AM (#11799938)

    This suspension of the Bill of Rights at the sole discretion of the Administration is literally an unprecedented extension of authoritarian power to the President.

    It's not unprecedented. [lewrockwell.com]

  • by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:37AM (#11799939)
    I'm not the parent poster, but to quote the post to which you refer:

    Really, just strolling into the airport and creating an unnecessary problem doesn't help anyone.

    I'm sure people have said the same thing about Rosa Parks [google.com] when she refused to sit at the back of us bus
    "Oh look at her causing trouble! That doesn't help anyone and just made the poor bus drivers life more difficult.".

    It seems the disagreement here is that you seem to see this protest as 'unnecessary', where as others (myself included) think it is quite justfied.

    I think there are enough gross abuses of power by governments, most of which cost time and money to impliment but deliver no real benefit to citizens but do deliver rather convenient oppertinuties for air time to politians (IMO a primary reason why terror legislation is so in vouge in the USA and UK).

    I am relieved when I see someone prostest publically against this sort of thing, it's something most of us can't afford to do when we have to worry about holding down our jobs just to keep a roof over our head.

    If I were a multimilionare like John Gilmore I like to think I'd make a professional pain-the-ass of myself to draw attention to similar scandalous legislation (and the equally inept execution of it by trusted officals).
  • Re:Laws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:38AM (#11799943) Journal
    As someone who is currently in law school, I feel I am in an appropriately authoritative position to comment.

    Ask many lawyers what their favorite moment in court would be, and they will respond "the chance to make new law." That doesn't make sense, does it? Only legislatures make law. But the laws need to be interpreted by you and me, and by everyone else. It's the lawyers and judges that interpret, and people pay good lawyers so much money because they can convince the judge that their interpretation is better than the other lawyer's. Once that's done, their interpretation becomes "the law" that everyone else has to live with.

    Two rational people often differ with respect to what any given phrase means, and laws are no exception. The key question is, what is the background against which the laws are read? What political, social, economic, and moral criteria do we use to interpret the laws? Those criteria are what really drive "the law" forward. In this administration, those criteria are fear, paranoia, and distrust. Hence, we have laws that fear and distrust citizens, and citizens that fear and distrust the law.

    Terrorism succeeds when it instills fear in our hearts. The only way to beat it then, logically, is to not fear it. As Franklin Roosevelt so eloquently said: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Until we remember that, and stop our unreasonable fear of fear, invisible laws will continue to be passed and enforced. It's up to you.

  • by ahodgson (74077) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:41AM (#11799971)
    A police state would allow all of the secret things you've mentioned in every case

    Hardly. Even the Nazis had public trials. The knowledge that bad things _can_ happen to you if you offend someone in power is enough to stifle freedom in most cases.
  • Re:What a dick? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:59AM (#11800085) Homepage Journal
    The point of all of this is absolutely lost on you. Why is there a law that he's not allowed to see?

    Bringing this injustice to light is why he's doing this. You should be fucking thanking him for making this an issue, not considering it a 'waste of time'.

    I recommend you jerk your knee into your own forehead in the future. Perhaps, in between the stars and tweety-birds you'll see why people who challenge government abuses should be supported.

    You said one thing that was about 1/8th right. Civil liberties and security is a balancing act. Hiding the laws that affect either is extremist and unrealistic.

  • Since those two accounts vary greatly, which one is correct? Which one is the truth?

    They are both correct, since they refer to two different incidents. Read the fine page you linked to, it's right there at the top:

    July 4, 2002, John Gilmore went to
    Oakland International Airport. He had a ticket in his own name with Southwest Airlines to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. ... John politely refused to show his ID and was not allowed to fly. John then went to San Francisco International Airport and attempted to fly to Washington, DC on United Airlines. There he was informed that if he was not willing to show ID he could fly, but only if he submitted to a far more intrusive search than what every passenger goes through at the security checkpoint.
    I said I had no problem believing there were secret TSA security directives for airport and airline operations. Do you think all of them should be public?

    Hell yes. You want me to abide by your rules, you have to disclose them.

    If not, when is it okay for something to be secret?

    Tactical military information, sure. (Only for a limited time, though...any classified information should automatically expire after a time limit.) That's about it. Secrecy is the enemy of democracy.

    then we have people flipping out that the TSA is trying to secure airports and air travel

    The TSA is not trying to secure air travel. The TSA is trying to give the appearance of trying to secure air travel, so people will continue to fly.

    You want to make air travel safer? Making passengers show papers does jack. Instead, re-enforce the flight cabin doors, then give every able-bodied person on the plane a big-ass knife. Let any potential terrorists get the Flight 93 [unitedheroes.com] treatment, just give the passengers the tools to do the job. (Guns are problematic in cramped quarters, though the whole explosive decompression thing is a myth.)

    Don't like knives? Fine, make it stunguns instead. Put 'em in the seatback pockets right next to the barf bags.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@@@yahoo...com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:06AM (#11800139) Homepage Journal
    At least, when it comes to the markets. That's his forte. If you want to make money, he's probably the one to listen to.


    In this case, we're not talking markets, but the guy still has a point. Without some sort of structure, some rules, you do end up with chaos.


    HOWEVER, and this is a point that too many people miss, rules for the sake of rules add nothing to that structure. A decorative wall-hanging is all fine and well, but it adds nothing to the strength or durability of the wall it is hanging on.


    Thus, we can say that decorative rules serve no function other than to exist. Removing them does not create chaos, though if they add some aesthetic element to life, removing them may reduce the enjoyment of life. To date, I've never heard of a decorative rule that did add to the aesthetics, but I'm willing to concede that it is possible such rules exist.


    Finally, neither necessary nor aesthetic rules require invisibility. A wall is no less a wall if people can see it is there. But if it can be seen, you can tell whether something is functional or not. It certainly can't be aesthetic if it can't be seen.

  • by BlackMagi (605036) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:06AM (#11800140) Homepage
    "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?"
    said Dr. Ferris.

    "We want them broken....There's no way to rule innocent men. The only
    power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well,
    when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many
    things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without
    breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there
    in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be
    observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted -- and you create a
    nation of law-breakers -- and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's
    the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it,
    you'll be much easier to deal with."

    Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Ch. III, "White Blackmail"
  • by demachina (71715) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:07AM (#11800147)
    "We do have a fairly robust and open justice system, despite all its flaws, in cases not involving terrorism."

    Dude! That is one whopper of a qualification. The whole point is the government in the U.S. can now unilaterally decide what is terrorism, and who is a terrorist, with no proof whatsover, without judicial oversight, and lock the person up indefinitely without access to a lawyer, or to their family, without due process and on a number of occasions have shipped them to third party countries to be tortured by proxy.

    The whole crux of their strategy for wiping out our civil liberties and due process, is for them to say "we only do this to terrorists" to which the public is supposed to reply, "oh well if you only do it to terrorists thats OK". The only catch is the government never at any point has to offer any proof the person was actually a terrorist under their new rules, so they in fact can arrest anyone without charges, not just "terrorists".

    If you are going to have a civilized nation with due process and the rule of law you HAVE to apply the same rules, equally, to everyone. As soon as you give your government an exemption allowing them to deny due process to one person you have set a precedent allowing them to do it to anyone and everyone, and have opened the door to totalitarianism, and its entirely at the discretion of the powers if they decide to seize the opportunity and turn your country in to a police state.
  • by msaulters (130992) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:12AM (#11800169) Homepage
    I think any rational, thinking person would agree. A written code of laws was (as is taught in schools) Hammurabi's gift to mankind. So, this administration isn't *just* trying to undo several decades of environmental and civil rights progress (not to mention diplomatic work) in the name of 'freedom', they're trying to take society back thousands of years, literally, to the stone age.

    Fuckers. I only hope we're all still here to see 'em taken down when the inevitable revolution comes.
  • by aminorex (141494) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:28AM (#11800244) Homepage Journal
    Like a spikey cat, the phrase "identity papers" has a charge for a damn good reason, and euphemizing it to "ID" is a distraction from reason.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Disk Pickable (80010) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:32AM (#11800260)
    Sure, it's perfectly legal for companies to ask to see my reciept - and also perfectly legal for me to refuse. The only place I actually DO show my receipt upon request is Costco. Because it's a private club, they could presumably revoke my membership if I decided not to abide by their rules. No such issue involved at Fry's, however - and I think the one time anyone ever said anything to me there, I told them, "If you have reasonable cause to suspect me of shoplifting, then detain me until the police arrive. If not, I'm leaving." They promptly shut up and backed off, and I was on my way.

    I admire folks like John Gilmore who are willing to inconvenience themselves in the name of confronting mindless obedience and the "herd mentality" like this. The closest I usually come to such civil disobedience is subjecting myself to being hand-searched and wanded at the airport, by refusing to "voluntarily" take off my shoes at the security checkpoint.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by curunir (98273) * on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:48AM (#11800332) Homepage Journal
    I think the idea behind keeping the law secret is that it would prevent a terrorist organization from analyzing it to figure out a weakness and exploit it. It's analogous to source code in that a law is essentially a script followed by civic employees. There's a reason why the word 'code' is used in both cases.

    I don't agree with it, and judging by the general /. estimation of 'security through obscurity', I doubt many people here do either. But I think that's the theory behind the administration's stance on this.
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeithIrwin (243301) on Monday February 28, 2005 @01:59AM (#11800385)
    Actually, it's an FAA regulation. It is, however, a secret FAA regulation. And this is the crux of the matter. There should not be secret laws in a democracy. And that is a far more important matter than whether or not you have to produce ID to board a plane (which itself is important).

    Keith
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by logicnazi (169418) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {izancigol}> on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:27AM (#11800519) Homepage
    And so is your point since overstaying a visa is hardly compelling evidence for terrorist activity.

    It is silly to think these rules happen in a vacuum. The terrorists are quite well aware of them and if they had a rule which stopped people who had overstayed their visas the terrorists would have known this and only used agents who hadn't overstayed their visa.

    The point is there is yet to be a compelling argument that these ID restrictions really give us much security. The burden of proof should be on those who want to impose such measures not on us to show that such measures aren't useful.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Svartalf (2997) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:29AM (#11800533) Homepage
    "I think the idea behind keeping the law secret is that it would prevent a terrorist organization from analyzing it to figure out a weakness and exploit it. It's analogous to source code in that a law is essentially a script followed by civic employees. There's a reason why the word 'code' is used in both cases.


    I'm inclined to agree with you on the reason- the problem is that it requires the rule/law to actually DO something productive towards prevention of a problem even before you can consider security through obscurity. Not to mention the fact that just because it's obscured to the public, doesn't mean that the people that ARE obscured couldn't be subborned to reveal the law and any apparent weaknesses. In the case of the "must show ID" regulation (it's NOT a law, mind...) the possession of an ID that maps to the alleged identity for the tickets and boarding passes does NOT mean in any way, shape, or form that the ID is even valid. Bam, there goes the reason for the regulation right there- it doesn't do anything useful against even the least determined attacker. It'd not have prevented or deterred 9/11. It won't prevent or deter another similar attack. So, why in the hell have it in the first place?
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by logicnazi (169418) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {izancigol}> on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:32AM (#11800539) Homepage
    A standard retail store is private in most senses and they are allowed to impose pretty arbitrary rules on those who would shop in their store. For instance they can impose dress codes (no shoes, no shirt, no service) and they could even impose content based restrictions on shoppers speech (you can't enter this store with a coed naked t-shirt).

    Of course their only recourse is to throw you out of their store. Once you have bought your item and on your way out they don't have any right to search you. Since you don't have a membership this doesn't really cost you anything if you are tossed out (they can't easily stop you from coming back)
  • by Kiryat Malachi (177258) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:35AM (#11800554) Journal
    Buying cigarettes and whiskey both require ID.

    Walking into a live concert venue may or may not require ID, depending on if its all-ages or restricted.

    There are lots of reasons to have ID.
  • by be-fan (61476) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:36AM (#11800556)
    Two, you could look at it as an inevitable mistake inherent in a government run by humans, and have faith that the system will eventually correct itself.

    The "tinfoil hat" people are the mechanism through which the system corrects itself. The only reason our system can correct itself is because the people are left free to fight against injustices. The federal government will never willingly right a wrong without someone bringing them to task for it. It is precisely through this mechanism that this happens.
  • by alexo (9335) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:49AM (#11800616) Journal

    > If persons with authority start telling people what to do on the grounds
    > that the law says they can, and then it turns out that they don't know what
    > they are talking about, indeed for all appearances might just be making it
    > up, then there are no limits to what citizens can and will be forced to do.
    > If that's not a grave threat to civil rights, I don't know what is. It no
    > longer matters what the law does and does not allow, the law doesn't make any
    > difference any more if anyone with a badge can claim, "It's the law" and then
    > without any further explanation demand anything they want.


    The problem is that people in the position of authority have power, and power corrupts.

    If there was a law stating that every complaint of abuse of authority will be thoroughly investigated by an independent body and, if found to be justified, the culprits shall be sodomized with jackhammers, then I will have no problem with showing IDs or trusting the authorities, because I will know that people with power would not even dream of abusing it.

    However, as things stand now, policemen (and other people in a position of authority) can get away with crimes that a normal person would rot in jail for. Often they get "reprimanded" or are subject to "administrative measures" or, at worst, greatly reduced sentences because, after all, they are policemen...

    WTF?

    If you are given means to limit the rights and freedoms of other people (and often take their lives), you should be bloody made accountable! Any crime that also involved abuse of authority (whether as a parent, police officer, elected official, etc.) should be treated as crime against society and automatically warrant twice the maximum penalty set by law. Penalties for corruption should hurt so much as to make it not worth the risk.

    Secret laws, laws that criminalize a large portion of the population, selective enforcement, etc. invariably lead to corruption and must be eliminated.
  • by lgw (121541) on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:49AM (#11800618) Journal
    The nice thing about a democracy is the ability to have that revolution without bloodshed. Sure, sometimes it may feel as if the voter doesn't really have a choice (after all, Kerry wrote a significant portion of the USA-PATRIOT act), but that's really ignorance of the process. Real presidential politics happens in the primaries.

    The simple fact is, nothing that the government has done so far has been appalling to the majority of Americans. Had that happened, the Dem primary would have gone to the most effective protest candidate instead of the most mainstream canditate, as people wouldn't have been second-guessing their choice based on electability.

    If the revolution really is inevitable, both parties will figure that about long before I do, and change who they put forward appropriately. Nothing beats a politician for knowing which way the wind is blowing. I think your desire to see a revolution will be forever frustrated, by the very political greed you worry about.

    That's the cool thing about Democracy - we may not always elect the best candidate, but no one dares cross that line where no amount of advertising will fool people any more. Gilmore's quest to bring attention to secret law is a very helpful part of that.

  • I call BS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jwigum (813234) on Monday February 28, 2005 @03:05AM (#11800670)
    Privacy is for people who want to mind their own business, and for other people to do the same.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Monday February 28, 2005 @03:21AM (#11800721) Homepage
    If you give a minute's thought, the "we-can-kick-you-out" rule will render a protestor unable to show at the local Sam's Club -- which now may be the only store in most rural/small towns of the United States. You can protest, and then shop at the 7-11 or gas station for the rest of your life. Until they decide you need to register for a card to shop in their stores. Face FORWARD: turn to the LEFT: place your fingertips in the ink pad, please....

    Point hammered: if we let businesses require anything they like to shop at their stores, we are under a tyranny. Businesses are not feudal keeps, subject only to the King. They are corporations which hold a license to exist granted by US through our representatives. A. License. To. Exist. Not a right. They have no rights. If they want to operate stores, they can follow OUR rules. This is the basic failure of American imagination in the 21st century. We don't think we are in charge of anything personally, or think we have civil rights or even a basic right to privacy. BUT we think businesses can do anything they like. Corporations are not only legal citizens with civil rights -- they are the ONLY CITIZENS WITH ANY RIGHTS.

    This insane belief has to be rooted out of the national mind and exposed to sunlight.
  • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday February 28, 2005 @03:25AM (#11800735)
    They want a paper trail for YOU...not them... get it!
  • Re:sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symbolic (11752) on Monday February 28, 2005 @03:28AM (#11800744)

    This only works until everyone realizes what's really going on. I remember being hassled for an ID at Best Buy to make a $30 purchase with my debit card. I told her I didn't have my ID with me because I had left it in another jacket. The cashier then informed me that I couldn't make the purchase without it. So, I took my debit card out of her hand, said "that's fine." and left. The really, really stupid thing about this whole mess is that it's NOT hard to get a fake ID, and I'd be willing to bet that they wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway. It's all a psychological game.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Monday February 28, 2005 @03:30AM (#11800751) Journal
    Airlines are private companies...can't they require whatever the hell they want?

    They certainly could, if they told you the terms of the contract up-front.

    What they're doing here, would be like EULAs that say they are binding before you've had the opportunity to read them.

    No, a company can't do whatever the hell it wants.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by plastic.person (776892) on Monday February 28, 2005 @03:39AM (#11800776)
    Here's a little hint: Anonymous Coward is just the default name given anonymous posters, not a real adjective given to cowards. You can't assume a person is a coward for wanting to be anonymous. Maybe he just didn't want to show you his Slashdot ID?
  • They slipped it in by the back door. They mandated that all state drivers license data bases be linked together (essentially a distributed database). If they all contain the same basic information (and possibly optional data), and are readable by the same hardware, then we have a national network of cards that are functionaly identical -- the only real difference being the artwork on your national ID card.

    George Bush is dead! Long live George Bush!

  • by jgardn (539054) <jgardn@alumni.washington.edu> on Monday February 28, 2005 @04:12AM (#11800857) Homepage Journal
    See, a long time ago we had this all figured out. Government OF the people (meaning, the people formed it.) Government BY the people (meaning, the people executed it.) Government FOR the people (meaning, its sole purpose was to serve the people.)

    100 years ago, if a hijacker tried to steal something like a plane (well, let's imagine a train instead) they had to do so with enough men and guns and ammo to fight off the people on the train. If they screwed up, they would be shot by the passengers on the train, or even the engineer himself. That's government BY the people.

    When gangs formed up that were strong enough to bully people around, the people responded by making an even bigger gang (called a posse) to hunt them down and kill them. If things got out of hand, the military was called in to serve the people and kick the crap out of the perpetrators.

    Today. things are a lot different. If I saw a bank robbery in progress, and subdued the robber with my handguns (which I'd be proudly carrying around my hips, 2nd amendment folks), I'd be thrown in jail. If the robber tried to shoot me and I shot back and laid him flat on his back six-feet under, then I would be facing life in prison.

    If the hijackers took a plan and I whipped out my 45 and gave them all a new hole, I'd be charged with endangering the life of the crew, murder, or worse.

    That's why life sucks around here. Restore our basic freedoms, and we won't need security checks at the airports. We won't need no Homeland Security department (we got all the security right here, in the barrel of my guns.) Heck, we wouldn't even need a national military. If Bush wants to invade a country, he'd have to convince a whole lotta us to follow him into battle. Otherwise, he'd be going it alone.

    We'd have a lot fewer trial lawyers as well. We wouldn't need as many prisons either. And we wouldn't have a problem with wayward politicians, because we'd be the FBI investigating them.

    Folks, that's government BY the people. If Mao said that government comes by the barrell of a gun, then we have a whole lot more barrels than the military does. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then we can fight with far more pens than any government can hope to muster.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric&brouhaha,com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @04:37AM (#11800930) Homepage Journal
    To verify that the person coming on-board is who they claim to be.
    Checking the ID won't verify that. But even if it did, how would that provide a measurable improvement in security?
    He certainly does not, however, have an inherent right to fly.
    Since when? Do you really believe that rights are something granted to you by the U.S. government, at its pleasure? I would remind you of the Ninth Amendment:
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    Rights reside with the people, and the government has limited powers to restrict those rights. There is *NOTHING* in the Constitution that would grant the U.S. Government the power to restrict the rights of U.S. citizens to travel between states without showing identity.
  • by spankey51 (804888) on Monday February 28, 2005 @04:46AM (#11800947)
    You know... I'm really starting to get a good idea of just how successful terrorism is.
    All this post 9/11 paranoia is devastating our nation.
  • Re:Because. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xofer D (29055) on Monday February 28, 2005 @05:13AM (#11801006) Homepage Journal
    ...Only then will people wake up...
    You know, I used to make the same argument. My friend Pete shut me up very quickly by pointing out to me that in order for it to get bad enough for the middle and upper classes to hurt, it has to get very, very bad for the lower class. Add this to the fact that some rich people got even more rich during the great depression, and suddenly it sounds like a very bloody path that you are suggesting, for uncertain gains.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by badfish99 (826052) on Monday February 28, 2005 @05:28AM (#11801043)
    But so what if he's not who he claims to be?

    He's been searched by security, so he's not carrying a bomb. And there are no age restrictions on flying, as there are with alcohol purchase. How does knowing his mother's favourite choice of names for babies help security any further?

  • Re:So (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zaphod_Beebleburp (839364) on Monday February 28, 2005 @05:46AM (#11801090)
    Actually, nowhere on the FAA website does it state that it is a regulation. On the other hand http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/flyrig hts.htm [dot.gov]
    * Bring a photo I.D. when you fly, and have your airline ticket issued using your name as it appears on that I.D. Many airlines are requesting such identification at check-in in order to reduce the re- selling of discount tickets. (Airlines don't permit tickets to be sold or given to other persons.) On international flights, make sure your name is the same on your ticket and your passport. If your name has recently changed and the name on your ticket and your I.D. are different, bring docu- mentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order).
    I can understand some of the gripes that people have stated here, but most are just rediculous. Boarding an airline is a service provided to you by a company. There is no inherent "right" to be able to fly. You are allowed to board as long as you provide what the airline requests, whether it be an ID or an inflatable banana.
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nipok Nek (87328) on Monday February 28, 2005 @06:09AM (#11801135)
    Boarding an airline is a service provided to you by a company. There is no inherent "right" to be able to fly. You are allowed to board as long as you provide what the airline requests, whether it be an ID or an inflatable banana.

    If that were actually the case, I doubt anyone would have a problem with it. But the reason the airlines have these policies is to (supposedly) comply with Federal Law. I say suposedly because we can't see the law. And the Government requiring it's citizens to show ID before traveling is what people are upset about.

    Nipok Nek

  • Re:So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikelieman (35628) on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:08AM (#11801255) Homepage
    The gate agent should've just told him it was an airline policy (which it probably is). Nothing wrong with that.


    Though I should tell you, I really don't give a fuck if the guy trying to hijack the plane I'm flying on has an ID or not.


    Free Men do not follow POLICIES. They follow their own good judgement.
    ompany in question doesn't want a LICENSE from The State to conduct COMMERCE, then they may expect to ignore the RIGHTS OF FREE MEN.

  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by boodaman (791877) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:05AM (#11801383)
    Gilmore's point is simple: the Constitution of the United States allows us to travel ID-free. Anything else requires an amendment to the Constitution, properly ratified.

    That's all. My point was simply that it should be up to the USER what personal information someone has...it should be a matter of choice. What happens instead is that corporations and the government just demand things and we give it up without asking why and how. Personal control.

    A citizen should be allowed to do anything legal without being tracked, at THEIR option, not a corporation's or government's option.

    Get it? Probably not.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EvilJoker (192907) on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:35AM (#11801473)
    Part of the concern is threshold- how far is "too far"? I'd rather stop things before they get to that point.

    The U.S. is currently on the path towards Soviet-style asking for papers everywhere. Airlines are only the first part, and I can easily see it extending further. Best to stop it here.
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2005 @08:47AM (#11801527)

    Boarding an airline is a service provided to you by a company. There is no inherent "right" to be able to fly.


    Then maybe we should also be talking about how the airlines have no right to taxpayer subsidies. The airline industry willingly solicits and accepts "bail out" money and has a major portion of their security provided by the feds. You want to play free market purist, fine. Let's do it. Stop stealing my hard-earned money and handing it to the airlines. Then we can talk about whether they've got a "right" to deny me service. OK?
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2005 @09:04AM (#11801580)
    Are you this vehement in protesting the subsidy of the airline industry by the government? I hope so. Until they stop taking millions in taxpayer dollars to prop up their failing businesses, I consider myself a paying customer whether I fly or not. As such they have no right to refuse me service.
  • by guet (525509) on Monday February 28, 2005 @09:10AM (#11801609)
    That's all. My point was simply that it should be up to the USER what personal information someone has...it should be a matter of choice. What happens instead is that corporations and the government just demand things and we give it up without asking why and how. Personal control.

    I'm afraid you gave up personal control when you consented (or not, see Thoreau : ) to live under a government. The argument of course is how much control you have, and yes to an extent it would be nice to control how much information the corporations/govt hold on you. However I think presenting ID at an airport is really the least of your worries if your government decides they want to track you. There are many easier ways.

    A citizen should be allowed to do anything legal without being tracked, at THEIR option, not a corporation's or government's option.

    While this sounds nice, in practice it's impossible. You can't drive without a licence and a licence plate (for tracking purposes). You can't be paid (legally) without a SS number for tracking reasons. Etc etc etc. Would you like to make those controls optional? The government is there to control you and protect others from you (and vice versa), and while I agree with you that an ID at an airport will do nothing for security, this issue is *insignificant* when compared to other erosions of freedom going on in the name of 'the war on terror'. It just happens to inconvenience Gilmore more than the others right now.

    Personal control of your information does nothing for you if the government decides to lock you up without trial, indefinitely. They can do that right now in your country (and in the UK to a lesser extent), does that worry you?

    There are far more important freedoms being eroded right now in the US than the obligation to present an ID when travelling internally. The climate of eternal war encouraged by this administration is far more worrying to me.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by staeiou (839695) <(staeiou) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday February 28, 2005 @09:40AM (#11801756) Homepage
    They are corporations which hold a license to exist granted by US through our representatives. A. License. To. Exist. Not a right. They have no rights....Corporations are not only legal citizens with civil rights -- they are the ONLY CITIZENS WITH ANY RIGHTS.

    In the legal system, Corporations have the same status as human beings. This means that you can sue them.
  • Re:Why, indeed! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 28, 2005 @10:27AM (#11802052)
    You have to have rules, but you also need to have them available for inspection.

    Without due process, the 'Security Guys' are just a bunch of thugs. The executive branch ( cops / the president etc ) must be forced to follow due process, or there are no checks and balances on it's power. What meaning does the constitution, or the laws that congress passes have if the 'people with guns' can just push people around with no justification other than 'I said so'?

    Sure, you can travel from point A to point B, according to the law, but if guys-with-guns stop you at a roadblock and tell you to go back home because they think your feet are too big ( maybe there was a report of a big-foot in the area and they are discriminating against anyone with a size 12 shoe size or above in the interests of 'Public safety' ), then you can't in reality get anywhere. Your right to travel is in effect null and void.

    This can be extended to one's right to freely assemble and peacefully demonstrate, or to post dissenting opinions on the web. Sure, you have the 'right' to be a dissenter, but if it means being tailed/hassled by the cops all the time, or having your aquaintances ( like your employer ) hassled. Then the consequences for excersizing your rights could be made so high that the rights disappear for all practical purposes.

    If you are afraid of the SS, and you complain about their behavior to a Judge, and that Judge is afraid of the SS then you aren't likely to get much relief.

    The executive branch grabs power by creating realities 'on the ground'. It's easier to apologize than to get permission - and once you create enough 'realities' you don't even need to do that.

  • by mekkab (133181) on Monday February 28, 2005 @10:40AM (#11802169) Homepage Journal
    Is the whole point of this is to randomly harass not-nice people, or protect people?

    Neither. If you think, even for a moment, that the "regulations" in place come close to protecting people, then I have I bridge to sell you.

    Its my firm belief that the TSA is the product of a knee-jerk reaction to 9-11. Utilizing politician speak (say something enough times and it becomes true) and wide-scale cognitive dissonance, every one is lulled into a false sense of security; nudge nudge, wink wink.
  • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Monday February 28, 2005 @10:42AM (#11802180)
    Two ways to end the war: (1) Kill all terrorists. (2) Convert to Islam. Unfortunately, diplomacy is not a part of either

    Of course, they see it as:

    Two ways to end the war: (1) Kill all imperialist agressors. (2) Convert to Christianity. Unfortunately, diplomacy is not a part of either

    But you are in the right of course. After all, you are American, and any bad things in your history don't get taught, and so by extending that it is IMPOSSIBLE for the USA to do any wrong. Yes Sirrie! Don't forget, we are talking about a document that states "all men are created equal", written by a bunch of guys who had SLAVES. So, in America, all white men are created equal. Then along came the religious fundamentalists, and now it's all Christian White Men are created equal.

    Tho I do agree with you on the armed milita bit in some cases. 9-11 would not have happened if everyone on the plane had an airline-issue baseball bat.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday February 28, 2005 @11:19AM (#11802505)
    Maladjusted retards carry weapons in the street all over the world, every day. They're called cops (some of them) and criminals. When cops are the only ones with weapons, you have the beginnings of a police state. When criminals are the only ones with weapons (what are you going to do, pass a law that criminals can't have weapons?), you have an environment where criminals can act without fear of retribution.
  • by The Angry Mick (632931) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:18PM (#11803108) Homepage

    This reminds me. Ever try to write a check at Fry's?

    We just had a new store open here in the metreo Atlanta area a few months back. During one particular visit, I had enough items to justify writing a check so I wouldn't completely obliterate the contents of my wallet. When I presented the check, the Fry's clerk said that it would take about 10 minutes to get through all their "check approval" policies, which I was told was a one time deal. I'm thinking they're going to call the bank, verify my ID, credit history and that I had enough cash to cover the purchase.

    What they did, however, was take my driver's license back to a photocopier, and Xerox it and the copy of the check. Right off the bat, I'm upset, because with copies of just these two items alone, you could start a very healthy career as an identity thief (Georgia is still one of the states that uses your SSN as your driver's license number unless you specifically ask them not to). When I mention this to the clerk and a bystanding supervisor, they said it's standard practice at Fry's to keep this info on file (I'm imagining a large, unlocked filing cabinet in a minimum wage employee's office), and without it, I wouldn't be able to write checks at Fry's - ever. I took back my check, my ID, demanded the photocopies and left the store.

    My questions are, does Fry's do this at every store? And is this something I can expect to see from other merchants in the future?

  • Re:So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by feloneous cat (564318) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:25PM (#11803180)
    Didn't Bush just get through telling the Vladimir that we live in a "transparent" country?
  • by Morobishi (863488) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:27PM (#11803213)
    If a law cannot be examined, interpreted, or challenged then it is not a law. That only applies to laws that affect you personally (or have the ability to).

    Also, how can people be expected to obey a law that they cannot examine? The old adage, "ignorance of the law is not a defense" comes to mind. In this case, I would have to assume that it is.

    Most folks I spoke with thought the issue was not wanting to show identification, but that is not the case. I think it's about being subject to a "secret law" and seeing Red Amerika looming in the distance.
  • Re:Um. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:43PM (#11803391) Homepage
    Can't the airline just say "No ID, no Fly. That's our policy and if you don't like it, don't fly with us."?

    Can McDonald's chose to only serve white people? Can they say, "no white skin, no Big Mac?" Certain types of discrimination and restrictions are unconstitutional. That's the root of the issue here.
  • by follower_of_christ (626504) <phatcoder@yahoo.com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @02:09PM (#11804360)
    "We now live in a police state, with secret searches, secret evidence, secret arrests, secret detentions without charges, secret touture, secret laws and even secret legal arguments." My position stands unopposed by you with a single fact.

    Nice trick, you want someone else to prove that something doesn't exist. It is near impossible. The burden of proving something does exist lies on you. The only suspect party that the article even mentions is SouthWest Airlines who isn't producing the copy of the law. Is it their responsibility to provide copies or obey the law? If lawsuits weren't such a problem, Hotels, Car Rental agencies and the rest wouldn't be forced to require identification. The problem lies in the moral decline of the people, not the policies of government. The article isn't clear whether Mr. Gilmore has sought an attorney to provide him with the law itself. I don't get the impression that Mr. Gilmore is working hard at it. If I were the airline I'd probably blow this political activist off as well. Its not their responsibility to provide him the law; rather, they are responsible for obeying it.

    The last statement you make, We do live in 1984.
    Here's your chance, present your evidence. You make a bunch of claims here with nothing to back them up. Your only proof that a secret law exists is that an airline can't produce a copy of the law, which only proves that the airline can't produce a copy of the law. It is not evidence that indicates any wrongdoing or secrecy from the government. The article makes no mention that any attempt has been made to any other agency to produce the law. It's as if Mr. Gilmore is arguing that someone is negligent when the only indication of negligence I see is his own. How irresponsible of him.

    The facts also include the fact that the President of the United States believes that the constitution is null and void for anyone he personally deems to be an "Enemy Combatant," US Citizen or no.
    Again, which facts? And for goodness sake, are you saying you want our constitution to protect a non-citizen? If so, who supports a police state here? What a ridiculous claim to make that the President doesn't support the constitution....

    You are arguing with a world of people and asking for their trust, yet you don't present any evidence that supports your point. I ask that you be intellectually honest with the Slashdot readership.

  • Re:So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smyle (108107) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [elyK.nostuH]> on Monday February 28, 2005 @07:02PM (#11807703)
    Serious question here:

    My understanding was that the calls were made from the $5/minute (or whatever they are now) phones built into the plane, rather than private cell phones. Where's the claim they were made from private cell phones?

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

Working...