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Government Transportation United States

Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers 624

Posted by Soulskill
from the kids-break-the-darnedest-things dept.
caseih writes "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."
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Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers

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  • by OhHellWithIt (756826) * on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:04PM (#39115151) Journal
    TFA states that it was an airline official who refused to allow the passenger to board, not an agent of the government. It's still galling, but let's express our discontent where it belongs.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:15PM (#39115287) Journal

    The guy who was talking all the smack, who said: "To have a passport is privilege, it's not entitled to you by citizenship," Priest said. He said the issue may be with a microchip embedded in the back of all new passports. "They have no reason in the world to let you travel if it's been damaged," Priest said. "It's like cutting your photo out or something if that chip doesn't work." is the same guy who is rated A- by the BBB for several complains. His contact info at BBB is at http://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/passport-and-visa-services/international-passport-visas-in-denver-co-8845 [bbb.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:17PM (#39115311)

    The travel guy they interview has one thing right and one thing wrong...

    Not all passports have RFID chips in them. That didn't start until 2006. Mine has no such chip in it. No problems at all with it. Even without the RFID chip, the passport is machine readable (that's the barcode on the picture page). It won't be until 2016 that all US passports--that is, when the old ones all expire, finally--will be biometric/RFID. So I don't see why they should refuse someone who's RFID chip doesn't work, given that other people will be allowed on without one too.

    But he is right that the passport is property of the US government. It says that in the document somewhere.

    A colleague of mine had major problems with Delta and his visa. He was going to China, and had a return flight 60 days after he left. His visa was only good to stay 30 days. They refused to let him on the plane. Of course, he had planned to go to Hong Kong after 28 days, stay for 3, and then return to mainland China (possible with his multiple entry visa), all of which is fully legal. Delta didn't care and made him change his flight (and pay to do so). He then had to pay a second time to change it back once he got to China. His CC refunded the fees, but it was still unnecessary hassle.

    The major issue: airlines are NOT immigrations officials! They do have some responsibility, of course. They don't want people getting on planes without passports, only to have them sent back home immediately. Still, on judgment calls like validity of visa and travel plans, they should not have final say in the matter. That's not their job. They don't always get it right.

    The family may have made a mistake not immediately calling for a customs agent to get involved. The airline could easily take them downstairs, where there's dozens of immigrations officers, any of whom could make the judgment. There's also probably a supervisor there who gets final say. Why were those people not called in to decide the validity of the passport?

  • by j35ter (895427) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:25PM (#39115451)
    No. The RFID is optional. A passport is still a physical ID, and as such respected worlwide ... uh ... except in the us, of course.
  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:25PM (#39115453)

    Can be used with a scanner that has a range of only a few inches. If any part of the chip is damaged, the data is irretrievable. Costs more than paper. Can be destroyed in everyday use, including sitting on it, folding it, getting it wet, etc.

    Contains electric circuits that can fail, rendering the RFID useless, even with no abuse.

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:27PM (#39115483)

    "To have a passport is privilege, it's not entitled to you by citizenship," Priest said

    The law disagrees completely - http://law.justia.com/cfr/title22/22- [justia.com]. Note there are grounds for denying a passport, but there are also grounds for puttting you in prison - that doesn't mean not being in prison is a priviledge.

    Or if you prefer statements made to the public of how the government interpretes the law:

    Every United States citizen is entitled to a U.S. passport provided that they, or an adult acting on a child's behalf, comply with all applicable requirements, and that there is no statutory or regulatory reason to deny the passport.

            - http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppi/family/family_864.html [state.gov]

    Heck it uses the word "entitled"!

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:29PM (#39115509)
    Yes, it matter a great deal, especially when people still make the poor argument that "teh marketz R wize" and "gubmint iz bad". This was a case of a company (American Airlines, with a history of mistreating customers and PR issues - like most airlines out there) once again trampling on its customers. Its important to assign blame where it belongs.
  • by marcop (205587) <marcop&slashdot,org> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:29PM (#39115517) Homepage

    Their real problem is that they chose American Airlines. I travel frequently and AA's customer service is the worst. I avoid them as much as possible.

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:32PM (#39115569)

    That might be your ideal, but reality is the exact opposite.

    You can't be denied a passport in order to return the the US. You can be denied a passport in order to leave.

    It's a specific exemption on the criteria to deny a passport (22 C.F.R. S 51.70):

    A passport, except for direct return to the United States, shall not be issued in any case in which the Secretary of State determines or is informed by competent authority that:
    [list of criteria to deny a passport]

  • by Vaerchi (637985) <enuckols@colBOHR ... minus physicist> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:35PM (#39115623) Homepage
    quoted from http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_2788.html#One [state.gov]

    What will happen if my Electronic Passport fails at a port-of-entry?

    The chip in the passport is just one of the many security features of the new passport. If the chip fails, the passport remains a valid travel document until its expiration date. You will continue to be processed by the port-of-entry officer as if you had a passport without a chip.
  • by dbialac (320955) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:39PM (#39115721)

    Moreover, your passport explicitly states in plain writing that the chip doesn't have to be functioning for it to be a valid document.

  • Re:who would want (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ana10g (966013) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:40PM (#39115729)

    Clearly you have no idea what you are talking about.

    1st world: United States and allies during the cold war.
    2nd world: Soviet Union, China, and allies during the cold war.
    3rd world: Any nation not listed in the above two categories.

    Look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_world [wikipedia.org]

  • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:45PM (#39115803) Homepage

    No, but they would argue that if the slightest bit of effort could read it anyway, it should have been done.

    A damaged passport is not NECESSARILY unusable any more than a car with a ding in the door should be sent to the crusher.

  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:49PM (#39115873)

    Yet, in our freedom loving country- the government has told us we can't go to Cuba.

  • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:56PM (#39116011)
    Apparently people (including the submitter) are not RTFA very well. FTA

    Little Kye’s passport has a crease on the back cover, which Gosnell says came from him accidentally sitting on the passport. His passport was questioned, but not denied. It was Kyle Gosnell’s that was the real problem. It has a small crease on the back cover, and is overall weathered and worn.

    The child's passport was NOT denied, it was Kyle (presumably the father) who had the "overall weathered and worn" passport that was denied. It's hard to believe that his passport was so weathered and worn that it couldn't be read so this is probably still an issue of an airline employee with a stick up his ass but TFS is completely wrong and trolling everyone who comments on here enraged. TFA doesn't even say that the RFID chip had ANYTHING to do with his being denied. Parent is absolutely right that the person who is quoted has NOTHING to do with this situation. The local Fox team reporting on this probably Googled someone in the Denver area (not the Dallas area where this whole f'ing thing actually happened) and asked this nutjob for a quote for their story.
    PLEASE RTFA before commenting. Slashdot editors, PLEASE edit these retarded submissions before they get our collective panties in a wad.

  • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @03:56PM (#39116015) Homepage

    You only need the Visa if you plan on working there. The passport's enough for a visit.

    That depends on the country. Many countries grant Americans an implicit visa to travel there for tourism for a specific period of time, but many others do not. India and Vietnam are two examples that immediately come to mind. Some countries will grant you a visa in the airport after you fill out some paperwork, while others require you to apply from outside the country in advance (and waiting periods vary).

    You should travel more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:00PM (#39116057)

    ...if you're going for a car analogy.

    http://travel.state.gov/passport/faq/faq_1741.html [state.gov]

    Q:My passport has been damaged. Can I continue to use this passport?
            a:If your passport has been significantly damaged, especially the book cover or the page displaying your personal data and photo, you will need to apply for a new passport. You will need to submit the following in person (See Where to Apply):

                    The damaged passport
                    Form DS-11
                    All documents required by Form DS-11, including citizenship documentation (i.e. birth certificate)

            Water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing visa pages (torn out), a hole punch and other injuries may constitute "damage" requiring use of Form DS-11.

            Normal wear of a U.S. passport is understandable and likely does not constitute "damage". For instance, the expected bend of a passport after being carried in your back pocket or fanning of the visa pages after extensive opening and closing. In most cases of normal wear, you may renew your passport by mail using Form DS-82.

            Please remember, if you try to renew a significantly damaged passport using Form DS-82, you may be asked by the Passport Agency to apply again using Form DS-11 and incur additional fees./

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:02PM (#39116099)

    Voting independent is worse than perpetuating the system. It's perpetuating the system while allowing the greater of two evils to win.

    You can't have third parties with first past the post voting. It doesn't work. It isn't politics, it's math. Two similar candidates that together have 51%+ of the vote when one alone doesn't will always do better to combine forces, and they always will, unless one of them is being irrational (like Ralph Nader), in which case that candidate becomes a pariah for handing the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" is not a slogan, it's a mathematical fact.

    If you want to change the system, vote in the primaries (and I mean for Congress, not just for President), before all the candidates worth voting for get eliminated.

  • by Leebert (1694) * on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:05PM (#39116139)

    As I said, there will be plenty of candidates out there besides the nominees of the two major parties.

    To help you get started, the venerable Wikipedia has a list of some of them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_third_party_and_independent_presidential_candidates,_2012 [wikipedia.org]

    Some of them are screwballs, some of them look fairly compelling, particularly for single-issue voters. None of them have a good chance of winning, but that's OK, your vote is so infinitesimally likely to make a difference in the race between the two parties anyway. Vote your conscience, that's the only way to be hold your head high and mutter "I told you so" in 2014. :)

  • WTF? RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by blueforce (192332) <clannagaelNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:06PM (#39116159) Homepage Journal

    I R'd TFA.

    Apply little reading comprehension: It was Kyle, the FATHER, whose passport was denied. NOT the kid's.


    "... they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family."


    "Little Kye’s passport has a crease on the back cover, which Gosnell says came from him accidentally sitting on the passport. His passport was questioned, but not denied. It was Kyle Gosnell’s that was the real problem. It has a small crease on the back cover, and is overall weathered and worn."

    If we're going to infer things then let's infer that the dad's passport was old-school and didn't even have an RFID tag in it since it was described as "[having a] small crease on the back cover, and is overall weathered and worn.

    WTFF, Slashdot?

  • Re:who would want (Score:4, Informative)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:15PM (#39116303)

    Clearly, you have no idea that the world and its use of language has changed since the Cold War.

    Hyperbole is fun, isn't it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:17PM (#39116333)

    Go look on Santorum's website, on his "issues" page. The very first result is censorship of "obscene content" on the internet.

  • by marcop (205587) <marcop&slashdot,org> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:34PM (#39116573) Homepage

    The US can ban you from traveling abroad for many reasons.

    [wikipedia.org]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_movement_under_United_States_law [wikipedia.org]

  • by xeno (2667) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:39PM (#39116639)

    From http://law.justia.com/cfr/title22/22-

    Title 22 - Foreign Relations

      51.6 Damaged, mutilated or altered passport.
    Any passport which has been materially changed in physical appearance or composition, or contains a damaged, defective or otherwise nonfunctioning electronic chip, or which includes unauthorized changes, obliterations, entries or photographs, or has observable wear and tear that renders it unfit for further use as a travel document may be invalidated. [ Note that this says MAY, and more to the point does not say IS... so a revocation judgement has to be made by.... ]

      51.4 Validity of passports.
    (h) Invalidity. A United States passport is invalid whenever:
    (1) The passport has been formally revoked by the Department; or [ ... ONLY IF, in the judgement of the State Dept, the mutilation warrants revocation ]
    (2) The Department has registered a passport reported either in writing or by telephone to the Department of State, or in writing to a U.S. passport agency or to a diplomatic or consular post abroad as lost or stolen.
    (3) The Department has sent a written notice to the bearer at the bearer's last known address that the passport has been invalidated because the Department has not received the applicable fees.

    Improper visas or clearly wrong authorizations is one thing, but the intrinsic validity of a properly issued passport to its proper owner is clearly not a decision delegated to airline staff. That judgement is for immigrations or passport officials to make, not some Jetway jockeys who've mistaken themselves for State Department employees. Seems to me that a lawsuit for injunctive relief is perfectly appropriate -- specifically to prevent AA or other airline staff from making legal declarations about the invalidity of a passport. And it's not like this would be burdensome, either: If Jetway Jane sees that you don't posses a passport or a visa for a destination that requires one, you've violated the terms on your ticket, and will be denied boarding because it's a ticketing issue. But If Jetway Joe thinks your passport might be invalid, he should call the resident officials at the airport to make a determination -- not try to impersonate them.

  • Assuming the Cubans will let you in, you can go to Cuba as an American. US companies aren't allowed to provide you transport, but you certainly could route through Jamaica, Mexico City, or Montreal and get to Havana with little trouble.

    Coming back, expect extra questions at customs about the Cuban stamp in your passport, but otherwise the US government isn't going to prevent you from going there.

  • by DanTheStone (1212500) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:23PM (#39117121)

    Not excluding the US, according to the state department: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_2788.html#Fourteen [state.gov]

    What will happen if my Electronic Passport fails at a port-of-entry?

    The chip in the passport is just one of the many security features of the new passport. If the chip fails, the passport remains a valid travel document until its expiration date. You will continue to be processed by the port-of-entry officer as if you had a passport without a chip.

  • by Ed_Pinkley (881113) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:24PM (#39117135)
    I'm sure all the Ross Perot voters thought that in '92. If 85% of those people had voted Bush and 15% had voted Clinton, Bush would have won. (I know it is unlikely, please bear with me) Your vote will not put Obama in office or keep him out but the sum of all the people influenced by Ron Paul and his supporters? Who knows?
    Feel fee to check my math. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/data.php?year=1992&datatype=national&def=1&f=0&off=0&elect=0/ [uselectionatlas.org]
  • by airdweller (1816958) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:48PM (#39117387)

    "The Federal Government is requiring many Catholic organizations..."
    Catholic-affiliated. Not churches, but hospitals, etc. A person who works at a Catholic church has to be Catholic. A person who works for a Catholic-affiliated hospital - doesn't have to, and has the right for such a policy.

  • by zill (1690130) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:04PM (#39117563)
    He plans to eliminate the Department of Education. In the 200 years before the Department of Education was established, the fine public schools of our country produced millions of brilliant scientists, artists, and freethinkers. I think our public schools will do fine without the Department of Education, considering that every state already has its own Department of Education.
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:13PM (#39117655) Homepage Journal

    Last time I did that to an expiring credit card, the RFID chip literally smoked, resulting in very visible exterior damage. It might be possible to do this without scorching the chip, but I'm not sure I'd chance it. A careful blow with a hammer against something hard and flat would probably be a better way....

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:15PM (#39117677) Journal

    How did this get labeled Insightful? The Federal Government is requiring many Catholic organizations to provide contraception in the policies they provide their employees. Because these organizations pay at least partially for these policies, they are being required to pay for contraception. The slimy move to say it doesn't have to be in the policy, but has to be provided for free it just bull and every one knows it.

    The original set of rules were already in place in California, and the Catholic Church attempted to fight a legal battle over it. They got all the way to the Federal District Appeals, and were shot down. The Supreme Court denied them a writ to hear the case.

    The actual original conditions require Catholics who are not hiring predominantly other Catholics, who do not service predominantly other Catholics, and a few other reasonable conditions to cover birth control for their employees. This means, that if a Catholic organization, goes out and hires atheists, protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, and Wiccans, that they would have been forced (just like every other public employer) to provide birth control for those individuals.

    These Catholic organizations, which would have been required to provide birth control, do not feel that sharing their faith is necessary to be employed by them, so they should be treated just like any other employer. I don't care if your organization is "based on religious ideas", if you're practicing secular employment, then you cannot bring up your religious ideas to justify discrimination of those employees. You yourself have already chosen to eschew your religious employment grounds.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:53PM (#39118173)

    BTW, the Dems had both houses of Congress for most of Obama's first term. So I guess you can blame those damned dirty Dem Congress members too.

    I call bullshit. Democrats had 59 votes + 1 Lieberman (who is hardly Democrat). Every time Republicans chose to filibuster (which was nearly always), requiring 61 votes to push something through, the majority meant nothing.

  • Not true. (Score:5, Informative)

    by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @07:03PM (#39118297) Homepage

    The federal government requiring Catholics to pay for other people's contraception.

    This is not true. The federal government is requiring ALL employers to offer health insurance or pay a fine, and all health insurance offered must pay for contraception.

    The federal government is not, however, requiring anyone to be an employer.

  • by fredklein (532096) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @09:55PM (#39120063)

    United Declaration on Human Rights is silent on the issue of travel.


    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ [un.org]
    Article 13.

            (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
            (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

I cannot draw a cart, nor eat dried oats; If it be man's work I will do it.