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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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  • FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:12PM (#39115229)

    “This is done for national security, for whatever reason they can’t make an exception, period,”

    They flew from Denver to Dallas without a problem, then were stopped in Dallas. If they can't make an exception, why were they allowed to get on the first plane?

  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:14PM (#39115273) Homepage Journal

    Does it really make a difference which incompetent and/or indifferent bureaucrat screwed this family over?

    Will it stop happening? Will these people be made whole without spending thousands of dollars and perhaps dozens or hundreds of hours fighting it?

    Let's face it, the default state of the American citizen and consumer is "screwed", and you must start from there.

    And people keep voting, with their wallets and with their ballots, for more of the same.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:15PM (#39115283)

    TFA also states:

    Ray Priest, owner of International Passport Visas in Denver, said your passport isn’t actually yours at all; it belongs to the US government.

    “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.”

    These people wanted to leave the country. By no means should we ever prevent someone from exiting when they want to, passport or not. If you don't have a passport, just don't expect to return.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:15PM (#39115285)

    Paper

    Can survive being crushed, sat on, folded, spun, submerged in water, thrown up on, run over by a car, heated to several hundred degrees, frozen to near absolute zero, exposed to intense radiation, and the data stored on paper can be read with no special tools under a wide variety of environmental conditions, or using simple tools like a 'lens', can be read at distances of up to several hundred feet or more.

    RFID

    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.

    Which one would you pick for storing sensitive information which, if made inaccessible, has the potential to prevent you from ever seeing your loved ones, your home, or any of your possessions again?

  • by Revotron (1115029) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:19PM (#39115357)
    I know this will go unheeded because it's what people don't want to hear, but the US Government had nothing to do with this case.

    The child was denied clearance by an airline employee, not an actual customs agent. And the person who claims that a damaged passport is "disrespect" to the privilege of holding a passport is some whackjob I've never heard of who owns a small business that specializes in... wait for it... passports and visas! The online ratings for this guy's business classify him as a Grade A jackass, as well.

    This is an overblown, almost-manufactured attempt at criticizing the government for its national security policies. It's really much more akin to blaming the local beef farmer because my steak was overcooked.
  • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:20PM (#39115363)

    You don't need a passport for flying within the US. Technically, you don't even need a passport for leaving the US, but if you don't have one, it becomes very difficult to re-enter.

    The proper way to handle this would've been to inform them that they need to get the passport repaired or risk facing excessive scrutiny on their return. Some officials involved and quoted in the article need to be replaced.

  • by DanTheStone (1212500) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:20PM (#39115371)
    You need to read the MRZ (machine-readable section of the page with the photo) of the passport as the key to unlock the encryption of the chip. You can't get that with it closed (unless you already know the owner's name, birth date, passport number, etc.).
  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:20PM (#39115381) Homepage

    From TFS: 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.

    "The claim has been made", eh? Citation needed. Who made this claim? I RTFA and that line does not appear. I watched the video linked in TFA and that line was not spoken.

    If this is really a statement from someone in the US Government, then who said it, and when?

    My blood began to boil at the thought of someone in government saying such a thing. If this quote is true, this person is saying a passport is more precious than the flag of the USA, because there are at least some circumstances where it is legal to destroy a flag. But the whole passive voice thing and the total lack of attribution makes me wonder if this isn't just a made-up quote.

    If it's for real, give us a real cite. Let's get a tidal wave of negative publicity pointed at the person who said this.

    If it's not for real, let's not get all excited over nothing.

    P.S. TFA quoted some guy as saying that the government has "no reason in the world" to let you fly if the passport has a damaged chip. He likened it to a passport with the photo cut out. But I don't really know exactly who this guy is or why we should give his opinion any weight. I don't know what the actual government policy is on a passport that is clearly readable, with numbers and barcodes and such all intact but a damaged chip; it's hard to imagine that this is the actual official government policy. And if it is, I'd like a citation of that, please.

    steveha

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:21PM (#39115393)

    “To have a passport is privilege, it’s not entitled to you by citizenship,”

    Hey, that's what the communist government in the 80's was telling us all along when they didn't want people to visit the West.

  • What rubbish. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thesandtiger (819476) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:22PM (#39115403)

    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.

    Well, that's a stupid fucking claim. Saying that one should respect an easily (relatively) replaceable inanimate object or lose a fundamental right is just the most pants-on-head stupid thing I've ever heard.

    It's the kind of thing someone too stupid to understand abstract ideas views the world: "Oh, they want to burn the flag, that means they hate America" while being all the while unaware that prohibiting the exercise of free speech like flag burning is anathema to the founding principles of the US.

    It's also stupid on its face - what possible benefit is gained from RFID other than convenience for immigration officials, and in what universe does that minor convenience outweigh the rights of citizens to travel or not?

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:22PM (#39115405)

    Does it really make a difference which incompetent and/or indifferent bureaucrat screwed this family over?

    They think it does. It allows the various players involved to all abdicate responsibility by pointing fingers.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:23PM (#39115415) Homepage

    "Disrespect for the document"? It's a fucking document, not a person. I have no reason to respect a document. Especially one that I bought and paid for myself, with my own time and money.

    As long as it's legible and you can see my photo, that's all that should matter. These people must be the ones who were teacher's pets in high school civics class, right? WTF is the world coming to?

  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:24PM (#39115433) Journal

    It does make a difference. For all the complaining that the corporations and the government are the same, it's a lot easier to get corporate policy changed than government. If this brings enough attention, the airline may choose to clarify its policy or retrain the individual who refused to accept the passport.

    There are times when the letter of corporate policy should give way to good customer service.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:25PM (#39115457)

    And people keep voting, with their wallets and with their ballots, for more of the same.

    How am I supposed to vote?!?!? Let me be clear: I voted for Obama because Obama promised to roll back the damage done by Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales to rights such as habeas corpus. Obama failed to keep his promises, choosing instead to continue in lockstep with those evil bastards. Don't blame me - I voted the best that I knew how to try to correct egregious wrongs - blame the politicians.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:26PM (#39115459) Homepage Journal

    If the government had not have created this police state, then airlines wouldn't give a damn.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:30PM (#39115537)

    I believe that the right to leave a country is one of those rights that the UN has officially declared sacrosanct -- no matter who you are, or which country you're a citizen of (or if you're not a citizen of anywhere), you have the right to exit whatever country you're in (unless you've broken that country's laws). If you're a US citizen who wants to head to China, the US government can't stop you; only the Chinese government can.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:31PM (#39115539)

    And the worst part is, you and I need to vote for him next time, too, because Frothy isn't even pretending to want to restore our civil liberties, instead gleefully enumerating what new restrictions he wants to place on the American people in the name of a "better society" or whatever. (Seriously, the legality of contraception stopped being a topic of political debate in the late sixties. What the hell is going on?)

    Ahh, the sharp difference between "bad" and "worse". A two-party system has to be at least twice as good as one-party rule, right?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:34PM (#39115617) Journal
    There seems to be some sort of fetish for 'respect', most commonly(but not entirely exclusively) exhibited by those people who've never deserved a dose of it in their lives. I don't know exactly why this crops up; but it definitely does. It's bad enough when those people demand respect for themselves regardless of desert and sometimes by force; but when they give up on that and hitch their self worth to a god or a flag or something they become truly insufferable.
  • by wer32r (2556798) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:35PM (#39115631)
    This is exactly what I thought of as well. When owning a passport is becoming a privilege, you're on your way down a very slippery slope...
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:35PM (#39115647) Homepage

    ...except that didn't quite happen.

    Although "adding a computer" did cause this problem. It caused a simple bit of robust technology to suddenly become exceptionally prone to failure. It created a problem where one did not previously exist.

  • by Choad Namath (907723) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:37PM (#39115687)
    If the information on a pre-RFID passport is sufficient for international travel -- which it presumably is, since I and millions of others still travel with them -- then an RFID-equipped passport with a non-functioning RFID chip that hasn't been otherwise defaced also has enough information. You could make the case that he should be prevented from traveling if it was obviously intentionally damaged, but it's certainly not lacking any necessary photographic or other identifying information if it's just the RFID chip that's damaged.
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:38PM (#39115691) Homepage

    A damaged passport is unusable, period.

    Excellent example of using ", period" to mean "everything I just said only makes sense if you don't think about it at all so for the LOVE OF GOD please don't!"

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:39PM (#39115713)

    What retard would do that?

    You are supposed to print the child's name and then sign it yourself with either "(father)" or "(mother)" after the signature.

    Congrats to the retard though, they've just invalidated the passport. Though of course since the parent didn't bother reading the very clear instructions I guess that's fair enough.

  • by mevets (322601) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:40PM (#39115733)

    I think its a cultural thing. Some cultures get in more of a knot over the sanctity of the tokens than what they represent. Religious texts, flags, UK football colours, to name but a few.

  • Re:FTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by n5vb (587569) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:49PM (#39115869)

    “This is done for national security, for whatever reason they can’t make an exception, period,”

    They flew from Denver to Dallas without a problem, then were stopped in Dallas. If they can't make an exception, why were they allowed to get on the first plane?

    The first plane wasn't leaving the country.

    Which comes back to my ongoing objection to airline security implementation in general -- there's no guarantee you won't get stuck in an airport far away from home with no way to get to your destination or back home, because someone halfway to your destination decided to throw a fit over some minor technicality. And in situations where that does happen, there's also no guarantee you won't become a "suspected terrorist" if, in the heat of the moment, you object to any part of the process a little too loudly. It's little consolation that that's rare if you're the 1 in 10,000+ whose luck just ran out.

  • by alexo (9335) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:49PM (#39115885) Journal

    And people keep voting, with their wallets and with their ballots, for more of the same.

    How am I supposed to vote?!?!? Let me be clear: I voted for Obama because Obama promised to roll back the damage done by Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales to rights such as habeas corpus. Obama failed to keep his promises, choosing instead to continue in lockstep with those evil bastards. Don't blame me - I voted the best that I knew how to try to correct egregious wrongs - blame the politicians.

    You should vote against both Kang and Kodos.

    Voting anything but a 3rd party (or independent) is perpetuating the system.

  • No. I refuse to recognize the right to private property over the right of public use. Ultimately we have one world, and we must share it, or contribute to our own extinction.

  • by SlippyToad (240532) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:17PM (#39116335)

    The federal government requiring Catholics to pay for their employees healthcare that they've already offered and that said employee has paid premiums towards

    I fixed that fucking dishonest piece of shit lie for you.

  • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:29PM (#39116499)

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

    In all presidential elections, the electoral college votes for my state will go to the Democrats. Same for the vast majority of the congressional elections - the seat for that district will go to which ever party it was gerrymandered in favor of. In rare cases where there is actually a close race, then voting for the lesser of two evils may make sense. The rest of the time your vote does nothing but send a signal about how strongly supported the winner is, and to whom they need to pander to win the election next time around. Voting third party sends a better signal than voting for the lesser of two evils or not voting at all.

    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.

    I do, but the system is just as stacked against them as it is against the third parties. So after casting my token vote for the "fringe" candidates in the primaries, I cast another token vote for third party candidates in the actual election.

  • To the sibling poster who claims that you "need to vote for him the next time, too", that's patently ridiculous.

    Oh, but you really do. That's what Obama must be counting on. Have you even _heard_ what the (viable) Republican contenders are saying? Gingrich/Romney/Santorum must be walking close to (if not past) the mark of being declared clinically insane.

  • by scot4875 (542869) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:04PM (#39116933) Homepage

    I'm less concerned with the promises Obama made that are unkept than I am about the ones that McCain made that he might have kept.

    And Obama, despite his flaws, has actually done a pretty admirable job of keeping a lot of his promises. Particularly when you consider that it's in the face of historically unprecedented obstruction.

    --Jeremy

  • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:25PM (#39117143)

    So what? If the church is so against contraceptives then it's employees won't need it anyway as they will follow the the church. Unless of course the church knows about nuns getting it on and just chooses to remain ignorant of humans as they did with pedophile priests.

    remember the "Church" is never wrong, god told them that. Of course "God" has told that to every denomination of every religion which means that God is either schizo or really enjoys irony based humor

  • this is a large part of the reason I'm a Paul supporter -- he actually has a long voting history that almost invariably matches his rhetoric.

    I highly admire that fact -- if only we had more honest politicians like Ron Paul...
    But he is planning to eliminate IRS, Dept. of Public Health, public schools, etc. How far can one get with that plan? Having principles is good. Not being realistic is bad.

  • by stonedown (44508) * on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:49PM (#39117403) Homepage

    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.

    I have less than zero sympathy, because I was forced to pay for the invasion of Iraq, with all the subsequent aftermath of at least 4 million people displaced from their homes, hundreds of thousands killed, worse living conditions than before, and women's rights brought down to the standard of other countries in the region.

    And I'm supposed to support Catholic organizations' mission to deny birth control coverage for their employees? Not gonna happen.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @07:31PM (#39117847)
    "The federal government requiring Catholics to pay for other people's contraception."

    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.

    And the question I have is "so what?" They have the freedom to practice their religion any way they see fit. They don't have a freedom of morals where anything they find immoral (whether for religious or personal reasons) they can prevent the government from doing, but that the government will never tell them they can't take communion, nor will the government comr after them for cannibalism for claiming they are eating people every Sunday. If the Church of the FSM were to come out publicly against appendices, members wouldn't be exempt from paying for health care that removed them. Nor are the sects against health care exempt from insurance laws. They aren't forced to go to doctors, they are just forced to pay for them. Paying for something immoral isn't forcing the person to perform the immoral act. We got rid of such "if I can't do it for personal/religious reasons, I'll ban everyone else from doing it" mentality when Prohibition was repealed, but have been doing it ever since anyway, despite it's a proven failure.

  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @07:45PM (#39118039) Journal

    I get good customer service from airlines on a regular basis. For the most recent example, because TSA made us miss our flight by ten seconds (we were at the airport an hour before the flight and the door closed that long before we were able to run up to the kiosk), three United gate reps worked to get us booked on other Star Alliance flights (and even offered to go to other airlines at one point though the odds were no better). It took the better part of two hours to get things worked out and we flew standby twice, but they went far above and beyond what was necessary.

    I have also walked up to the gate when it's not crowded and asked if there were any better seats than I'd been assigned or even selected and been provided Economy Plus without extra charge on two or three occasions even without being a serious frequent flyer. My fiancee who has back problems and migraines from a military injury is regularly able to get handicap boarding on just her word, though she carries her placard and paperwork with her for backup just in case.

    I sympathize with the airline staff. They have to deal with surly customers who start with the presumption that the airlines are out to get them. I start with the presumption that the people behind the desk are just trying to do their job as best they can (usually right, sometimes wrong) and I get much further with that.

  • by mikkelm (1000451) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @08:01PM (#39118279)

    It is most certainly not a privilege.

    The right to travel, the right to leave any country, and the right to return to your own country are fundamental human rights defined by the UDHR. These rights may not be respected, but that doesn't change their nature as rights.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @08:24PM (#39118521) Journal

    The whole problem is employers paying for health care at all. This whole nonsense got started because of a moronic tax policy that allowed both the employer and employee to not pay income on compensation in the form of certain benefits.

    So to lure to employees and doge some taxes employers started offering to pay for medial insurance. The insurance companies like that and encouraged it because it made their administration simpler and eliminated their need to go try and figure out how to market to individuals. To keep the practice intact they came up with this whole stupid system of groups rates etc etc.

    A better solution would be to all compensation is taxable as income (and lower the over all tax rate accordingly). That would remove the incentive for employees to seek employers offering health insurance and for employers to offer it. It would remove this whole issue of religious freedom, because once its your money its yours to do with as you like. You want to buy a policy that covers contraception great, you want one that does not cover it you find a provider who offers it.

    The final solution over all is force insurance companies to be insurance companies and end the heal management regime. You obligate medical practitioners (doctors) and providers (hospitals, nursing homes, etc) to publish a price book (prices can be whatever they like) on some periodic basis. Everyone MUST be charged the same rate. Big Insurance Inc cannot negotiate special rates where they pay $40 for a patient to receive a few stitches at the ER but if I show up without insurance and offer to pay cash the price is $1200 (true story). At that point insurance companies are forced back into the risk sharing game an could only add cost to the patient in terms of overhead to basic care / services. You reason for buying insurance would be the same reason you buy home owners, not because you want them to cut your law every week but because you want to be covered in the event something disastrous happens.

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @09:02PM (#39118947) Journal

    This is the way to do it, people. Generally, if you go to them with a positive attitude, explain your situation calmly, they'll try to help you. What you normally see is people flipping their shit at the very first sign of an inconvenience, which just sets up an adversarial attitude.

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @09:10PM (#39119031) Homepage
    You leave out the role of WWII-era wage controls in the formation of the current system - when a maximum wage was capped at $N, a company could still compete for the best workers on health care and other related benefits.

    Thanks again, FDR!

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