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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 @04:04PM (#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 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 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 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 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 Leebert (1694) * on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:46PM (#39115821)

          Don't blame me - I voted the best that I knew how to try to correct egregious wrongs - blame the politicians.

          I'm sorry, but if you were foolish enough in 2008 to see him as anything but what he is -- yet another (Chicago, even!) politician, you're kinda gullible (or, at least, insufficiently cynical.) (Don't worry, I fell for Bush 2000 myself, so I'm right there with you in the gullible camp.)

          How am I supposed to vote?!?!?

          Well, you could start by figuring out how to vote in the Republican primaries and voting for Paul. If Paul isn't palatable for you, there are plenty of other parties and candidates; chances are very good that you can find someone that you pretty well agree with out there somewhere.

          To the sibling poster who claims that you "need to vote for him the next time, too", that's patently ridiculous. There are plenty of candidates for president who actually make a *credible* claim that they'll fight to restore our constitutionally-enshrined rights. Yes, they aren't likely to win, but I swear I'll go all medieval on you if you claim that I am throwing away my vote by voting for someone who believes as I do instead of voting for someone who I disagree slightly less with but is more likely to win.

        • 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.

          • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:02PM (#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 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.

      • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:29PM (#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 retchdog (1319261)

        well, yes, it does. the popular sentiment evoked by this story is opposed to government, not bureaucracies in general. libertarianism won't fix the latter and could easily make it worse.

      • by residieu (577863) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:12PM (#39116237)

        It's important because this should make you reconsider flying on American Airlines.They were the ones who disrupted the family's trip in this case (Luckily they were on their way OUT of the country. I'd hate to see the same thing happen to someone trying to come back in).

        But the American Airlines official was reacting to the general fears that the TSA and the Federal Government have been instilling in us the past 10 years, so I wouldn't call them without blame

    • 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 Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:15PM (#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 Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:18PM (#39115343)

      If we just say "those fuckers," while leaving the antecedent deliberately ambiguous, we're good. Think of it like lazy evaluation of variables.

    • by sohmc (595388)

      VERY important distinction. From what I understand, the US government cannot deny a citizen entry once the citizen has provided bona fides. The government may hold the citizen for questioning, but is afforded all rights and privileges provided by the constitution.

      IANAL...of course, we don't live in "Shouldland".

    • by n5vb (587569) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:23PM (#39115413)

      The problem is that airline officials or anyone else in charge of letting you get on a plane is apparently *allowed* to make a judgment call like this at any airport along your route. If I'm going to be stopped for some stupid random thing like this (and it is a stupid random thing), I'm going to be a lot less pissed off if it means I can't get on the flight at my home airport, and have a way home, than if it means I've gotten halfway across the country 500-1000 miles from home and then all of a sudden can't fly anywhere and I have no surface transportation home or shipping for my checked baggage. One reason I don't fly when i can avoid it is unpredictability of what will be flagged in security at any given airport, plus the ease with which it's possible for a social outlier like me to become a "suspicious person" and subject to all of the treatment that triggers.

      Now, that may be hard to avoid for international flights where the airport of departure from the country isn't my home airport, but if an airline official is going to pull a dickish move like this, the least he/she can do is refund my international ticket and comp me a *domestic* flight back home, plus waivers on any extra fees to route my checked baggage home as well. Not sure if they were offered that as well as the option to stay in a hotel while the passport snafu is straightened out, but I do wonder ..

    • by marcop (205587) <marcop AT slashdot DOT org> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:29PM (#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 dbialac (320955) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:39PM (#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.

  • 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?

    • 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 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 ncttrnl (773936) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:25PM (#39115445)
      Even without the RFID, I've watched them deny kids onto flights because their passport wasn't signed. It was interesting to watch the mother explain that her kids could barely write their name let alone be expected to have a signature that would ever be useful for identification. They finally made her hold her kids' hands so that each of them could sign their names. The whole system is flawed and RFID is just another expensive layer on top of it. I would have hoped RFID was implemented more like magnetic strips on credit cards. When they work, it speeds things up. When they don't, every business has an imprint machine or a place to type in your credit card number in their computer so they can still take your money. I guess there is more incentive in the case of credit cards to actually get it right for the consumer though.
      • 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 sabs (255763) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:09PM (#39116991)

        When I was 12, I went to the Post Office to pick up a money order that was in my name. All I had on me for ID was my French Passport (not being a US citizen at the time). The lady said she couldn't take a foreign passport as proof of ID, and asked me to provide my driver's license.

        I mentally facepalmed, and informed her I was 12, and unlikely to have a driver's license anytime in the near future.

        Most people with a modicum of authority are idiots.

    • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:25PM (#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 GodInHell (258915) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:28PM (#39115499) Homepage

      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?

      Neither?

      Even if you intentionally light your passport on fire and fling it into the U.S. Embassy, you still have the right to return if you're a U.S. Citizen. (admittedly, probably after at least a few days in jail for lighting something on fire and flinging it into an occupied building.) I went to the Chzech republic once with some other students from the U.S., while we were there one of my friends made with the stupid and agreed to leave her passport with her hotel as a security deposit (do NOT do this). Naturally when she tried to retrieve it her passport was gone (stolen, they are valuable).

      Was she "prevented from ever seeing [her] loved ones, [her] home, or any of [her] possessions again?" Of course not, she went to the U.S. Embassy. They harangued her for being stupid and issued her a temporary passport to get back to Italy with. Once we were back in Italy the U.S. Embassy in Rome issued her a new permanent passport. Getting her Italian Visa replaced was harder.

      When you travel outside the U.S., you need to accept that you may not be able to keep to your schedule, plan for it. Book all your flights with a single airline (so that when Airline A screws up and you miss a connecting flight its their problem, not yours). Leave some vacation time (a day or two) on the return side of your trip. Don't try to sneak pot back out of Amsterdam (no, seriously, wtf are you thinking?). You have to take precautions.

      But what you describe, has no connection to reality.

      • When you travel outside the U.S., you need to accept that you may not be able to keep to your schedule, plan for it.

        Christ, yes. I remain thoroughly amazed that people expect to fly half way around the world, do something and fly back all within a 2 hour window of time. Historically those trips (if they were possible at all) took months or years and almost always were subject to delays perhaps lasting weeks.

        Slow down America! Enjoy the ride. The mess will still be there when you get back.

    • There are 2 interests competing in this situation. One is you, wanting to avoid trouble. The other is the government, wanting to know you are who you claim to be. Paper doesn't have a challenge-and-response system. The government wants secure documents establishing you are actually the owner of the passport, and that the something-you-have is genuine, and they make all the rules.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:15PM (#39115289)

    I was traveling alone, but I've gotten similar crap from a AA rep with a bur up his butt or something. This was pre-chip passport, but my well traveled 9 1/2 year old passport was slightly bowed from being placed in my pocket. He said basically the same thing as the article, that it shows a disrespect for the document and that I should keep it in a necklace type holder or somewhere else other than my back pocket. This same passport was never questioned by a government official in any country I traveled too. I waited for the douche to go on break and then proceeded to check in without incident by another agent. He would probably be one to charge folks an excessive baggage fee if one of their bags was 1 oz over regulation as well.

    • 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:17PM (#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 Nidi62 (1525137)

      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.

      Most countries that require visas also require a return ticket already purchased. This is done to help ensure that the person is not going to overstay their visa. If an airline sends someone without a visa, an invalid/expired visa, or if that person is in any way denied entry, the airline is usually fined and must return the passenger. And these are not small fines. They can be as high as $25,000 per person. And the cost of the return flight is of course not paid for by the country, the airline/passeng

  • 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.
    • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@NOSpAM.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 Herkum01 (592704)

      I disagree, the airline decided it could act like a government agency and validate a passport. A passport is a government document to used BY "THE GOVERNMENT"! When a airline decides it does not like your Drivers License, or SS card or your passport, well that is really outside the realm of business.

    • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:56PM (#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.

  • 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

  • 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 nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:27PM (#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/title22/22-1.0.1.6.33.5.5.1.html [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 Vaerchi (637985) <enuckols@colosoS ... com minus distro> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:35PM (#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 Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @04:56PM (#39116009)

    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 last time I left the US I spent four weeks hiking around in the Dolomites and nearby. Everything I had was in my backpack, I stayed at night in mountain rifugios and hiked around most of every day. I had my passport on my person somewhere at every moment, because what else was I going to do with it? I fell a couple of times, nothing serious, but I did get a few scrapes and bruises, and I'll admit that I was a bit free in tossing my pack (which contained my passport) around.

    Now, if the RFID chip can be broken by a child sitting on it, there is an approximately 0% chance that mine would have survived that trip had I had the misfortune of having one in my passport. There would have been no way to avoid it, other than putting the passport in a box filled with bubble wrap and packing peanuts or something else equally absurd. Had I been staying in a hotel and wandering around a town I would have (as per Italian law) left it with the hotel. But this wasn't that sort of trip. There was no way, sort of building some sort of portable armored and padded shrine, that I would have been able to "respect" the passport enough to avoid wrecking the RFID chip, if it really is so easy to break.

    If the chip is that much less resilient than the paper that the passports are printed on, they need to come up with something better.

  • WTF? RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

    by blueforce (192332) <clannagael@gma3.14159il.com minus pi> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:06PM (#39116159) Homepage Journal

    I R'd TFA.

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

    OP:

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

    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."

    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?

  • by xeno (2667) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:39PM (#39116639)

    From http://law.justia.com/cfr/title22/22-1.0.1.6.33.html#22:1.0.1.6.33.1.3.1

    22 C.F.R. PART 51—PASSPORTS
    Title 22 - Foreign Relations
    PART 51—PASSPORTS

      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.

  • Weathered and Worn? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:49PM (#39116741)

    My current passport does not have a chip in it and is good for another year. It is also pretty damn beat up. It has stickers on the outside that French immigration has put on it. It has been bent and tweaked by a variety of national border control types, and no one has ever applied a visa stamp gently. It has also spent a lot of time in my pocket, because nothing says "Tourist here please rob me" like one of those dorky things hanging around your neck. As a result of being in my pocket, it has gotten sat on, sweated on, bent, etc. In short, it looks like the passport of someone who travels a lot, which I guess they don't see a lot at American Airlines in Dallas. I respect my passport enough that I don't leave it in hotel safes, don't hang it around my neck to get snatched, and generally try to keep it from getting stolen, which has resulted in it looking weathered and worn. The airline employee in Dallas is a tool.

    And get off my lawn.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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