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TSA Bans Flight If You Refuse To Show ID 734

mytrip notes a CNet blog entry on the recent TSA rule change banning flight to anyone who refuses to produce ID. It's OK if you claim to have lost or forgotten your ID — you undergo a pat-down and hand search of your carry-on bag and you're on your way. The new rule goes into effect June 21. "The change of rules seems to be a pretty obvious case of security theater. Real terrorists do not refuse to show ID. They claim to have lost their ID, or they use a fake. TSA's new rules only protect us from a non-existent breed of terrorists who are unable to lie."
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TSA Bans Flight If You Refuse To Show ID

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  • Real terrorists (Score:5, Informative)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @09:41PM (#23718485)
    Have already bought all of the fake IDs that they need to do their jobs because they are well-trained and financed. Nothing done here would capture the caliber of terrorists capable of actually pulling off another 9-11. All of the original 9-11 terrorists had their IDs in order.
  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:07PM (#23718705) Journal
    You can't get a boarding pass without showing your physical photo ID (at least in the US, where TSA has jurisdiction).

    No. In fact, most of the e-Ticket kiosks only need your confirmation number that you were e-mailed to get your boarding pass. No proof of ID required.

  • by ugen ( 93902 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:19PM (#23718797)
    Amazing - and I am saying this in all seriousness. I did not know this was even allowed. For the past number of years (and really prior to that as well) I know that every time I took a flight, security person at the beginning of the line demanded to see my ID and boarding pass. To the best of my understanding there was no exception to that, they were fairly clear that I would not be permitted to proceed if I don't show the ID.

    That and really I wouldn't even get through check in without one - airline registration counter person demands your id first.

    Anyone actually flown without going through this in recent years? How did you do that?
  • by brizzadizza ( 1195159 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:25PM (#23718871)
    I worked as a doorman at a bar for two years and I would regularly turn away customers that I thought were too young. If they had an out of state ID that I couldn't verify, and I had any doubt, I told them to move it down the line. Hell, if I asked some stupid non-obvious question like "What's your zodiac sign?" and they hesitated to answer I'd send them off. If they couldn't sum the digits in their zip code I'd send them off. The point of a realistic fake ID is to confound a distrustful doorman. If everything looked ok, and the hologram was UV reactive, I probably wouldn't get too suspicious. If some young looking kid shows me a texas license and has no twang, he/she is not likely to get in.
  • by rob1980 ( 941751 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:28PM (#23718909)
    If you're traveling alone, yeah. Amtrak wants $250 to put me on a train to a city 1300 miles from where I live, and at $4 a gallon I'd spend that much in gas if I drove myself. That's one way, mind you.

    Southwest wants $300 for a round trip ticket.
  • by ebrandsberg ( 75344 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:30PM (#23718927)
    1. The TSA stated on Mar 21 2008 that there is no such requirement:

    2. The requirement to present an ID was also found to not be required by federal court in the so-called "Gilmore" decision, in that someone could choose to subject themselves to additional screening.

    3. If the TSA insists that "cooperative" fliers will be allowed through but fliers that simply do not provide ID won't be, this will be brought back to court, and the TSA will loose. They can't play with the rules like this, and if you read the TSA statement, they are basically saying FU to your rights that have already been upheld in court.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:48PM (#23719085)
    March 7, 2008 Â Montana is one of several states that have balked at a federal law requiring states to issue tamper-proof identification cards to residents. Gov. Brian Schweitzer discusses his state's opposition.
  • by Bob MacSlack ( 623914 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @10:49PM (#23719093)

    This kind of thing reminds me of the recent immigration paperwork I had to do. They have a few questions you have to answer no to in order to get a visa to enter the country (ok, so it says you could still get one, but I highly doubt it). Here is the one that makes me groan ever time I see it:

    Do you seek to enter the United States to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose? Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State? Have you ever participated in persecutions directed by the Nazi government of Germany; or have you ever participated in genocide?

    Now who exactly are they expecting to exclude based on that question? If you have or are planning to do any of those, are you honestly going answer truthfully? Maybe it catches really dumb terrorists?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:08PM (#23719239)
    The implied constitional right to privacy?
  • by jmcarson ( 752753 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:10PM (#23719261)
    This is not about terrorists. This is about control of the "difficult" people in the population and making an example of them for all to see.
  • by marco.antonio.costa ( 937534 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:17PM (#23719337)
    The American citizen.

    Terrorist carrying a hidden razor and shaped charge:
    - "Oh Officer, I forgot my ID, Sir. Of course I'll be cooperative, I am an upstanding citizen with no reason to be disrespectful to authority.". Boards plane. Maims, murders, yadayadayada.

    Upstanding citizen:
    - "I don't have to show ID to board a plane. I'm a free man with inalienable constitutional rights." Tasered. Told to put your hands behind back, can't because of tasering, tasered again harder. Handcuffed. Trialed for treason, hung, yadayadayada.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:44PM (#23719637)
    But don't sit here and bitch about your "Rights" like flying is some sort of Constitutionally protected Right.

    Where on Earth do you get stupid notions like that? Ever read this: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."?

    Just in case you're not familiar, the Constitution is written to limit government's rights, not to give jerks like you the ability to say "you don't have the right to do X because somebody 200+ years ago didn't think to write it down." Newsflash: there were a number of people back then who opposed putting the Bill of Rights into the Constitution because they argued (correctly, it turns out) that if you start listing some rights that people like you will start saying that since other things aren't included therefore they aren't rights. The Ninth Amendment was an attempt at compromise--one that gets roundly ignored by the federal government and especially the Supreme Court. Seeing as how the Supreme Court has been on the wrong side of just about everything as time goes on (slavery, separate but equal, etc.) that doesn't exacctly mean much either.

    Oh, and by the way, airline security (thanks to airline lobbying) is now a function of the federal government. So how about not dragging out the "it's a private business they can do what they want" argument when you're talking about something the federal government does?
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:54PM (#23719763) Journal
    What prevented them from making an ID with all 'legit' info but a changed birthday?

    The fact that you don't want it coming back to YOU if it all goes to shit and you have to drop it and run.

  • by wwahammy ( 765566 ) on Monday June 09, 2008 @11:58PM (#23719797)
    You're talking about two different things. Drivers licenses, library cards and fishing licenses are simply an acknowledgement you certified as qualified for a certain privilege. Additionally, you can only require that those items be turned over with a warrant.

    The Supreme Court ruled a few years back that asking a person's name if they are at a Terry Stop is constitutional. A Terry Stop is a limited form of confinement where an officer has "a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has, is, or is about to be, committed." However that is the limit of what an individual is compelled to do. You are allowed to refuse to show an ID. You may not be arrested for that refusal. If you refuse to show a driver's license at a traffic Terry Stop, your license priviliges may be rescinded but you aren't required to turn over the ID itself unless you're arrested.

    The TSA isn't asking who you are. They are requiring you without reasonable suspicion to turn over your property to get onto a plane.
  • by jthill ( 303417 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:05AM (#23719863)
    That would be the fourth, prohibiting search in the absence of probable cause. Government agents are not permitted to demand your ID unless they've already stopped you for cause. They can ask, and most people (me included) don't mind just showing it in response to an even colorably polite request. But they're required to take "no" for an answer. That's kind of the definition of a free country.
  • by webmaestro ( 323340 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:33AM (#23720147) Journal
    The police cannot just pull you over to check that you have an operating permit. Under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, is occurring, or will occur in order to temporarily detain you (which is a seizure for 4th amendment purposes). Mind you, this is less of a burden than what is required for arrest - probable cause - but is a requirement nonetheless. Also, they can require that the person being stopped show ID, if allowed by state law. Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004).
  • by BradMajors ( 995624 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:59AM (#23720335)
    These questions are there in case they find out later that you did one of the above activities; in which case your citizenship will be revoked for lying on the naturalization application.

    Your naturalization can not be revoked if you asked all the questions truthfully.

  • by ckedge ( 192996 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:10AM (#23720815) Journal
    I agree with everything you said, EXCEPT:

    a) not a single policy enacted since that day was necessary to prevent a hijacking like those we had on 9/11

    The stronger locked cockpit doors and the rule to not open it despite any demands or threats. Those would have prevented 9/11. You are correct that nowdays the violent group reaction is probably an even better counter - but without the 3000 dead of 9/11, no-one would ever do that.

    There has never been any need to allow hijackers in the cockpit, just take them to where they want to go and do what they want you to do. The only reason the doors weren't put in before was cost.

    b) the liquid explosive bit. No binary explosives might be a bit hard to do, but flat out and out liquid explosives HAVE been successfully used: []


    "Yousef used one tenth of the explosive power he planned to use on eleven U.S. airliners in January 1995"
    "The explosive used was liquid nitroglycerin, which was disguised as a bottle of contact lens fluid."

    In fact, the ban on significant quantities of liquids came 10 years TOO LATE. It's amazing that no-one else thought of attempting it since then. Maybe because they caught this bomb master in 1995 and he wasn't around to teach anyone else how to do it. Maybe because you don't need to use liquid explosives, regular bombs get through just fine a decent amount of the time.

    It's my understanding that since Lockerbie, baggage containers were constructed to resist the types of explosions that brought that aircraft down. Are they widely used? Technically the baggage screening should prevent stuff in luggage from getting on. I think we simply need to do enough to cause them to shift their targets elsewhere, and as such force them to try and hit less-easier more fluid targets.
  • by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:05AM (#23721141)
    No one tried nitro again because it's highly contact sensitive unless you freeze it -- one bad bump on the card ride over and you never make it to the plane.

    Granted it does freeze at like 50 F, but it's particularly sensitive to impact as it thaws -- nitro used to be shipped frozen for safety during transport, but the thawing process was so dangerous that even under controlled conditions there were more injuries from thawing than there were from shipping in liquid form.

    I know physical safety is not high on the list of a suicide bomber's priorities, but they do generally at least want to make it to their target before blowing up, and nitro is simply too unpredictable to ensure accurate delivery.
  • by hughk ( 248126 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:29AM (#23721283) Journal

    The liquid explosive deployed on Philipine Airlines 434 was already complete when it was brought on board, it just hadn't been assembled into a bomb. Nitrates are quite sniffable by current detectors so this shouldn't work now.

    Real binary explosives exist in the commercial world, but terrorists don't seem to be able to produce them. In such cases perhaps they can be made more detectable and in any case they require detonation.

    There are discussions and fears about the production of non-nitrate based explosives. However this would require that a terrorist prepare a non-trivial reaction in a confined space over an extended period of time. I would like to think someone would notice if a toilet is occupied for the many hours necessary to complete the production or that certainly the fumes would be noticed.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:46AM (#23721371)


    "Yousef used one tenth of the explosive power he planned to use on eleven U.S. airliners in January 1995" ...
    "The explosive used was liquid nitroglycerin, which was disguised as a bottle of contact lens fluid."
    Wikipedia is misleading, and you took the bait.

    The part the article left out is that the nitro was soaked into cotton balls. It did not look at all like a liquid, it looked like wet cotton stuffed in a white plastic bottle. The reason it was soaked into the cotton balls was to stabilize it because liquid nitro is highly unstable, one sudden shock and it blows on its own. He would have been lucky to make it to the airport, much less get in the air, with unstablized nitro in a bottle.

    Don't believe me - just google for the hundreds of websites discussing the details. []

    Suffice to say, the liquid ban is still total bullshit.
    In fact the TSA even said so themselves in their own blog:

    In fact, in recent tests, a National Lab was asked to formulate a test mixture and it took several tries using the best equipment and best scientists for it to even ignite. That was with a bomb prepared in advance in a lab setting. A less skilled person attempting to put it together inside a secure area or a plane is not a good bet.
      TSA blog []
    Those are the TSA's own words explaining how the bogeyman of binary liquid explosives is essentially impossible. Which is what anyone with a clue has been saying since day one.

    Of course, after realizing just how stupid they were to admit that, they've come up with a new story leaving out the whole 'mixing it up in the bathroom' part. Now its all about some super-secret concoction that does not need to be mixed up. Now its just a regular explosive liquid that somehow must be stored in a big jug and can't be in a bunch of smaller bottles put together. Wonder why they won't tell us what it is - after all apparently the terrorists already know all about it since it was their plan in the first place...
  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:40AM (#23721747)

    Now who exactly are they expecting to exclude based on that question? If you have or are planning to do any of those, are you honestly going answer truthfully? Maybe it catches really dumb terrorists?

    They're not expecting to catch anyone. The idea is that you make lying on the form an offence, and that way you can keep anyone you don't like out simply by asking "Are you one of these (insert list of potentially offensive) people?" without having to pass specific legislation.

    The person says "Yes", you deny their visa indefinitely for no apparent reason. Person says "No" and is later found out to have lied, deport first and ask questions later.
  • by lysse ( 516445 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:06AM (#23722769)

    Conversely, the liberal would legislate the federal right to ALL property, and impose regulations on ANYTHING.
    I simply cannot understand the kind of person who would follow a complaint of misrepresentation with a sentence such as this, which they must surely know to be so much horseshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:09AM (#23722801)
    Canada already has this. I forgot my ID and I had to forfeit my flight.
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:06AM (#23723353)

    Perhaps not the best example. The Palestinian "politicians" are terrorists.
    I dunno about that. I don't think Mahmoud Abbas or Hanan Ashrawi are terrorists. The problem is that they don't have any control over people that are.
  • by GregNorc ( 801858 ) <gregnorc@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @09:18AM (#23724307)
    "According to Wikipedia..."

    I stopped reading at that point. Wikipedia, unless it cites it's claims to some sort of scholarly source, is not an acceptable source.

    And for the record, the same is true of any encyclopedia, ask any English 101 professor.
  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:22PM (#23729751)

    Since the airline industry is a private industry, not a part of the government (nor is the TSA), they can simply ban you from flying, forever. The option to fly is not a "Right" granted to us by the Constitution, fortunately or unfortunately.

    It is no different from a Circle-K gas station kicking you out for loitering. It's their property and they can set their own rules and guidelines (within the boundaries provided to them by local, state and federal regulations, of course).

  • by Lurker2288 ( 995635 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:14PM (#23730929)
    See, that's the kind of comment that really trips my bullshit detector. Now, we all know government bureaucrats ain't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer, but if you're assuming a massive government conspiracy to pull off a fake terrorist attack and blame Muslims for it, do you really think that the one thing that trips them up is going to be the decision to plant a document that couldn't possibly have survived at the crash site? I mean, that would be like faking the moon landing and forgetting to fake the rocket launch beforehand. I can certainly believe in government stupidity, but still, there are limits.
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:42PM (#23751061) Homepage Journal
    All this does is penalizes the true citizens and rewards the terrorists for their actions.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)