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Verified Identity Pass Shuts Down "Clear" Operations 171

torrentami writes that Verified Identity Pass, operator of the "Clear" program, which allowed pre-screened passengers faster access to US airport gates, "sent out emails to its subscribers today informing them that as of 11 p.m. PST they will cease operations. Clear was a pioneer in speeding customers through security at airports and had planned on expanding to large events. The service, where it was available, offered a first class security experience for travelers willing to fork over $200 a year and their biometrics. Customers are now left holding their Flyclear cards with encrypted biometrics. The question now becomes, what happens to all that information? This is not the first time Clear has been in the news. A laptop containing customer records was reportedly missing from the San Francisco International airport recently but then turned up shortly thereafter. Another casualty of the recession's downturn in business travel."
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Verified Identity Pass Shuts Down "Clear" Operations

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  • by T-Bucket ( 823202 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:03AM (#28437637) Homepage

    I was always amazed that they could put together a program like that for anyone who wanted to pay $200 but couldn't come up with a way to clear flight crews through without doing the whole "scan all your crap in front of the uneducated TSA goons who will then ask you 20 stupid questions about your approach chart holder" thing... (No kidding, one of them once asked me why I was carrying a "giant razor blade".)

  • by bzzfzz ( 1542813 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:51AM (#28438177)

    The problem with Clear's model is that there was never any evidence to speak of that the TSA cared about traveler's identities, at least not enough to allow them to bypass any meaningful amount of screening that they would otherwise perform. All the "Clear" screening bypassed, as far as I was ever able to determine, was the no-fly list check. As such the only advantage (unless you had a name that tended to cause false positives on the no-fly list) was that you got to cut the queue. Then you put up with the same removal of shoes, millimeter wave scan, and other indignities and fourth amendment violations as everyone else.

  • Re:Security Theater (Score:4, Informative)

    by Queltor ( 45517 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @09:58AM (#28438259)

    All the people who complain about having to buy water make me laugh.

    The prohibition is on the liquid, not the container. If you want to have a bottle of water on the plane then carry an empty bottle through security. I've carried reused plastic bottles, Nalgene hiking-type bottles, and even a metal Kleen Kanteen through security without any problems. Once you're through security, find a water fountain and fill up!

    Just remember to vent the bottle once on the plane. The pressure changes can leave you with a leaking bottle.

  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:12AM (#28438391) Homepage
    If the passengers have checked luggage, then the plane will sometimes wait for them. The luggage would have to be located and removed, which takes a while. Waiting 10 minutes for the passenger can be more sensible than waiting 20 minutes to get their bags off. Except for the moral hazard [] issue, I suppose.
  • by joedoc ( 441972 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:43AM (#28438813) Homepage
    I signed up for Clear last year. I live in northeast Florida but work in DC, so I fly to and from Jacksonville to Reagan in DC or BWI up in Baltimore. Reagan and Dulles had Clear lines, BWI does not.

    In Jacksonville, the service was there prior to Clear. Called Preferred Traveler, it's operated by a company called Vigilant Solutions []. They always accepted my Clear credential. I contacted their office this morning via email and was informed that they are still operating and will continue to accept Clear's card at their gates. If you look at the list of their participating airports on their site, you'll see a long list. I don't know if these are their exclusive locations or ones that include Clear's lines, since I know Clear accepted their credentials as well.

    The Clear shutdown news was a shock...I thought the email I received last night was a joke or spam, until I verified the news at their website.

    Fortunately for me, I can still use my card where I need to most frequently: flying out of Jacksonville on Monday mornings. The regular security lines there can be brutally long, and using the Preferred Traveler line saves me more than 30 minutes of waiting. I can sleep later, the wife can sleep later, and I'm getting to my gate with no pressure. Worth every penny.

    My hope is that some enterprising company steps in and take over Clear's operations. The service is really great.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @10:48AM (#28438875) Homepage Journal

    Common misconception on Slashdot (and a lot of other places). Board members and employees can still be held liable -- criminally and/or civilly -- for gross negligence. It's a necessarily high bar, though. The business largely takes the liability for the employees' simple mistakes, and for decisions made by the board members, they need some level of insulation against civil claims. Running a business involves risk, and they can legitimately make the wrong decision about a path to follow. If that happens because of a simple oversight or just a wrong bet (figuratively speaking), they shouldn't be held liable for it.

    Had they been completely insulated, we'd never have seen Bernie Ebbers charged, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

  • Re:What happens? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:08PM (#28441137) Journal

    Or, if it was like the desktops of a certain teleco that were tossed a couple of years back it all ends up on the curb where you can have it for free!

    True story, a buddy of mine was working a few blocks from their office and gives me a "you ain't gonna believe this shit. bring your pickup truck" call, so I go there and there are all these 1.5-30Ghz boxes dumped out on the curb on a Sunday. So I help him load them up and we get them to his place(I of course get to pick out a few for bringing the truck) and hook them up to see if there is an OS on any of them. Not only are they all loaded with XP Pro, complete with the stickers on the side, but they hadn't bothered to wipe a damned thing. Nothing at all. SSN records,CC records, accounts, they just left it all right there on the machines they tossed. They were just lucky they were picked up by a couple of guys interested in the parts and not the data or we could have had an ID theft field day with all that info.

    There really should be a hotline or something similar to call to get companies in trouble when they do totally dumbass maneuvers like that. I'd say this was much worse than the morons that left the unencrypted tapes in their Honda, as how many folks have a tape drive? With these all you had to do was plug them in and start copying. It just amazes me how completely careless these companies are with the data they collect.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin