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TSA Announces Pilot of Trusted Traveler Program 388

Bob the Super Hamste writes "CNN reports that the TSA has announced the pilot of their trusted traveler program. This is the program where an individual gives up additional information to the government and then gets expedited security. The pilot program will only be available to certain frequent fliers on Delta passengers flying out of Atlanta and Detroit, and to American Airlines passengers flying out of Miami and Dallas. Plans are in the work to expand this to other airports and other airlines as well."
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TSA Announces Pilot of Trusted Traveler Program

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  • Reserving Judgment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by V-similitude ( 2186590 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @01:05PM (#36776954)

    It sounds interesting, but given their history I'm highly skeptical. I could see it improving things, but it all depends on two things.

    a) How much and what information they're actually collecting (they didn't say):

    The amount and nature of the information that will be sought was not disclosed.

    I could easily imagine them requiring absurd amounts of information, such as full disclosure of banking accounts, family background information, etc., etc. Given that I'm sure they won't be trustworthy enough to store it safely, this could be a deal breaker for many (and have disastrous consequences when their database is hacked).

    And b) What exactly this means:

    Security experts have long expressed concern about so-called "clean skins" -- potential terrorists who enroll in "trusted traveler" programs to avoid scrutiny during a terror mission. But the TSA says it will continue to incorporate random and unpredictable security measures to address such concerns.

    Random and unpredictable security measures even for "trusted travelers" sounds like it could make it not worth the effort. Furthermore, I can't imagine this program will last any longer than the first "close call" terrorist event where someone sneaks through using this program. So yeah . . . judgment reserved.

  • by TrumpetPower! ( 190615 ) <> on Friday July 15, 2011 @01:09PM (#36777034) Homepage

    Were I a nefarious evildoer, I'd figure out who's on this list -- easy to do by observing who goes through the line -- then kidnap said person's family and threaten to do horrible things to them unless they took this package on board.

    I mean, really. Does the TSA really think we're stupid enough not to see this for the security theater it so shamelessly is? Or do they simply not care any more?


  • Ever. It's unpossible.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2011 @01:40PM (#36777546)

    I'll add that the TSA's policies are consistent with those of the People's Republic of China.

    That is an unwarranted insult to the Chicoms. As far as airports go, the Chicoms are nowhere near as bad as the TSA. Airport security in China is FAR, FAR more accommodating and FAR FAR more respectful to passengers than the TSA is.

    That is first hand knowledge.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday July 15, 2011 @01:55PM (#36777794)
    Except that the measures which actually prevent terrorists from hijacking or bombing airplanes -- bomb sniffing dogs, locked cabin doors, armed agents on planes -- are not going away. This program is just a tactic of getting people to give up what the government wanted all along: personal information. The basic concept is this:
    1. Grope people or force them to enter backscatter machines, giving them a choice between having an uncomfortable government-approved sexual assault or an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous exposure to radiation that results in a nude photograph.
    2. Create a policy that requires TSA agents to "screen" kindergarden aged children and cancer patients, creating bad press about the screening process.
    3. Announce that you are going balance security with the public demand to end the screening process, by allowing travellers who give up their privacy rights by volunteering information to the government to avoid the groping and X-ray process.

    Note that people who opt for the "trusted traveller" program are going to be subject to exactly the same security measures that we had in airports immediately after the 2001 attacks. The only difference is that now the government gets to access personal details that they were prohibited from accessing before. The best way to avoid constitutional restrictions is to get people to voluntarily give up their rights.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.