TSA outlaws flights to those who refuse to show ID

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57 Responses to “TSA outlaws flights to those who refuse to show ID”

  1. The Unusual Suspect says:

    holtt @ #17:

    AATG System? I love it!

    But no, I don’t believe it would work even if there were 20 people applying “Asshole At The Gate” to 1 TSA goon.

    They’d likely just be cited as proof of a conspiricy.

    (Reminds me of when Arlo Guthrie claimed we could end war if everyone just walked into their local draft board, sang a chorus of “Alice’s Restaurant” and walked out. Good times!)

  2. TwoShort says:

    All arguments about why it is reasonable for TSA to check ID are irrelevant.
    You cannot fly if you say “I don’t have ID because I don’t think I should have to show it to you”. You can fly if you say “I left it in my other pants”. There is no difference in security, only in your willingness to express an opinion the TSA doesn’t like.
    How is that remotely defensible?

  3. Takuan says:

    because a population of cowed slaves IS more secure.
    The TSA IS about security. Security for people who want the average person to remember their place, to fear authority, to not dare make waves, to never ask inconvenient questions.

    Anyone who supports the TSA having unilateral control over them had better be the type of person who is so rich they already fly in their private jet. Anyone else is displaying stupidity so contemptible they barely warrant being spat upon.

  4. Agent 86 says:

    So, since it is already happening we should sit down and shut up, but only because worse is happening elsewhere, but only especially because it doesn’t affect you personally?

    I sincerely hope you were practicing sarcasm.

  5. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    scarybug – I know it’s for proof of age, not for identification. But I still have to show ID, and it’s for the benefit of the establishment: They face charges if I’m drinking underage. Likewise, any store can ask me for ID and refuse my credit card if I don’t comply. My point is that private businesses don’t take my word for it, and I don’t expect the authorities to take my word for it either. There are too many dishonest people.

    Interestingly enough, you have to show ID when entering security, not when boarding the plane. The purpose of identifying yourself is mostly to make sure you are the person on the boarding pass, which is even EASIER to fake than an ID. Every time I’ve flown, they scan your pass when you board, not at security.

    I guess it could stop someone who swiped a boarding pass or maybe even mugged someone. I’ve been to events where they check your ticket against a photo ID for that reason.

    They don’t record your ID, and if you don’t have (I’m guessing) a photo ID, they just want you to identify yourself in some manner. Fair enough. I value my privacy, but I don’t see that as invasive.

  6. zuzu says:

    My guess is that if you stand there defiantly with arms crossed and say, “I do not have to show you my ID!” then they reply, “We do not have to let you fly!” There are far far far FAR FAR FAR better ways to create change and send a message than being an asshole at the gate. The only way the AATG system works is if a LOT of people do it. Get 20 people to do it together and you make a statement, do it by yourself and your impact on those around you at best is to look like a total asshole who’s making others travel even more miserable than it is.

    Yes, but whether alone or many, this is still The Right Thing to Doâ„¢. Each and every time you are required to be invaded and have your rights abridged, you need to respond in kind with proportional degree of civil disobedience and incredulity. Make them work for it. Who cares if other people think you’re an asshole? (i.e. “Making a scene.”) What’s right is not always popular, and what’s popular is not always right.

  7. zuzu says:

    I guess it could stop someone who swiped a boarding pass or maybe even mugged someone. I’ve been to events where they check your ticket against a photo ID for that reason.

    Regardless, identification does nothing to keep lethal objects outside of an airplane.

    Whereas something like only 10% of stowed baggage is examined at all. So as long as I have a “clean” ID, checking in luggage full of semtex with a barometer switch to explode the plane once it reaches cruising altitude is apparently not much of a concern for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

  8. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    scarybug – part 2: It’s still not illegal to travel from state to state. If you’re in your own vehicle, and have a limited ability to endanger those around you, you’re free to travel anonymously if you so choose. However, the authorities have a duty to ensure the safety of public transportation.

    Why do you say there are no repercussions for stealing from luggage? I can google and find plenty of cases where screeners have been charged with theft. That was a problem long before the TSA. Locks have never been an impediment either, all it takes is a thief with a pair of dikes. I equate it with employees stealing from stores: Most of it is just not going to be caught. If it’s really valuable, keep it with you.

    Although, I wouldn’t have recommended that for the guy who had half of a 75 lb fish stolen. No, please do not pack that in your carry-on!

  9. Caroline says:

    WeightedCompanion Cube: Likewise, any store can ask me for ID and refuse my credit card if I don’t comply.

    No, they can’t.

    Also, you’re missing Scarybug’s main point that you have to show your ID when you buy alcohol to prove that you are not committing a crime by buying alcohol underage. The same is not true of flying. There is nothing about showing your ID at the airport that proves you are not committing a crime.

  10. cha0tic says:

    @ bardfinn #10

    “Would anyone care to take a stab at the TSA definition of “cooperative”?”

    Probably whatever the goon on the gate decides.

  11. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    Zuzu – security isn’t just about terrorism. It’s also about at least trying to prevent fraud.

    For the domestic flights I’ve been on, they check your photo ID against your boarding pass to make sure they match, and to make sure your photo matches you. That’s it. They do not record any information off the ID.

    If you’re on the no-fly list, you won’t even be able to GET a boarding pass, will you?

  12. zuzu says:

    It’s still not illegal to travel from state to state. If you’re in your own vehicle, and have a limited ability to endanger those around you, you’re free to travel anonymously if you so choose. However, the authorities have a duty to ensure the safety of public transportation.

    Except that, again, anonymity does not create a safety risk.

  13. Cefeida says:

    Flying isn’t the only way to get from one state to another, is it? If you don’t want to comply with the airline rules, just drive or take a train or something. (although last time I tried taking a train in the US they wanted my full name for the boarding pass. Now that I thought was beyond weird, but, when in Rome…)

    #4′s reply makes the most sense here. I don’t see what is so surprising or oppressive about this. Then again, I’m not American, so maybe I just don’t get it.

  14. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    Caroline – I didn’t know that about showing ID in stores. And I have been told the opposite. There are some stores that do make you show ID regardless of the payment type. (I once discovered I had lost my driver’s license when I went to upgrade my phone.)

  15. Xopher says:

    Making plane tickets non-transferable was one of those hidden airline subsidies, though they disguised it as “security” (again). Before 9/11, airline tickets were basically money, and if you couldn’t fly somewhere you could sell the ticket to someone who could. Now you have to cancel yours at a substantial penalty, and they can just try to buy one.

  16. Atomische says:

    About a year ago I lost my ID just before a flight. They let me on without it, HOWEVER, they assigned a security agent to escort me all the way from the checkpoint to my seat. It seemed like a waste of that person’s time.

    I was also asked not to talk or interact with anyone in the terminal while waiting for the plane to board.

  17. membeth says:

    To second and expand on what Kipesquire (#4) said, not only are you collectively misreading the TSA’s press release, you misunderstand the Constitutional law surrounding producing ID and identifying yourself.

    Although it is perfectly legal not to carry ID, in many situations (and not just when you are under arrest or boarding a plane), it is a crime to refuse to correctly identify yourself to the police. You don’t have to produce identification in the sense of handing over a license or passport (unless you were driving), but you do have to state your first and last name. If you refuse to do so or if you give a false name, you will be arrested and charged.

    Many people are arrested for committing a crime when they legitimately believed that they were asserting their constitutional rights. If the police have a legitimate reason to stop you (a very low bar), you do not have the legal right to refuse to state your name.

  18. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    zuzu – Ok, so maybe this is not necessarily about safety. I was generalizing about the TSA rules in general.

    Maybe this is about keeping people from being skipped to the head of the line as long as they don’t mind a search. If too many people did that, in busy airports it would really slow things down.

    Court cases set precedent, and this is the system closing a loophole.

  19. zuzu says:

    Zuzu – security isn’t just about terrorism. It’s also about at least trying to prevent fraud. For the domestic flights I’ve been on, they check your photo ID against your boarding pass to make sure they match, and to make sure your photo matches you. That’s it. They do not record any information off the ID.

    To which I would have said…

    Making plane tickets non-transferable was one of those hidden airline subsidies, though they disguised it as “security” (again). Before 9/11, airline tickets were basically money, and if you couldn’t fly somewhere you could sell the ticket to someone who could. Now you have to cancel yours at a substantial penalty, and they can just try to buy one.

    (Thanks Xopher)

    Despite “asses in the seats” of an airplane being fungible, airlines wish they weren’t. They fight tooth-and-nail to pretend that air travel isn’t a commodity. It is. So the airline industry appeals to government for rent seeking to use the strongarm of the law to get away with pretending that air travel isn’t a commodity. (And even then airlines still manage to go bankrupt and beg for government bailouts.)

  20. Clifton says:

    Wasn’t one of the main defenses presented by the government in the Gilmore suit the TSA’s claim that you are allowed to fly without ID, provided you agree to alternative security procedures? Wasn’t that a major factor in the court’s dismissal of the case? If so, didn’t they just blow their previous defense out of the water?

  21. Takuan says:

    the nice thing about being the bully is not only do you get to make up the rules, you can change them at will

  22. free101girl says:

    The upshot of this new policy is that you are allowed to travel by commercial air ONLY if you’re polite and docile and don’t assert your rights.

    This policy means if you state you have rights, they will put their boot down on your neck. Essentially they are dictating what kind of ATTITUDE you are allowed to exhibit. That’s what makes this whole thing so evil. It literally sends shivers up my spine.

    This is a “slippery slope” issue. If Americans allow the TSA to get away with this kind of stuff, we really deserve the police state we’ll inevitably find ourselves living in.

  23. Xopher says:

    Once upon a time, there was a clever wolf. He would come up to the sheep, in full view of the boy set to guard them, and when the boy began crying “wolf, wolf” would run away and hide.

    Finally, the wolf noticed that the townspeople no longer came when the boy cried out. So he came and ate his fill of the sheep (and the boy).

    When you’re one of the townspeople, it’s hard to tell which story you’re in. I think we’re in the Clever Wolf story, not the Boy Who Cried Wolf story.

    The TSA cannot be reformed. It can only be abolished. Until it is, it is an illusion that we live in a free society.

  24. assumetehposition says:

    I no longer take anything BoingBoing says about the TSA seriously. I’ve heard “wolf” too many times.

  25. Takuan says:

    NAZI FUCKS! America, your constitution is made a joke. You HAVE to start fighting back. A grassroots movement to have all elected government officials submit to urine tests every week would be a good start.They have nothing to hide.

  26. ioerror says:

    I think Gilmore is going to have a fit.

  27. zuzu says:

    This policy means if you state you have rights, they will put their boot down on your neck. Essentially they are dictating what kind of ATTITUDE you are allowed to exhibit. That’s what makes this whole thing so evil. It literally sends shivers up my spine.

    Disparaging the boot is a bootable offense.

  28. zuzu says:

    I no longer take anything BoingBoing says about the TSA seriously. I’ve heard “wolf” too many times.

    It’s time for your “freedom search”.

  29. membeth says:

    @Clifton and Takuan,

    Yes, the TSA’s response to the Gilmore suit was that you ARE allowed to fly without ID. And if you parse what the TSA just said, you STILL are. You can’t fly anonymously, which is an entirely different thing constitutionally. My guess as to what happened is that the TSA finally tumbled to the legal difference between demanding identification and demanding that you state your real name.

    The TSA isn’t being the bully or changing the rules at will. They’re just doing what the Constitutional jurisprudence has always allowed them to do. They were too stupid to understand what the rules ARE up until now, which, honestly, is scarier than what Takuan accuses them of.

    I strongly suspect that when this ends up in court outside of the 9th circuit, you’ll rapidly get a circuit split and the majority position will be that you have to present identification. Then SCOTUS will agree, mooting the distinction altogether.

  30. Don says:

    I think it’s a happy change. Their “golly shucks, you don’t HAVE to show ID if you don’t want to” claim in the Gilmore trial was so obviously disingenuous that this is an improvement. Maybe now we can actually have a discussion on the merits rather than this stupid dodge.

  31. KipEsquire says:

    While I am totally sympathetic, you/Soghoian are unfortunately misreading the TSA release:
    .
    “This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.”
    .
    That “or assist” part makes quite a bit of difference. “Passengers who refuse to show ID, citing the rights” still will be accommodated if they “assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.”
    .
    This is similar to the Fourth Amendment case law on ID, which is also widely misunderstood by the lay public. You have every right not to carry ID, but you do not have the right to withhold your identity from law enforcement if they have a legitimate reason for knowing it (e.g., because you’ve been lawfully arrested).
    .
    The TSA is merely clarifying that, “you have no right to fly anonymously,” not that “you no longer have the right to invoke your right to fly without ID.” They’re two different things.
    .
    If you have a problem with the former (what TSA is saying) as well as the latter (what you think TSA is saying), then more power to you. But the second paragraph in the post is just flat-out incorrect.

  32. Torporous says:

    I so want to visit Vermont and New Hampshire, but I won’t. I won’t cross that border and be treated like a criminal.

    It makes me sad and angry and scared.

    To anyone who isn’t bothered by this, please step back for a moment and try to see the larger picture. This is just one more brick in the wall that is the burgeoning police state.

    Can you not see that by minimizing the impact of each brick as it goes into place you will only make it easier for the next brick to be mortared in?

    @ #39
    “I no longer take anything BoingBoing says about the TSA seriously. I’ve heard “wolf” too many times.”

    Each call of “wolf” seems appropriate and correct. The beast is circling you all in the dark. I believe the purpose of pointing out each sighting is to allow for awareness of what is happening and for steps to be taken now. By the time you see the whole wolf it will be very very hard to deal with.

  33. Takuan says:

    “I no longer take anything BoingBoing says about the TSA seriously. I’ve heard “wolf” too many times.”

    with your handle?

  34. dragonfrog says:

    Cefeida @32

    Flying isn’t the only way to get from one state to another, is it? If you don’t want to comply with the airline rules, just drive or take a train or something.

    OK, you take that car, train, or something, to Hawaii.

  35. The Unusual Suspect says:

    I don’t imagine that the TSA Administrator has the authority to mandate security procedures that contravene the law.

    This seems to be a gamble on their part, and I hope it costs them dearly.

  36. arkizzle says:

    I read it as: “This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to: (provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity).”

    Not that one was a modifier to the other.

  37. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Since we’re splitting hairs, the next paragraph reads “This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers.”

    So the issue for the TSA is not whether the passenger shows or has ID; it’s about whether or not the passenger is “cooperative”.

  38. Jupiter12 says:

    “America, your constitution is made a joke.”

    This kind of thing is everywhere, not just the United States. Remember the airport security agent in Canada who made a lady put her 2″ gun pendant in checked baggage? How about all the anti-photography laws in the UK? Reading those stories made me glad that I live in the US. I never had a problem with the TSA here. I show my ID with my boarding pass and they let me through every time. No big deal.

  39. Takuan says:

    How about universal human rights? Failing that,how about the rights of any citizen in the USA? These bastards have as much power as you roll over for and give them.

  40. bardfinn says:

    Would anyone care to take a stab at the TSA definition of “cooperative”?

  41. Takuan says:

    certainly: “TSA COOPERATIVE”: bent over, pants around ankles, cheeks spread,holding jar of lube.

  42. Trial Monkey says:

    @8

    “”Rights” of passengers? I dislike the TSA as much as anyone, but I think using the word “right” will not serve you. The only way to make travel on a private aircraft a right, rather than a privilege or purchased contract – is to ask the State to take over.”

    Airlines are common carriers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier) and therefore must offer their services in a non discriminatory manner. So even though they are private organizations, they are bound by constitutional guarantees. We also have a fundamental constitutional right to travel between the states (and I believe other countries). They cannot discriminate against people exercising their constitutional rights unless there is a compelling reason.

    I don’t see any reason that refusing to cooperate with a police agency is such a reason after they have clearly established that you are not a threat.

  43. zuzu says:

    stupid Jones Act

    aka Merchant Marine Act of 1920: a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. It is a cabotage law which also contains provisions regarding seamen’s rights. The cabotage provisions restrict the carriage of goods or passengers between United States ports to U.S. built and flagged vessels. In addition, at least 75 percent of the crewmembers must be U.S. citizens. Moreover foreign repair work of U.S.-flagged vessels’ hull and superstructure is limited to 10 percent foreign-built steel weight. This restriction largely prevents American ships from refurbishing their ships at overseas shipyards

    Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two points in the same country. Originally starting with shipping, cabotage now also covers aviation, railways and road transport. Cabotage is “trade or navigation in coastal waters, or, the exclusive right of a country to operate the air traffic within its territory.”

    Cabotage is commonly used as part of the term “cabotage rights,” the right of a company from one country to trade in another country. In aviation terms, it is the right to operate within the domestic borders of another country. Most countries do not permit cabotage by foreign companies, although this is changing within Europe for member states of the European Union. Politically, cabotage regulations restricting trade to domestic carriers are a form of protectionism. Justifications for cabotage regulations include national security and the need to regulate public safety.

    Critics note that the legislation results in costs for moving cargoes between U.S. ports that are far higher than if such restrictions did not apply. In essence, they argue, the act is protectionism. Opponents contend that the U.S. shipbuilding industry has suffered as a result. Ship operators are given an incentive to maintain veteran U.S.-built vessels rather than replace them with new tonnage. In addition, U.S. shipyards have adapted to building only those ships that are needed by operators, with price tags that reflect their all-American workforces. Subsequently, the claim is that U.S. shipbuilders have long since priced themselves out of the international market for merchant ships. A 2001 U.S. Department of Commerce Study study indicates that U.S. shipyards built only 1 percent of the world’s large commercial ships. Ships are virtually never ordered in U.S. shipyards unless they are for use in U.S. Shipping. The report concluded that the lack of United States competitiveness stemmed from foreign subsidies, unfair trade practices, and lack of U.S. productivity. Moreover, critics point to the lack of a U.S.-flagged international shipping fleet. They claim that it makes it economically impossible for U.S.-flagged, -built, and -crewed ships to compete internationally with vessels built and registered in other nations with crews willing to work for wages that are a fraction of what their U.S. counterparts earn.

    This reminds me of the consequentialist outcomes of the United States taxing all income of citizens both domestic and foreign, as it relates to perpetual travelers:

    Under the Internal Revenue Code, the income of a U.S. citizen is taxable without regard to the citizen’s place of residence, and, significantly, without regard to where the income is earned or produced. The US tax law, at the state and federal level — broadly speaking — only tolerates Americans taking money outside the US. As long as money taken outside the US is never brought back into the US there is no violation of the law. It is broadly understood that Americans can use corporations or trusts to cover moving money outside the US, providing that said corporations or trusts are not based in nations that would raise suspicion. Broadly speaking, the US taxation rules encourage people to move their assets offshore — and to retire offshore. This creates a permanent outflow of United States Dollars into other currency zones.

  44. zuzu says:

    What does IDENTITY have to do with SECURITY?

    Osama bin Laden could fly on a passenger jet safely, just so long as he’s not carrying a gun, knife, or bomb. So what does who he is have to do with it?

  45. Anonymous says:

    next thing you know they’ll be wanting to tattoo barcodes on our foreheads…

  46. Takuan says:

    Your treason is noted, Comrade Citizen Zuzu

  47. rageahol says:

    WWEBoing: -1 disingenuous

    please, go look up the number of airline bailouts (not to mention subsidies, as well as hidden subsidies, like say, making long distance rail travel all but impossible, as well as hideously expensive) and tell me that we dont have “rights”.

    airlines use our airspace and publicly funded infrastructure. there certainly arent enough privately owned airports to support the volume of air traffic we see in the US. ergo, any whining about “o noes socialism!” is at best incredibly ignorant. go read the fountainhead again and leave commenting to people who know what the hell theyre talking about.

    zuzu: +1 astute

    i say we draft bruce schneier as head of the TSA.

  48. zuzu says:

    @8 WWEBoing

    “Rights” of passengers? I dislike the TSA as much as anyone, but I think using the word “right” will not serve you.

    I’m a ruthless capitalist (and staunch enemy of corporatism) as much as anyone, but I believe the right being invoked here is Freedom of Travel (i.e. the refutation of “Papers, please.” — which really began with the introduction of passports for World War I).

    Specifically, here’s the skinny on Freedom of Movement in the United States.

  49. holtt says:

    So the issue for the TSA is not whether the passenger shows or has ID; it’s about whether or not the passenger is “cooperative”.

    My guess is that if you stand there defiantly with arms crossed and say, “I do not have to show you my ID!” then they reply, “We do not have to let you fly!” There are far far far FAR FAR FAR better ways to create change and send a message than being an asshole at the gate. The only way the AATG system works is if a LOT of people do it. Get 20 people to do it together and you make a statement, do it by yourself and your impact on those around you at best is to look like a total asshole who’s making others travel even more miserable than it is.

  50. Avram says:

    Wweboing #8, Marty #19, are you guys posting from some parallel dimension where the TSA isn’t a government agency?

  51. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    I guess my local bars are violating my civil rights because they make me show ID before I’m served alcohol. I don’t see why I can’t just say I’m 21!

  52. MaximusNYC says:

    A note on the post title: The TSA is not a legislative body, and cannot “outlaw” anything.

  53. Marty says:

    The TSA merely changed their rules. They did not threaten any constitutional right because there is no constitutional right to travel by airplane without showing your ID. That is exactly what the Gilmore v. Gonzales case said.

    Before getting your knickers in a twist and sputtering about losing your rights, try figuring out what they are first.

  54. mightymouse1584 says:

    I’ll take Godwin’s Law by 1

  55. Scarybug says:

    #18, because it is illegal to drink if you aren’t 21. It is not illegal to travel from one state to another at any age. The ID is to verify your age, not your identification.

    It should not be illegal in a free society to travel from state to state without disclosing your ID either. Regimes that restrict travel use that restriction as a tool of oppression.

    Identification is not security. Making a fake ID is easy, no matter what holograms or RFID chips we use. Relying on ID makes us less safe because we trust fake IDs more than we should.

    Giving up privacy does not make us more secure. If anything it makes us less secure, because the people we put in charge of our security are not necessarily trustworthy. Case in point, you can’t put a lock on your luggage anymore, and luggage inspectors can easily steal your stuff, with no oversight or repercussions.

  56. mightymouse1584 says:

    @kipesquire i just wanted to say thats a very good summary. thank you for writing in a style that seems to resemble sanity.

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