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  1. #1
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    Flying to Defcon with no ID

    This story appeared on Network World at
    http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/0 ... th-no.html


    Flying to Defcon with no ID
    By Robert McMillan , IDG News Service , 08/11/2008
    Sponsored by:
    Before Sherri Davidoff flew out to Defcon this year, she made sure to cover up the "Global Hacking Permit 230291" sticker on her laptop with a photo of two adorable puppies.

    She figured it might help things go a little more smoothly at Logan International Airport, where she eventually managed to clear her way through the Transportation Security Administration's security screening and fly out to this week's hacker convention in Las Vegas without using any ID.

    The TSA changed its policy in June, barring travelers who refuse to show ID from flying, but allowing cooperative passengers who have lost or otherwise don't have their papers to pass through. Davidoff, an independent security consultant based in Boston, wanted to see how the new TSA system worked.

    For her, travelling without ID wasn't just an interesting drill, it was a matter of civil liberties.

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    "It's not something I did out of mere curiosity," she said. "The freedom to travel anonymously is fundamentally important to our right to peaceably assemble."

    So on Monday, she FedExed her wallet to her hotel in Las Vegas. On Wednesday, she showed up at Logan, nervous, and wondering if she was even going to make it out of Boston.

    "I don’t have my wallet," she told TSA staffers. They were polite but "very intimidating," she said, "and they made it clear that my reasons for not having ID would be a factor."

    The good news was, Logan's security team had a pretty smooth procedure for handling people in her situation.

    The bad news was that the procedure had a few security problems.

    For one, thing Davidoff didn't need to know much in order to establish her identity: She had to provide her name along with both a street and a state where she'd previously resided.

    She said that this kind of basic information is pretty easy to dig up.

    Another problem was that the TSA's first screener marked up her home-printed boarding pass with a red Sharpie pen. This was the sign for the workers at the metal detector to give here a more thorough screening.

    She believes that If she had simply printed two copies of her boarding pass, she could have handed in an unmarked copy and skipped this secondary screening, which included a pad-down and a test for explosives.


    All in all, she said the new policy does not improve security.

    TSA representatives could not be reached immediately for comment.

    Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agreed with Davidoff's assessment, saying that her experience "demonstrates the theatrical nature" of airport security.

    Davidoff may have learned a lot about flying with no ID and exercised a fundamental right on her way to Defcon, but it did come at a price. Without ID, she couldn't get a beer on the plane.

    The IDG News Service is a Network World affiliate.

    All contents copyright 1995-2008 Network World, Inc. http://www.networkworld.com
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    Senior Member Lynne's Avatar
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    Wow! Amazing. So much for beefing up security to prevent terrorism.
    Well, at least I know I can fly without getting my Real ID drivers license.

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    Senior Member Gogo's Avatar
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    WELL, 911 will be much easier now right. My friend who has had two knee replacements goes through heck traveling and then this?

    My husband retired from LAX he's going to scream about this one.
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    "Another problem was that the TSA's first screener marked up her home-printed boarding pass with a red Sharpie pen. This was the sign for the workers at the metal detector to give here a more thorough screening.

    She believes that If she had simply printed two copies of her boarding pass, she could have handed in an unmarked copy and skipped this secondary screening, which included a pad-down and a test for explosives."

    This would not work at LAX the first screener now uses an official TSA
    timed and dated stamp on the boarding pass, it takes TSA so long to
    close security loop holes unless there is money in it for a contractor.
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    Senior Member Gogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimpasz
    "Another problem was that the TSA's first screener marked up her home-printed boarding pass with a red Sharpie pen. This was the sign for the workers at the metal detector to give here a more thorough screening.

    She believes that If she had simply printed two copies of her boarding pass, she could have handed in an unmarked copy and skipped this secondary screening, which included a pad-down and a test for explosives."

    This would not work at LAX the first screener now uses an official TSA
    timed and dated stamp on the boarding pass, it takes TSA so long to
    close security loop holes unless there is money in it for a contractor.
    Some airlines won't allow a second printing. It seems I had problems when I messed up once and had to go to the airline check in to get another boarding pass. I can't exactly remember what I did wrong but I wasn't allowed entry to try and print another one.
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    Senior Member Gogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gogo
    Quote Originally Posted by jimpasz
    "Another problem was that the TSA's first screener marked up her home-printed boarding pass with a red Sharpie pen. This was the sign for the workers at the metal detector to give here a more thorough screening.

    She believes that If she had simply printed two copies of her boarding pass, she could have handed in an unmarked copy and skipped this secondary screening, which included a pad-down and a test for explosives."

    This would not work at LAX the first screener now uses an official TSA
    timed and dated stamp on the boarding pass, it takes TSA so long to
    close security loop holes unless there is money in it for a contractor.
    Some airlines won't allow a second printing. It seems I had problems when I messed up once and had to go to the airline check in to get another boarding pass. I can't exactly remember what I did wrong but I wasn't allowed entry to try and print another one.
    Sent the article to my hubby's mail. He's sending it to his LAX friends and retirees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gogo
    Quote Originally Posted by jimpasz
    "Another problem was that the TSA's first screener marked up her home-printed boarding pass with a red Sharpie pen. This was the sign for the workers at the metal detector to give here a more thorough screening.

    She believes that If she had simply printed two copies of her boarding pass, she could have handed in an unmarked copy and skipped this secondary screening, which included a pad-down and a test for explosives."

    This would not work at LAX the first screener now uses an official TSA
    timed and dated stamp on the boarding pass, it takes TSA so long to
    close security loop holes unless there is money in it for a contractor.
    Some airlines won't allow a second printing. It seems I had problems when I messed up once and had to go to the airline check in to get another boarding pass. I can't exactly remember what I did wrong but I wasn't allowed entry to try and print another one.


    Nothing to stop you from making a copy of the first one
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    Senior Member Gogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimpasz
    Quote Originally Posted by Gogo
    Quote Originally Posted by jimpasz
    "Another problem was that the TSA's first screener marked up her home-printed boarding pass with a red Sharpie pen. This was the sign for the workers at the metal detector to give here a more thorough screening.

    She believes that If she had simply printed two copies of her boarding pass, she could have handed in an unmarked copy and skipped this secondary screening, which included a pad-down and a test for explosives."

    This would not work at LAX the first screener now uses an official TSA
    timed and dated stamp on the boarding pass, it takes TSA so long to
    close security loop holes unless there is money in it for a contractor.
    Some airlines won't allow a second printing. It seems I had problems when I messed up once and had to go to the airline check in to get another boarding pass. I can't exactly remember what I did wrong but I wasn't allowed entry to try and print another one.


    Nothing to stop you from making a copy of the first one
    Good point.
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  9. #9
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    Another loophole (not security related) with so many airlines now charging
    for baggage, just take bags to the gate directly. There is no procedure in place yet for the gate personal to accept payment (yet).They just have them loaded on the plane.
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  10. #10
    MW
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    "It's not something I did out of mere curiosity," she said. "The freedom to travel anonymously is fundamentally important to our right to peaceably assemble."
    Hmmm.......in this day and age, I wouldn't exactly feel safe flying with 200 anonymous passengers. Furthermore, I don't think the "freedom to travel anonymously" is a guarantee under the First Amendment. If you want to travel anonymously, catch a cab, bus, or drive your own private vehicle.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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