Rather than increasing security, the new policy change merely ensures that private citizens who express the wish to travel anonymously are punished for doing so. As Bruce Schneier says, “I don’t think any further proof is needed that the ID requirement has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with control.”
It’s important for private citizens to be able to travel without being tracked if they wish. I am not a criminal. I just don’t believe it’s anybody’s business where I go. I understand the need for ensuring the safety of our transportation infrastructure, and as such, searching passengers before boarding makes sense.
The freedom to travel anonymously also underlies our right to peacefully assemble. When a government tracks its citizens and can arbitrarily decide to limit or cut off travel, that threatens our democracy. This is especially true in our global society, where many people rely on air travel, trains and the highway just to see their families.
TSA’s new policy, which is to focus on finding “dangerous people” rather than objects, poses enormous challenges. It requires that the agency make sweeping judgments about travelers with very little information, and in a very short amount of time. It is simply not feasible to accomplish this accurately.
We need to make sure our airports are safe, but at the same time, we have to be very careful not to destroy the very thing we are trying to protect: our free country.
Now, I wonder if us “dangerous minorities” could get away with what Sherri pulled. I would be willing to bet we could… albeit with longer delays, more prodding, and much less professional courtesy. On one trip to Denver, my boarding pass had my name spelled wrong, on account of having my tickets booked through a travel agency (and t’s sound like p’s on the phone). I get the dreaded “SSSS” printed on my ticket, and off to the exclusive “brown people only” line I go! Actually, at the cost of personal privacy, I made it through the line faster than my friends did, who were stuck in a logjam of holiday traffic.