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US to Start Up Registered Traveler Program

Originally called Trusted Traveler, the new proposal is to created a so-called Registered Traveler Program in which registered volunteers will be able to pass quickly through airport security in exchange for submitting to detailed background examinations. Registered travelers would have…

  • June 1, 2004

Originally called Trusted Traveler, the new proposal is to created a so-called Registered Traveler Program in which registered volunteers will be able to pass quickly through airport security in exchange for submitting to detailed background examinations. Registered travelers would have an identity card with a biometric, such as a fingerprint.

What’s wrong here?

Barry Steinhardt at the ACLU says that travelers shouldn’t have to submit to increased surveillance in exchange for not having to wait in long lines–lines that are sure to get longer once the VIP travelers don’t have to wait in them.

A June 2002 article in Nature showed how fingerprint systems can be easily fooled.

Finally, a registered traveler becomes a new vulnerability point. Want to blow up an airplane? Kidnap the registered traveler’s family and start sending back fingers until the father agrees to carry your explosive-containing briefcase through airport security.

Still, it will be nice for the VIPs who don’t have to stand in line…

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