Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

c/o NAU Resistance

“This recent CTV/AP article on halting inspections on buses, trains and airports does seem to give some clues that reinforces this conclusion, and is actually very insightful when taking all of this into account (the big picture). It states in the article that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency … mentioned, “Conducting intelligence-based transportation checks allows the Border Patrol to use their technology and personnel resources more effectively, especially in areas with limited resources.” 

Could RFID, Biometric/ Facial Recognition be classified as “intelligence-based”? Could a new ID system that is now fully integrated with the United States, complete with your own personal “threat assessment profile” be classified as “intelligence-based”? Could the tracking in REAL-TIME ALL travelers in North America be considered “intelligence based”?”


Obama, Harper and Calderon convene North American leaders summit Nov.13

The meeting comes as Canadians await the outcome of negotiations between Ottawa and Washington on a perimeter-security pact, which Harper and Obama first announced last February. The two countries are working on a deal to better co-ordinate intelligence-sharing at the border and to streamline cross-border trade.

U.S.-Canada retains Beyond the Border initiative, unveiling 30 pt plan

BTC- Late last year I started to get the distinct feeling I was voluntarily stepping into some sort of electronic or digital cage by using the Internet. Apparently, I am not the only one to have that thought. In fact, there has been commentary on our dimming prospects for privacy due to the net as far back as 1999!

The Michigan Law Review released this paper.

A man named Lawrence Lessig came up with the idea of creating an online Constitution.

Late last year digital privacy proponents took a crack at developing the Social Networking Bill of Rights. His ideas may be what has helped inspire the Digital Due Process movement. Congress and the other federal branches are not making the 4th Amendment jump from analog to digital so cleanly.

FOR EXAMPLE: Regulating Google’s Results? Law Prof Calls ‘Search Neutrality’ Incoherent

Awesome reports from CNET and Gizmodo!

Here’s second life for news that matters. 

Phil Mocek wins his case against the TSA over the use of ID to fly.  Shortly afterward,  Jesse “The Body” Ventura – OUR HERO- launched his civil suit against the agency.

Homeland Security Showdown commentary c/o Dave Rittgers on Dana Priest’s championship budget slaying contest.  “A government agent on every corner, a wiretap on every phone” rivals Hoover’s “a chicken in every pot” these days.

Location privacy is such a big deal.  Sen. Ron Wyden introduced some mobile privacy legislation.  On Friday, Data Privacy Day, CDT will be having a dinner to talk about the subject.

The irony and duality of Zuckerberg’s Facebook identity as it was recently hacked.  People are quickly tiring from

Egypt is in denial. They are clearly flipping out and trying to suppress “revolting” Tweets and Social Networking after Wikileaks dropped a cable concerning Tunisia. One might make the jump from here as to why the “kill switch” bill is returning to the U.S. Congress.

In case you didn’t hear,  Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake was detained for a couple of hours in an attempt to visit Brad Manning, who undoubtedly is being mistreated by his captors.  If you’re not sure about this, START ASKING QUESTIONS!

“The Transportation Security Administration will honor expired driver’s licenses at the airport but travelers may have to go through some extra screening..”

c/o San Mateo Daily Journal

The Department of Motor Vehicles is suffering a massive backlog in issuing driver’s licenses due to new security features that protect against fraud and counterfeiting.

“We are still looking at six weeks to renew,” DMV spokeswoman Jan Mendoza told the Daily Journal yesterday.

The manufacturer may be having some “growing pains” or “startup issues” related to the high-tech licenses, Mendoza said.

Those who have recently renewed their licenses and have yet to receive them do not have to worry about making alternative travel plans or getting in trouble with law enforcement, for instance.

The Transportation Security Administration will honor expired driver’s licenses at the airport but travelers may have to go through some extra screening, Mendoza said.

Staff in the office of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, are helping residents in both San Francisco and San Mateo counties to secure a 120-day temporary license until the backlog is processed at DMV.


The Politics of Travel in America with Ed Hasbrouck

Ed Hasbrouck, blogger for the Practical Nomad and advocate for the Identity Project will be educating the public about what they can manageably expect to be able to do on their behalf in light of TSA privacy trends. We will be discussing the public backlash against the use and installation of the Backscatter X-Ray machines as well as travel policy.

c/o Castle Diver

To TWIC or not to TWIC, that is the question? For those of you who are looking at this acronym twice and thinking it’s a chocolate bar, read on.

The Transportation Security Administration defines the TWIC card as “a common identification credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of Maritime Transportation Security Act-regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its report on challenges relating to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. Issuance of TWICs to maritime workers was delayed, but is now largely completed.

A significant source of delay was the power failure at the government facility processing TWIC data. Full recovery from that incident pends and the cost is estimated at $26m. Development of the electronic card reader faces challenges
due to inadequate planning. GAO-10-43 (12/10/09).

Source: Bryants Maritime News

By Jill R. Aitoro 12/18/09 04:26 pm ET
c/o NextGov

After months of speculation, the Homeland Security Department officially moved back the compliance deadline for Real ID, which requires states to issue licenses that meet federal security standards.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Deputy Press Secretary Matt Chandler said, “In order to ensure that the millions of Americans traveling this holiday season are not disrupted,” DHS would extend the required Dec. 31 Real ID material compliance deadline, which required states to meet 18 interim benchmarks that support the regulation. The criteria include improvements in driver’s license and ID card physical security, authentication of source identity documents and protections of applicant’s biographical data.

The May 10, 2011, deadline for full compliance remains in effect, Chandler said, adding that “Congress must act to address systemic problems with the Real ID Act to advance our security interests over the long term.”

The extension comes after 46 of 56 states and territories informed DHS that they will not be able to meet the Dec. 31 deadline.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has made no secret of her objections to Real ID, supporting instead efforts to enact PASS ID, which would require states to issue driver’s licenses that are compliant with federal security standards by 2016 and create a $150 million grant program to help states digitize birth records. Last week, the department announced $48 million in grants for states “to help prevent terrorism, reduce fraud, and improve the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents,” Chandler said.

2010 Security Predictions

c/o The Industry Standard

The FBI issues tens of thousands of security letters to get records on individuals without warrants. Congress investigates and is appalled at the FBI’s “underreporting”. The FBI promises to do better (see 2009, and 2008 and 2007….). The 4th amendment continues to erode into meaninglessness.

* Real ID dies a deserved death and is abandoned in 2010. The brain dead idea of better-security-via-universal-ID unfortunately persists despite the enormous number of identity theft victims created by over-reliance on SSN.

* The Transportation Security Administration stops wasting billions of dollars in traveller delays by confiscating water bottles and removing shoes. Instead it focuses on real threats based on rational risk assessment, not security theater based on movie-plots (hat-tip Bruce Schneier). OK, unlikely, but I can dream, can’t I?

As always, I will revisit these at the end of the year and provide a critical analysis of my success rate.

Happy New Year everyone, and thank you for reading!

ALSO: Health privacy undermined: Worst breaches of 2009

National ID Bashing with Cato’s,

Jim Harper

Several different outlets are noting the quiet passing of a Department of Homeland Security deadline to implement our national ID law, the REAL ID Act.

In May of 2008, with many states outright rejecting this national surveillance mandate, the DHS issued blanket waivers and set a new deadline of December 31, 2009 by which states were supposed to meet several compliance goals.

They have not, and the threat that the DHS/Transportation Security Administration would prevent Americans from traveling has quieted to a whimper.

The reason why? The federal government would be blamed for it. As Neala Schwartzberg writes in her review of the push and pull over REAL ID:

If I was a betting person (and I am from time to time) I’d bet the backed-up-down-the-corridor traveler who is then turned away after presenting his or her state-issued, official complete with hologram ID will blame Homeland Security.

Does the ongoing collapse of REAL ID leave us vulnerable?

Richard Esguerra of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says in this Wired article that REAL ID “threatens citizens’ personal privacy without actually justifying its impact or improving security.”

REAL ID remains a dead letter. All that remains is for Congress to declare it so. And it may be dawning on Congress that passing it a second time under the name “PASS ID” will not work.


In less than six weeks, the federal government will be treating New Mexicans as foreigners, as your state driver’s license may no longer get you through airport security.

Drivers Licenses Won’ Be Valid At Airports

New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Secretary Rick Homans said a federal law called “The Real ID Act” is putting your driver’s license in jeopardy to be used for travel security.

“Right now it’s a game of chicken, between the federal government and the state governments,” Homans said.

The Bush administration passed the law, designed to stop terrorists from entering the country, after Sept. 11, 2001. All 50 states have to comply with its regulations by Jan. 1, 2010.

[BTC- Nothing will happen if States do not comply. Funding will not be cut. No large electrocution from the sky will befall States. Nothing… will happen except Washington will have to accept that these regulations are inappropriate for American life. More and more Americans are adjusting to a life of inconvenience as an alternative to a life of surveillance. 36 States have already called DHS bluff. Just repeal it. Repeal the Real ID Act.]

Sec. Rick Homans said the clock is ticking and New Mexico is nowhere near close.

“The way it is right now, come Jan. 1st, residents of New Mexico and residents of about 25 other states wouldn’t be allowed to board airplanes unless they had a valid passport.”

The biggest issue is that New Mexico gives driver’s licenses to foreign nationals and illegal immigrants, which under the new law, would be illegal. The Obama administration has been promising to modify the law, but so far no action has been taken. Lawmakers in Washington have been so consumed with health care reform that the “Real ID” law issue has been put on the back burner.

“So I think that’s the issue our delegation in Washington needs to deal with,” Homans said.

The U.S. needs to re-examine all [Real ID] policies and evaluate them on their privacy-protection and gendering implications, and then scrap any one of them that prevents innocent people from moving around freely. This war on an abstract noun is no excuse for denying anyone their freedom of mobility.

How “counter-terrorism” denies trans people freedom of movement

By Quinn Albaugh for The McGill Daily
Published: Nov 3

It’s uncontroversial to argue that everyone should have freedom of mobility. However, at present, American trans people have their freedom of movement restricted compared to other Americans.

The recent focus on “counter-terrorism” in law enforcement and government agencies has severely limited trans people’s freedom. In the name of the War on Terror, the U.S. government has increased restrictions on identity documents, which are necessary for trans and cis people to drive, fly, cross borders, or engage in many kinds of movement. Following September 11, the Bush administration asked all states to tighten laws about changing one’s gender marker on driver’s licenses. Additionally, according to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, “in local jurisdictions, procedures for changing your name have been made more difficult.” Whether or not identity documents are as important for “national security” as the U.S. government has suggested, these policies unduly deny trans people access to various modes of transportation, since many trans people’s gender presentation will be in flux at one moment or another.

Perhaps the most terrifying new policy regarding identity documents has been the Real ID Act, which essentially creates a de facto national ID card out of state driver’s licenses. This act entails massive and particularly threatening violations of trans people’s privacy. For example, the National Center for Transgender Equality states that in 2008, the Real ID’s guidelines mandated that all state driver’s licenses contain a bar-code that would hold information on gender and name changes – information which would out trans people against their will. Thankfully, this provision was removed, and several states have passed laws stating that they will not comply with the Real ID Act. However, even under the more recent version – or under a proposed alternative bill called PASS ID – states would have to store birth certificates and other identification digitally, which could still out trans people at borders, airports, and even during routine traffic stops. The fact that this remains an issue under the Obama administration shows that we can’t just blame Bush for this policy – this requirement is part of a wider social perspective on what’s “necessary” or “acceptable” in counter-terrorism tactics.

Additionally, in 2003, the U.S. government advised airports to be suspicious of “men dressed in women’s clothing.” This directive limits the ability of many kinds of trans people to present themselves as they choose while travelling. They are forced to decide between their freedom of movement or their authentic gender presentation. As far as I can tell, a case involving a cross-dressing terrorist has yet to materialize; if it had, the news coverage of such a momentous occasion would have been inescapable. This argument parallels the right-wing strategy of countering trans non-discrimination laws by arguing that, if we pass such laws, we’ll see (male) sexual predators “invading” women’s bathrooms. In both cases, the justification for policies that allow discrimination against trans people is “protecting” people against an invented bogeyman. Unfortunately, these strategies have proven to be effective.

The “no-fly” lists that U.S. government agencies have developed are the most recent attempt to reduce freedom of mobility for trans people. In August, the Transportation Security Agency enacted new policies requiring airlines to check whether people are on these “no-fly” lists. The new policies also require all passengers to provide their gender and date of birth to whomever is booking their ticket. These restrictions come on the heels of regulations put in place in May that require passengers to use their legal name exactly as it appears on their ID. There is no oversight of how these private individuals use information about a passenger’s gender; it’s entirely possible that airlines and travel agencies may store this information in a database, which could make it difficult for trans people to determine on their own if they want to out themselves while travelling – someone else will have power over that information.

The U.S. needs to re-examine all of these policies and evaluate them on their privacy-protection and gendering implications, and then scrap any one of them that prevents innocent people from moving around freely. This war on an abstract noun is no excuse for denying anyone their freedom of mobility.

Quinn Albaugh writes for The McGill Daily every week. Tell ’em about your cross-dressing terrorist sightings at: