“Mother, may I?”

Should you have to ask for permission from the government before you are allowed to get on a plane or cruise ship?

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed that airlines and cruise ships be required to get individual permission (”clearance”) from the DHS for each individual passenger on all flights to, from, or via the U.S. Unless the answer is “Yes” — if the answer is “no” or “maybe”, or if the DHS doesn’t answer at all — the airline wouldn’t be allowed to give you a boarding pass, or let you or your luggage on the plane or ship.

The Identity Project, along with the World Privacy Forum and John Gilmore, has filed comments with the DHS objecting to this proposal as a violation of international human rights, First Amendment rights, and privacy and government accountability laws.

This is the third of three identification-related “rulemakings” in the last month and a half in which the DHS has proposed to restrict the right to travel. IDP has filed formal objections to each of these proposals:

30 Responses to ““Mother, may I?””

  1. Bill St. Clair Says:

    Your description of the proposed rule is not quite accurate. The rule proposes that airlines and ships be required to provide passenger manifests to DHS before travel, and that DHS may deny travel. It does not require a “Yes” answer, just the absence of a “No”. Still despicable, and to be fought tooth and nail, but not as you described.

  2. Edward Hasbrouck Says:

    Bill St. Clair says, “It does not require a ‘Yes’ answer, just the absence of a ‘No’.” Unfortunately, this is not correct. According to the proposal, “A carrier must not board any passenger subject to a ‘not-cleared’ instruction, or any other passenger, or their baggage, unless cleared by CBP.” In this context, “any other passenger” is a passenger with respect to whom the airline has received no instructions, or something other than a “cleared” or “not-cleared” message. The absence of a “No” is not sufficient: the airline must receive an individual “Yes”.

  3. Too many topics, too little time. » Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » “Mother, may I?” Says:

    [...] Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » “Mother, may I?”: Should you have to ask for permission from the government before you are allowed to get on a plane or cruise ship? The Department of Homeland Security has proposed that airlines and cruise ships be required to get individual permission (”clearance”) from the DHS for each individual passenger on all flights to, from, or via the U.S. Unless the answer is “Yes” — if the answer is “no” or “maybe”, or if the DHS doesn’t answer at all — the airline wouldn’t be allowed to give you a boarding pass, or let you or your luggage on the plane or ship. [...]

  4. Dr Benway Says:

    Concerning “any other passenger”
    Are you sure this refers to the issue of “cleared” vs “not-cleared”?
    When I read the regulation in question, I also see a reading where “any other passenger” refers to people not included on the transmitted manifest. This is to say, people listed on the manifest and marked as ‘not-cleared’ AND people not on the transmitted manifest must not be boarded. This second reading puts the proposed regulation in a less sinister light.

    Not being experienced in understanding regulations, I could of course be off base here; I look forward to your reply.

  5. Rick Says:

    Help me understand the status of this. Does this require Congressional approval, or because it is only “rules” subject just to DHS approval?

    We need to publicly object through the media, who seem clueless about this.

    Thanks.

  6. adin Says:

    Does anyone have a link to the docket USCBP-2005-0003-0003 or USCBP-2005-0003-0005?

    Docket searches on regulations.gov for those docket #’s come back empty…and I guess I’m rather dense for not being able to find the direct link, but I’d really like to see the documents as hosted on a .gov website.

    thanks in advance!

  7. adin Says:

    Nevermind, I see that the actual docket to search for was USCBP-2005-003.

    D’oh! I see the IDP made it in as comment 45/45.1

  8. Edward Hasbrouck Says:

    Dr Benway asks, “Concerning ‘any other passenger, are you sure this refers to the issue of “cleared” vs “not-cleared”? When I read the regulation in question, I also see a reading where ‘any other passenger’ refers to people not included on the transmitted manifest.”

    It does refer to people not on the transmitted manifest. But it *also* refers to anyone other than those with respect to whom a “cleared” message is received. In other words, the *default* is a prohibition on travel, unless there is an explicit individual “cleared” message.

  9. wildsoda Says:

    PMI, but is this a rule that could be put into effect without legislative oversight, or would it have to be voted on in Congress? Also, I imagine that this new rule would be a raging headache for airlines — wouldn’t they would lobby hard against its passage, and could they have any effect?

  10. ptr Says:

    Maybe you are all right, but is it not a bit detailscrapping. my feeling about the law-adjustments the US Gov. took over the last few weeks is very alarming. Military Commission Act, Patriot Act, Martial Law, and now this. Only 3 other dictatorships ordered for this. North Korea, Stalins Sovjets and Nazi-Deutschland. The piled up lies about 9-11, Afghanistan, Iraq, the failure of FEMA in the Katrina debacle, the concentrationcamps of the victims, Graib, Guatanamo, the CIA flights and prisons. The testing of new arms in Iraq and in Lebanon and Gaza. Pushing Iran into a war. Destroying education, healthcare, the elderly-aid and the veteran-care on a scale even we can hear here in Europe. What has happened to the land of the free and the brave. Kidnapped? By the Untouchables?
    Ptr, Rotterdam

  11. khatores Says:

    Actual source located here: http://users.adelphia.net/~neonbird/USCBP-2005-0003-0003.pdf

    Doesn’t seem like it would have been impossible to put this in the original article. This sort of omission doesn’t exactly help the image of blogs as a credible journalistic source.

  12. John Gilmore Says:

    Rick and Wildsoda, these proposed rules are all Executive Branch administrative actions. None of them would require Congressional approval. Welcome to the modern bureaucratic state.

  13. Suburban Guerrilla » Your Papers, Please Says:

    [...] It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “The Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans!” - especially after I read things like this: Should you have to ask for permission from the government before you are allowed to get on a plane or cruise ship? [...]

  14. wildsoda Says:

    Khatores — It wouldn’t have been impossible to put the link in the original article, but by your own admission everything claimed here is true, and there is evidence to back it up. An omission like that is not a demonstration of lack of journalistic credibility, merely one of editorial oversight.

    Journalists at magazines and newspapers have editors whose job it is to make sure that articles include such things. (I know this because I’m an editor myself.) But bloggers don’t have another pair of eyes on their pieces before they’re published (I know this because I’m a blogger myself), and sometimes details slip.

    To state that “blogs are not credible” simply because one blogger truthfully reported something factual — something that was independently verifiable, as you demonstrated — but forgot to add a link to it, is just a bit overblown, don’t you think?

  15. Edward Hasbrouck Says:

    The Regulations.gov Web site is designed so that it doesn’t permit static links to specific documents. For those who are having trouble navigating the .gov Web site, here are links to mirror copies of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the DHS Regulatory Assessement. Note also that the NPRM does not state when the proposed rule would be effective, contrary to some secondary and tertiary sources reporting this story, including the one that was Slashdotted. Keep watching the Federal Register, or this blog, for a notice of a final rule with an effective date.

  16. Steve Koppelman’s Catalogue of Poorly Catalogued Things, Otherwise Known as “hatless.com” » Blog Archive » U.S. Sovietization Watch, Part LVII Says:

    [...] Eek. [...]

  17. James Says:

    What member or members of the government should I call or write to in order to effectively voice my complaints about this? What legal body or representative? Also, is there some action being taken by the public or an organization acting in the public’s interests to fight this in the form of letters or other methods of communication that I could participate in?

    I appreciate your actions already, but mass public opposition may also help the cause, and if available, I would like to take part.

  18. maggie Says:

    What does the government gain by restricting people from LEAVING the country? How do they justify this? If it were an anti-terrorist law meant to protect people then what’s to be gained by keeping a terrorist from leaving? There are already ridiculous security measures to ensure flight safety so what do they claim is their objective?

  19. bitter-girl :: musings :: Says:

    [...] Check it out here and here: The Department of Homeland Security has proposed that airlines and cruise ships be required to get individual permission (”clearance”) from the DHS for each individual passenger on all flights to, from, or via the U.S. Unless the answer is “Yes” — if the answer is “no” or “maybe”, or if the DHS doesn’t answer at all — the airline wouldn’t be allowed to give you a boarding pass, or let you or your luggage on the plane or ship. [...]

  20. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Every traveler is a target Says:

    [...] The database will be used for “targeting”. The DHS doesn’t say what will happen to you if your lifetime travel score makes you one of their targets, but presumably it will be one of the factors the DHS will use to decide whether to give you permission to travel. The Identity Project has filed comments with the DHS, objecting to this proposal. Among other things, we’ve pointed out that Congress has expressly forbidden the DHS from spending a penny on any system like this to assign risk scroes to airline passengers, and that the Privacy Act forbids any Federal agency form collecting information abotu how we exercise rights protected by the First Amendment — like our right to travel — except as expressly directed by Congress. [...]

  21. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » DHS dismisses the right to travel Says:

    [...] So I guess they mean that as long as they give us permission to travel, they can impose whatever restrictions they feel like on how, when, or where we are allowed to travel, or what papaers we need? [...]

  22. cruise master Says:

    Personally, I am not sure I wanna go out like that. or even go near the water again

  23. JOMS Says:

    MR. HASBROUCK, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT WOULD PROBABLY HAPPEN TO A PERSON WHO IS NOT ALLOWED TO BOARD DUE TO WHATEVER REASON, i.e., Misidentified or erroneously “not cleared” would-be travelers..WHAT WOULD VETTING DO TO IDENTIFY AN ERRONEOUSLY “NOT CLEARED” PASSENGER FROM A “HIGH RISK” ONE? ..PRESUMABLY, in the eyes of DHS, THAT “HIGH RISK” PERSON MUST BE A TERRORIST AND COULD/SHOULD BE DETAINED ON THE SPOT, WITHOUT DUE PROCESS, ETC…IT MAKES ME WONDER WHAT PERSON THAT’S EVER SPOKEN OUT AGAINST THE CURRENT REGIME, TAKEN PART IN PEACE DEMOS, PERHAPS EVEN VOTED AGAINST MR. BUSH, ETC., WILL EVER WANT TO RISK SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE BY PLANNING TO TAKE AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT OR CRUISE FROM OUR SHINY SHORES? I BECAME SUSPICIOUS WHEN I SCANNED THRU THE PROPOSAL AND RAN ACROSS THE TERMS…”SECURE HIGH RISH PASSENGERS”…”DETAIN FOR FURTHER VETTING, ETC.” PLEASE REFER TO SECTION III , PARA A.1.5, SENTENCES 3, AND IN PARA 7 AND 8 OF THE PROPOSAL…KINDLY FORWARD RESPONSE TO MY EMAIL IF POSSIBLE…THANKS.

  24. JOMS Says:

    i SUBMITTED A REPLY ON December 22nd, 2006 at 9:27 pm IT APPEARS WITH MY FULL NAME, HOWEVER I WOULD PREFER THIS NOT BE THE CASE. PLEASE CHANG THE NAME TO : “JOMS”.

    tHANK YOU FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

  25. Lori Says:

    1. Like the former East Bloc, America will be a nation that builds walls to keep people IN.

    2. Like apartheid-era South Africa, America (thanks to ‘Real ID’) will be a nation with internal passports, a ‘pass law.’ Fans of Faux network series “Dark Angel” will recall the notion of ’sector passes.’

    3. Since the passports (and eventually the people) contain RFID chips, it’s basically a human inventory-tracking system.

    4. Since there will be a travel-eligible social class, access to some economic opportunities will be restricted. Expect the combined impact of global capital mobility and restricted labor mobility to be strengthened, for a faster race to the bottom.

  26. music Says:

    What do you mean ?

  27. Valdez Says:

    I appreciate your actions already, but mass public opposition may also help the cause, and if available, I would like to take part.

  28. music lover Says:

    ////Since there will be a travel-eligible social class, access to some economic opportunities will be restricted. Expect the combined impact of global capital mobility and restricted labor mobility to be strengthened, for a faster race to the bottom.////

    I consider, that in real conditions there will be all in another way

  29. AutoMen Says:

    It does not require a “Yes” answer, just the absence of a “No”. Still despicable, and to be fought tooth and nail, but not as you described. Hell me pliss

  30. Jason Says:

    do you know if the stuff on sites like http://www.legal-ecstasy.com works?

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