Jun 23 2008

TSA Changes Airport ID Requirement; ID-Less Could Be Denied Right to Fly

The Transportation Security Administration has changed its airport ID requirement. These changes allow the agency to deny the right to fly to individuals who “willfully refuse” to present government-issued identification at an airport security checkpoint. The TSA’s press release, which is how we learn about changes in the law, now reads in part as follows:

Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.

This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers. Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures.

In Gilmore v. Gonzales (Gilmore was represented by The Identity Project Director James Harrison), we learned that the pre-June 21, 2008 policy allowed individuals who willfully refused to present government-issued identification to fly if they submitted to extra security screening. This new regulation is a substantial change that was made without public review through the usual Federal Register notice and comment process.

Under the new policy, individuals who have lost their government-issued ID cards, but are “cooperative with officers” (an undefined phrase) may travel. TSA states that they now can prevent individuals from flying if they “willfully refuse” to present government-issued identification. They also state that this new policy has been reviewed for its constitutionality.

On June 21, 2008, IDP filed a FOIA request for a copy of this new regulation. A copy of IDP’s FOIA request is here (pdf).

More coverage on the ID requirement change and why identification-based security does not work at: Wired News, CNet News, Ars Technica, Schneier on Security, Concurring Opinions, and a CNN story and video.

7 thoughts on “TSA Changes Airport ID Requirement; ID-Less Could Be Denied Right to Fly

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  5. A related FOIA request I made was denied for non-specificity. I’d appreciate any suggestions about how to respond.

    My request was for “access to and copies of any documents pertaining to Transportation Security Administration policies regarding discovery and verification of identities of passengers by TSA staff at airports in the United States.”

    TSA’s FOIA office responded:

    “Your FOIA request does not clearly identify the records that you are seeking with sufficient specificity for us to reasonably identify where responsive records might be located. DHS regulations, 6 C.F.R. Section 5.3(b) require that you describe the records you are seeking with as much information as possible to ensure that our search can locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipients, and subject matter of the records, if known, or the DHS component or office you believe created and/or controls the record.

    “The FOIA does not require an agency to create new records, answer questions posed by requesters, or attempt to interpret a request that does not identify specific records.

    “Please clarify your request containing a reasonable description of the records you are seeking. Please let us know if you have any questions.”

    I’m considering requesting any sections (or pages?) of TSA standard operating procedures that contain any of the words, identification, identity, identify, and ID.

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