Jun 08 2020

TSA to take mug shots of domestic air travelers

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has officially although quietly announced that, as it has planned for years, its deployment of mug-shot machines at airport checkpoints will move from pilot projects to the new normal for domestic air travelers. According to a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) released last week, the TSA plans to integrate facial recognition […]

Dec 03 2019

Seattle Port Commission to consider rules for airport facial recognition

We’ll be in Seattle on December 10, 2019, to give public comments (see our detailed written testimony submitted in advance) at a meeting of the Port of Seattle Commission concerning a proposed resolution on use of facial recognition by airlines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). This will be the first time that any operator […]

Jul 25 2019

Can you “opt out” of TSA groping or virtual strip-searches?

Two recent decisions — one an administrative decision by the TSA,  and the other a judicial decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals —  have dealt with, but failed to resolve, the question of whether, in the face of unpredictable demands for more intrusive searches, an airline passenger can “opt out” if they decide […]

May 24 2018

DHS aggregating commercial biometric data and position logs

The DHS is proposing to expand its biometric identification and surveillance programs, and its collaboration with commercial entities in biometric-based surveillance, with the creation of a new database of “External Biometric Records” (EBR). EBR would include (1) biometric identifiers (such as facial photos, iris scans, fingerprints, DNA profiles, etc.) and (2) logs of the location, […]

Apr 13 2017

Yes, you can fly without ID

On average, 77,000 people each year — more than 200 a day — pass through TSA checkpoints to board airline flights in the USA without showing ID. Ninety-eight percent of the would-be travelers who show up at TSA checkpoints without ID are allowed to board their flights. Only two percent are turned back. The average […]

Dec 21 2016

“AFI” is the latest DHS name for “extreme vetting”

We’ve heard a lot of talk in recent months about “extreme vetting” of immigrants, Muslims, and foreign visitors to the US. But what does “extreme vetting” really mean? “Vetting” of both domestic and international travelers — making predictive pre-crime decisions as to whether or not to allow them to travel — is already extreme, and […]

Oct 07 2016

“Following the money” in travel surveillance

The growth of a homeland-security industrial complex funded by single-source contracts and shielded by knee-jerk invocation of “security” as an excuse for secrecy has created huge opportunities for cronyism and collusion between lobbyists, contractors, and government officials. The poster child for this revolving door and its invidious effects on government policies and spending is former Secretary […]