24 October 2008

U.S. Flyers Required To Provide Full Name & Date-of-Birth In 2009

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24/10/2008 - U.S. Flyers Required To Provide Full Name & Date-of-Birth In 2009

As a flyer I am very much in favour of security.

Let me clarify the above statement.........As a flyer I am very much in favour of effective security.

What I am not in favour of as a flyer, as a US Citizen and as a U.S tax payer, is an ineffective security system that increasingly reminds me of George Orwell’s classic novel "1984," that in return offers the traveling public no additional effective security measures.

Beginning in 2009 flyers in the United States will be required to provide airlines with their full name and date of birth. Currently you can purchase tickets with your first two initials and your last name, and no other information is required, now you'll need to provide first, middle, last name in your reservation.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
has stated that the new rules will dramatically reduce the number of flyers who are mistaken for those on the "No Fly List," which includes those on the terrorist watch list. Given that the "No Fly List" has never caught a terrorist, or come close to catching a terrorist, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may want to revamp its security measures in a less invasive manner to those traveling in the United States.

Flyers who fail to provide their full name and date of birth will be unable to print boarding passes at home, or at the airport, for any flight originating or terminating in the United States, as of July 2009. If you fail to provide this information you will be required to check in with an airline's counter agent and provide them with the information.

I do not believe these new security rules will in any way deter a terrorist from purchasing an airline ticket. The new security measures will it certainly not prevent a terrorist from boarding a flight.

As discussed in this post, 20/10/2008 – TSA Rolls Out PDA Based Boarding Pass : A Security Double Standard, anyone with a credit card or debit card can purchase a ticket online with anyone's name on it. Airline tickets can even be purchased with 'Gift Cards’ with a Visa/MasterCard/Amex logo, or an airline's gift card, these cards are not traceable back to the person using them. When the person who intends to use the ticket checks in online they simply create a PDF file of the boarding pass, then save it and import it into Photoshop. Once the PDF is open in Photoshop any name can be entered on the boarding pass. All anyone needs to do is to show proper identification and a boarding pass to get through security.

The Department of Homeland Security should begin the process of making encrypted scan-bars on boarding passes a high priority. An encrypted scan-bar would be virtually impossible to forge and change the name of the passenger using that boarding pass.

Requiring a full name and date of birth of a passenger may reduce the name of false-positives on the 'No Fly List,' but it will not reduce a determined person's ability to do harm should they choose to. There needs to be a more secure system in place......and this new one simply isn't it.

This new system is an attempt to demonstrate security to the public by creating something that sounds viable, but in reality offers nothing. This is the Transportation Security Administration's way of saying "we are focused on security,' when in reality the security loop holes are wide open and glaring.

TSA Chief Kip Hawley is quoted as saying "You have to give this information." I'd like to reply to Mr. Hawley’s quote and say "You have to provide us with valid and well planned out security measures for the flying public."

Happy Flying!

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