Over at Wired’s Threat Level blog, Ryan Singel tackles the new Transportation Security Administration ID requirement. In June, TSA announced that "passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports." However, "[c]ooperative 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," before they are allowed to board their flights.
Now, those who left their license at home or had it stolen have to answer a series of questions relayed to the screener by employees in TSA’s operations center in Virginia, where employees have access to databases of public records, including those compiled by data giant Lexis Nexis.
The idea is for screeners to know that the person holding a boarding pass in the name of Buster Brown, actually is that person. For travellers without ID, they better hope that the notoriously inaccurate private dossiers about them are correct.
The process of comparing answers to public records already caused a flare-up after one traveler was asked whether he was registered as a Democrat or a Republican, which TSA spokesman Christopher White called a "day one mistake," where a TSA employee looked at the available public records and asked a question off of the information in the files compiled by Lexis Nexis and others.