Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cleared for takeoff

The corporate travel group at work sent out an email recently to apprise me of a great corporate perk.

We all had the chance to sign up for a service that will allow us to bypass security lines at most major airports around the country.

If you've flown recently, you've probably seen the booths for this company, Clear, popping up at airports near you. I've seen them in San Francisco, Atlanta and New York.

I only travel two or three times a year, but after my most recent experience at the Atlanta airport my interest in such a service was piqued. Who needs, thought I, a four hour security ordeal?

So I nibble on the bait sent out in the email and go to the Clear website for more info. The price, $130 bucks, is a bit steep, especially for a infrequent traveler like myself. My company wouldn't pick up the expense, but I might be able to justify it anyway based on some vacation travel we're planning for later in the year.

So I read on, and here's where they lose me.

Part of the "enrollment" process is that you have to give at least two pieces of approved government-issued identification to some stranger at one of their airport kiosks. Also, you have to voluntarily allow them to capture images of your irises and fingerprints, as well as a photograph.

So you're basically paying $130 to add your ID (finger prints and retinal scan) to a database that you can be damn sure will get into government hands -- maybe added to a list of some kind?

Now my knowledge of history isn't as good as, say, a San Francisco free-Tibet hippie freak, but I'm pretty sure that this kind of list would be similar to the kinds of list that people with names like Hitler and Stalin used.

And even if I'm wrong on that count, I KNOW that this kind of thing has been a significant concept in all kinds of post-apocalyptic dystopian literature and movies.

Look, I'm too paranoid to even use my real name on an inconsequential blog read by a bunch of losers (no, not you, you're the cool one). I'm still trying to figure out how to stop the NSA from tracking my Google searches. I need to focus on making sure my own government isn't using the British traffic cameras to spy on me.

There's no way a tinfoil hat-wearing, government-not-trusting, X-Files-believing suspicious sunuvabich like me is going to freely turn over my freaking retinal scan to the gubmint!

Don't even waste my time.

Now, I gotta go renew my Hen House shopper rewards card.

tagged: , , , , , ,


  1. i'm with you dude. what freaks me out are the folks who want to collect DNA from people even when they are charged with no crime, only being questioned or whatever. You know, just in case they want to be able to track your innocent ass everywhere it's ever been.

  2. For those of us with nothing to hide, Clear is genius. You are obviously a card-carrying Al-Qaeda member.

  3. But emaw, surely even a moderate conservative like you can see that if you aren't willing to give up your privacy and anonymity to help the gubbmint protect you from the Islamofascists Evil Doers, you are practically renouncing your citizenship and joining al Qaeda.

    Why do you hate America, emaw? Why?

  4. BTW, I just googled al Qaeda to make sure I was spelling it correctly and...

    Oops! Gotta go...someone's at the door!


  5. That "I have nothing to hide" deal is just evil. What if they have your DNA and based on that kick you out of your medical insurance. Why voluntarily, just for convenience, share you most valuable private information? What if they told you that you can park in the handicapped spot if they implant a chip in your head?
    Emaw,(I thought this is your real name),to foil Hen House's plot to track your grocery intake at the blogger meet throw all card in a hat and then pull one at random. Then they will have a record to to the wrong name which is worthless. Or better yet give your second card to me, so they will have to ponder why you suddenly started buying borscht ingredients.You are welcome.

  6. when I was posting this reply blogger went "unavailable"...this country have been very very good to me...

  7. Jesus if the feds were to look at my price chopper card what would they think?

    Jim Beam
    Camel Lights
    Ice cream sandwiches
    Port wine cheese spread

    There's got to be a gene with a propensity to this combo.

  8. I am very stingy on the details I give any company for my "convenience". Look at the way the phone companies bent over backwards for the governments non-warranted wire taps. The next big scare will have folks like clear and Hen House ponying up all the info they can, just to help defend freedom.

    Oh, and since when does Price Chopper carry Astroglide???

  9. I'm right there with you -- and I have a bit of trouble with the fact that there's a for-profit company sporting the "race through security for $130" -

    Besides, it's an absolute riot to watch the incredible amount of douciness involved with the typical people waiting in line at the airport.

    THere's just something about crabby TSA workers mixed with infrequent travels that makes me happy.

    Hope you enjoy Gitmo - we'll try and take a moment of silence for you at the next meet-up


Your turn to riff...