IN THE LATEST ATTEMPT to prove they’re “protecting you from yesterday, tomorrow,” the TSA has announced plans to insert yet another extravagantly expensive, questionably effective machine into the airport security screening process.
You know how at the entrance to the security line there’s that agent who makes sure the name on your boarding pass is the same as the one on your photo ID? Apparently that guy’s job is too hard.
According to CNN, the TSA has contracted with three companies to produce machines to “match a traveler’s boarding pass with his or her government-issued ID, while verifying that both documents are authentic.”
TSA Administrator John S. Pistole gives two reasons for the move, both of which — I’m sorry — I’ve gotta call bullshit on:
1. It will speed up the screening process. Seriously? It takes a human being like 3 seconds to match names. How could throwing another complex, malfunctionable piece of technology into the mix improve on that?
2. It will increase security. As support for this, CNN cites the following story:
In 2006, an Indiana University doctoral student created a website allowing people to create fake boarding passes to demonstrate how a known terrorist on the “No Fly” list could use a fake boarding pass to get past a checkpoint. Once on the other side, the terrorist could use a real boarding pass acquired under an alias to board a plane. [emphasis mine]
2006! How big a threat is it if it’s taken them this long to come up with a solution?
So, stupid idea. But it also gets really depressing when you read that the contracts — awarded to BAE Systems Information Solutions, NCR Government Systems, and Trans Digital Technologies — total $237 million, and only buy 30 machines.
WTF? I guess add this to the list of Reasons the TSA is NOT Making Us Safer, and Why It Needs to be Reformed NOW.