TSA considers new system for flyers without ID


In accordance with a solicitation to capacity contractors printed remaining week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to outsource its present questioning of airline passengers without ID, and its decisions about which travelers without ID to permit to gallop and which to prevent from flying, to a price-based entirely system operated by a cellphone app supplied by a inner most contractor and according to (secret) commercial databases.

There’s some expedient recordsdata and a few unpleasant recordsdata in the TSA’s posting of this Predict for Recordsdata.

First, the shapely recordsdata:

1. The TSA admits that folks can and fabricate flee without ID.

In accordance with the TSA’s Predict for Recordsdata:

Prior to the COVID-19 National Emergency, TSA encountered over 2.5 million passengers a day and, on moderate, 600 instances of passengers without acceptable ID. These folks are ready to envision their identification by phone by our National Transportation Vetting Center (NTVC).

That’s nearly three events the moderate every day series of airline travelers without ID disclosed in the most modern of the TSA’s belated and aloof-incomplete responses to our Freedom of Recordsdata Act (FOIA) requests for recordsdata of travelers without ID.

2. You will aloof be ready to flee without ID, even after the TSA “implements” and “enforces” the REAL-ID Act.

Of their most modern query of postponement of their REAL-ID threats, the TSA and the Division of Fatherland Security (DHS) occupy stated that they realizing to completely implement and implement the REAL-ID Act, with admire to airline gallop, beginning October 1, 2021.

The TSA and DHS occupy usually claimed that after that date, all air travelers will “want” to cowl ID that the DHS deems compliant with the REAL-ID Act in voice to flee. And the TSA has previously indicated — in 2016 and as soon as more in May maybe moreover of 2020 —  that it supposed to change its present ID verification procedures to (illegally) advise passage by TSA checkpoints to would-be travelers who don’t present REAL-ID Act compliant ID cards.

However the TSA is now soliciting recordsdata preparatory to soliciting bids for a contract to present outsourced “identification verification” companies for air travelers without ID.

The TSA wouldn’t be on the level of solicit bids for a system to manage with air travelers without ID if the TSA planned, in a little bit more than a year, to live permitting those folks to flee the least bit.

And the TSA says that the contractor’s ID verification system for flyers without ID need to “be ready to process hundreds of transactions per hour per day [sic] dispensed all over the TSA enterprise of airports.”  Whether the TSA manner “hundreds per hour” or “hundreds per day”, that’s diverse events more than the present series of travelers without acceptable ID.

The most simple plausible reason of the expected many-fold prolong in the series of travelers without acceptable ID is that the TSA’s implementation of the REAL-ACT will consequence in quite quite a bit of more air travelers’ ID’s being deemed unacceptable, and that the outsourced system is the one the TSA plans to make exercise of for travelers without REAL-ID compliant ID.

The TSA is shopping for a brand original system for facing travelers without ID simplest due to it has been compelled to desert its long-established realizing to prevent all such folks from flying.

The largest takeaway from the TSA’s most modern query is that the TSA is (aloof) mendacity about what REAL-ID Act enforcement and implementation will mean. You will now not desire a compliant ID to flee. The procedures would possibly well well maybe also unbiased trade, however you are going to aloof be ready to flee without ID.

Right here is a important victory for our unbiased objections and for the likelihood of smartly-liked resistance.

The TSA has implicitly acknowledged that — either due to it lacks unbiased authority to prevent every person without “acceptable” or REAL-ID Act compliant ID from flying, or due to doing so would reason riots at airports or rather a couple of forms of smartly-liked resistance, or both — it  obtained’t be ready to live travelers without ID or without compliant ID from flying.

The unpleasant recordsdata is the nature of the TSA’s contemplated original procedures for flyers without ID (or without “acceptable” ID).

Presently, the TSA leaves the relaxation choice on whether or now not or to now not allow airline passengers without ID to spin by TSA or contractor-operated checkpoints to the discretion of the Federal Security Director (FSD) or their designee on accountability at the particular individual airport.

That choice would possibly well well maybe even be according to what the FSD thinks of the traveler’s looks, the nature of any “unacceptable” ID they present, whether or now not they’re sharp to pause and signal the illegal TSA Impress 415, and their responses to questions relayed by the TSA’s Identity Verification Name Center (IVCC) from the TSA National Transportation Vetting Center (NTVC) according to recordsdata in recordsdata in regards to the traveler held by the commercial recordsdata broker Accurint.

The original process it appears to be like to be being regarded as by the TSA would outsource the questioning of travelers without ID or with unacceptable ID to a inner most for-profit contractor, with that questioning to be administered by a smartphone app. The questions would possibly well well maybe be according to some aggregation of authorities and commercial recordsdata, and the answers would possibly well well maybe be assessed per some secret algorithm to generate a binary pass or fail consequence.

An identification thief (or ‘bot) with to find admission to to the commercial database feeble as the premise for “pass/fail” determinations would possibly well well maybe be better ready to anser questions in regards to the guidelines in that database than would a steady one who is unprepared for this questioning and who has no manner to understand (or to merely) what misinformation is contained in the database.

A traveler who shows up at a TSA checkpoint would, it appears to be like to be, be educated they’ve to set up the cell app, pay a price by the app (which presumably would require a credit or debit card or checking account),  entire the in-app questioning, and cowl a “pass” consequence from the app to the TSA workers or contractors in voice to “entire screening” and proceed by the checkpoint.

  • No cellphone? No flee. (We’ve seen this already in Hawaii.)
  • Your cellphone isn’t a smartphone? No flee.
  • Your smartphone has a say OS that can’t hurry the contractor’s app? No flee.
  • No charge on your cellphone battery? No flee.
  • No signal in the airport? No flee.
  • No credit or debit card? No flee.
  • Don’t know what misinformation is in recordsdata brokers’ recordsdata about you? No flee.
  • Your fable fits a “fail” profile in the contractor’s secret algorithms? No flee.

In accordance with the TSA’s Predict for Recordsdata, “The system will seemingly be ready to call if the cell phone has been or is being ‘spoofed’ or had its Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card swapped”. We’re now not certain what that’s presupposed to intend, however it suggests that you obtained’t be allowed to make exercise of a cellphone with an initiate-source running systems now not rooted to Apple or Google, similar to LineageOS, or a SIM bought anonymously.

Algorithmic profiling is required: “The process shall exercise recordsdata modeling/algorithms to call more than one possibility indicators of stolen, synthetic, or otherwise faux identities….  Indicators will seemingly be associated with a quiet identification attribute and/or linked from

the third events’ database according to the quiet attribute(s).”

Air gallop by folks without acceptable ID will seemingly be arbitrarily and illegally rationed by the TSA: “The system will seemingly be ready to make exercise of a say non-PII identifier to music and/or assist invent a configurable rule to doubtlessly limit what number of events a passenger can attempt to make exercise of this


From the originate, we’ve raised questions in regards to the dearth of unbiased basis for the TSA’s flee/no-flee choice-making procedures, and the apparent violation of more than one Federal regulations in these practices. The TSA has for years delayed responding to our objections or submitting the present series of recordsdata from travelers without ID for approval by the Place of job of Administration and Value range, as required by the Bureaucracy Reduction Act (PRA).

In the intervening time, the DHS is trying to to find Congress to exempt these programs from the nortice-and-statement requirements of the PRA and the Administrative Plan Act. On the opposite hand it’s now not obvious that Congress will seemingly be wiling to present the TSA an say exemption from these regulations.

As an different of be conscious the law, the TSA is shopping for rather a couple of ways to evade transparency and due process.

The principle reason of the TSA to outsource the questioning of travelers and scoring of answers is to evade the foundations acceptable to series and exercise of personal recordsdata by Federal agencies. The Privacy Act and the PRA are, at the least arguably, inapplicable to recordsdata quiet by commercial third events and never handed on to any Federal agency.

This, we presume, is why the TSA’s ‘s Predict for Recordsdata stipulates that “Third events’ platform(s) or recordsdata systems shall now not interface within the boundaries of TSA’s recordsdata systems.” The most simple recordsdata to be handed on to checkpoint workers would possibly well well maybe be whether or now not the identification verification contractor’s secret algorithms, according to the contractor’s secret databases, generated a “pass” or “fail” win: “The plot is to cowl to a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) that a passenger has a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’ place.”

The nominal “flee/no-flee” choice will aloof be made by the TSA, now not the contractor. However that “choice” will seemingly be a rubber-trace approval or disapproval based entirely completely on whether or now not the app shows a “pass” or “fail” win,  or whether or now not the would-be traveler doesn’t occupy an steady smartphone or is otherwise unable or unwilling to pause the app-based entirely process.

The steady query, if the TSA follows by in the outsourcing proposal, is now not so important whether or now not outsourcing questioning and scoring of answers can evade the requirements of Federal privacy statutes. The more mountainous factors that can presumably will occupy to be litigated will seemingly be whether or now not a Federal agency (or its checkpoint contractors) can lawfully advise a individual their factual to gallop by identical old provider on the premise of (1) a “fail” message from a inner most company according to standards and recordsdata that aren’t disclosed to the subject of that negative decsion,  (2) a would-be traveler’s unwillingness or incapacity to answer questions from a commercial third occasion, or (3) a traveler having feeble the identification-verification app more than the TSA’s arbitrarily-assigned most series of events.

Responses to the TSA’s s Predict for Recordsdata by prpospective contractors are due by August 28, 2020. We’ll be asking for copies of the responses pursuant to the Freedom Of Recordsdata Act, however given the TSA’s current FOIA foot-dragging, responses would possibly well well maybe hold years.

[Thanks to Gary Leff of View from the Wing and Brandi Vincent of Nextgov for calling our attention to the TSA’s Request for Information.]

Read More

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.