Yesterday, I blogged about Christopher Soghoian’s print your own boarding pass tool. Quite a few people (including the FBI) are taking the wrong lesson from this. Wrong lessons include “we shouldn’t be allowed to print boarding passes,” “we should check ID at the gate,” and “Christopher Soghoian should be arrested.”
The right lesson is that the TSA is putting us all through a silly wringer based on an ID system they know is so porous as to be irrelevant. Much like they did with the “imminent threat” of “liquid bombs” wherein alleged conspirators didn’t have passports, the powers that be are responding with theater, rather than saying “it doesn’t matter.”
If we wanted useful screening, we would screen passengers at the door of the plane, like they do in, say, the Czech republic. It’s too expensive. We might consider more air marshals. It’s too expensive. Removing a line of seats, and making the flight deck a larger area, with a sealed off washroom and kitchen. It’s too expensive. And frankly, there are much better ways to spend our money, including leaving it in the hands of the taxpayers. I digress.
There’s nothing in the print your own boarding pass that needs fixing, except bad and expensive theater. Let’s fix the problem by admitting that ID checking does no good, rather than acting all shocked at the power of a good demo.