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Tuesday, 02 September, 2008

Circumventing Security Theater
(with comments)

Bruce Schneier describes how to get around the TSA's useless photo ID rules.

Anyone on the no-fly list can easily fly whenever he wants. Even worse, the whole concept of matching passenger names against a list of bad guys has negligible security value.

How to fly, even if you are on the no-fly list: Buy a ticket in some innocent person's name. At home, before your flight, check in online and print out your boarding pass. Then, save that web page as a PDF and use Adobe Acrobat to change the name on the boarding pass to your own. Print it again. At the airport, use the fake boarding pass and your valid ID to get through security. At the gate, use the real boarding pass in the fake name to board your flight.

The problem is that it is unverified passenger names that get checked against the no-fly list. At security checkpoints, the TSA just matches IDs to whatever is printed on the boarding passes. The airline checks boarding passes against tickets when people board the plane. But because no one checks ticketed names against IDs, the security breaks down.

Fortunately, real terrorists will never be able to figure that out.

Permalink | Posted in General |
  1. By Eddie. Comment posted 02-Sep-2008 @07:16am:
    The much easier and more legal way to go about it is to just add your middle initial. As long as that doesn't match too, you don't get snagged in the system. I do agree it is a stupid and pointless system though.
  2. By George. Comment posted 02-Sep-2008 @11:40am:
    I think the easiest and most obvious solution is that all passengers need to enter a private room and change into TSA provided jumpsuits and leave all of their clothing and other carry-on items in a special TSA provided duffel bag that then gets shipped via ground transportation to the destination. Then we will have finally beaten the terrorists and won the war on terror.
  3. By Bisbonian. Comment posted 02-Sep-2008 @02:18pm:
    Then we will have finally beaten the terrorists and won the war on terror.

    ...until the terrorists get hired to drive the shipping trucks...
    (no, that couldn't happen).
  4. By jm. Comment posted 02-Sep-2008 @06:23pm:
    We just need another 40,000 federal employees to check the tickets and make sure they match the IDs.
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