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TSA's Useless Photo ID Rules

Earlier this summer, the TSA was patting its own back for finally requiring that people show IDs in order to travel. It's little-known that it wasn't actually required to show ID when you traveled in the past. You would simply be subject to secondary screening and then you could go on your way. Now the rules have been toughened up, but they're not exactly going to be effective.

Sure, people are scared about it. I even had someone write in on Cranky Flier concerned about what might happen if an ID was lost. While it's sufficiently made the masses nervous, it hasn't really done much for security.

Security-guru Bruce Schneier points out that these rules are so easy to get around it's a joke. He argues that money should be spent on better measures, like intelligence, and that makes a lot of sense. But there's still something for airlines to think about here. Should they institute ID checks of their own?

Right now, if you check-in online at home, the only place you need to show your ID is at security. The airline will never ask you for it. And that's where a lot of these identity problems become easier to circumvent. Airlines need to do their own security evaluation and determine if it's worth it for them to step up their efforts. What if they decided to require ID when you board the aircraft?

That would clearly close some of these loopholes, but it would undoubtedly leave other ones open. While it is something to consider, my guess is that working with the TSA to spend their money on better methods would be the best possible thing they could do. There will always be holes, but by refocusing, things can get better.

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