In new moves that will affect both US citizens and any foreign travellers to the US, a series of recent publications in the Federal Register, the
Department of Homeland Security is proposing a comprehensive new system
of surveillance and, perhaps more important, control of both domestic and international travellers.
The proposed new rules, which are currently open for public comments, would require that:
- All would be international travellers to or from the USA (even US
citizens crossing the U.S.-Canada border on foot) would have to have government-issued ID credentials
- All would-be passengers on international or domestic flights to, from, over, via, or within the U.S. would have to have both government-issued ID credentials and explicit case-by-case prior permission from the DHS to the airline to allow each passenger to board a plane.
The proposed rules would enforce the requirements for papers and permits through default provisions that would:
- Require all air travellers to show their papers (”government-issued
photo ID”) to airline staff on request of the DHS, under penalty of
denial of transportation.
- Forbid any airline from issuing a boarding pass to anyone, or
allowing them to baord a plane, unless and until the airline received
individual permission (a “cleared message”) authorizing that airline to
allow that specific person on that specific flight.
The “Notices of Proposed Rulemaking” (NPRM) and Privacy (invasion)
Act “System of Records Notices (SORNs) dismiss the right ot travel out
of hand, and ignore provisions of international law, the Bill of
Rights, and Federal law recognizing a right to free domestic and
international movement and a “public right of transit” by air,
requiring airlines to operate as “common carriers” and transport all
passengers paying the fare in their published tariff, and requiring the
DHS itself to condider these rights in its rulemaking.
If you haven’t gotten the proper papers, you won’t be allowed even
to leave the country, much less to return home. If the government
doesn’t choose to give the airline permission for any particular trip
you want to take, you won’t be allowed to get on a plane. And any time
any airline employee or agent says, “Papers, please!”, you’ll have to
produce them for their private inspection, copying, and use for
whatever purposes they want.
Among other problems, this amounts to a general order subjecting
travelers to private searches, and allowing the private searchers to
use any information obtained from those searches for their own
commercial or other purposes. Since it is impossible to tell who is, and who is not, actually authorized to act on behalf of the government or to whom an airline has delegated its work,
the proposed rules would effectively subject travelers to compulsory
search by anyone in any airport claiming (unverifiably) to be an agent
of an airline.
(source Papers Please)