Permission and Papers Now Required To Travel For All Earth's Peoples

grarpamp grarpamp at
Wed Feb 20 21:33:06 PST 2019

A white paper on the use of PNR and API data (airline reservations),
published by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) in January 2019, lays out more starkly than ever before the
goal of governments around the world: a permission-based system of
government control and prior restraint in which a common carrier must
receive “Authority to Carry” (authority to transport) with respect to
each passenger, before allowing them to  board any flight.

We’ve talked about this sort of permission-based travel control
before, including in this 2013 overview of the system of US government
surveillance and control of travel. (See our slides from that
presentation).  But we’ve rarely seen governments spell out so
explicitly their intent to convert travel from a right to a privilege
which can be exercise only by permission of the police:

    An iAPI system allows for a two-way communication in near
real-time. The airlines transmit the API message on a per-person basis
to the requesting authorities at the time of check-in, while law
enforcement agencies have the opportunity to decide whether a certain
person is allowed or not to board a plane by issuing a board/no-board

The OSCE document, brought to our attention by Statewatch and NoPNR,
is the latest revision of a white paper on “the use of Advance
Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR)” data,
revised following an OSCE seminar on “Passenger Data Exchange” with
governments held in November 2018.

The diagram and description of the iAPI permission system and the
mention of “Authority to Carry” — transforming the use of API and PNR
from passive surveillance to active government control and prior
restraint — have been added since the previous version of the white
paper posted by OSCE in March 2018, less than a year ago.

Why the new openness about this government agenda? As the white paper
and other recent international initiatives for surveillance and
control of travel make clear,  governments have been emboldened by
their largely successful (to date) policy laundering efforts to get
travel surveillance and control mandated by the UN Security Council in
the name  of the War On Terror and/or “aviation security” mandate.

This purported authority is of questionable validity, given that it
contravenes rights to freedom of movement recognized by international
treaties and the  US Constitution. And the actual basis, if any, for
declining to give “Authority to Carry” a particular disfavored
individual often has nothing to do with terrorism, aviation security,
or any crime.

But the willingness of governments such as the members of OSCE to talk
openly about their travel control agenda reflects their belief that
they have obtained all the legal authority they need, and no longer
have to worry about public outrage at the idea that they think freedom
of movement is a special privilege, not a right.

The OSCE white paper also includes this chilling map of the countries
where governments already obtain copies of commercial information
about air travelers, before their flights:

These travel surveillance and control systems rely on systems for
identification of travelers, which are being developed and mandated in
parallel. Those efforts will be the focus of the next  annual
symposium and exhibition on ICAO’s Traveller Identification Programme
(TRIP)  at ICAO headquarters in Montreal from June 25-28, 2019.

Only public expressions of outrage, and public acts of resistance,
will get governments that want to control our movements to back down
before this sort of permission-based control  of our movements
becomes, as they intend, the global norm.

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