1984: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Fri May 6 23:19:31 PDT 2022

>> USA not in Kansas anymore,
>> Liberty purged from all its living places.
>> Wake up, it's time to create those places again.
> The Illusion Of Freedom: We're Only As Free As The Government Allows

Did anyone wake up yet?
How much more you need till you rise up?
Until then it will only get worse for you.

Papers, Please!
The Identity Project


Apr 19 2022
Photography and recording at US border crossings

Inquiring minds at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) want to
know if officers or agents of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
or other components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have
tried to stop you from taking photographs, filming, or recording
publicly-visible scenes and events at US land border crossing points.

As we’ve noted many times in this blog, and as as has been established
in court cases in which we have participated, you have the right to
photograph and record Transportation Security Administration staff and
contractors at TSA checkpoints at airports.

We haven’t talked about land “ports of entry” as much as airports, but
you also have the right to photograph and record at land border
crossings, at least if you do so from places accessible to members of
the public who aren’t crossing the border. (We don’t mean to suggest
that you don’t also have the right to record or livestream what
happens to you as you cross the border. We think you do, but that
hasn’t yet been litigated as extensively.)

Read on for more about the state of the law, what you can do to reduce
the chances that your right to photograph and record near borders
will be violated, and what to do if it is.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Freedom To Travel	1 Comment
Apr 12 2022
Facial recognition signage at new Sea-Tac terminal flunks legal test

For several years the Identity Project has been engaging with the Port
of Seattle over its expansion of automated facial recognition to track
travelers at Sea-Tac Airport.

Today we made yet another (virtual) visit to the Port of Seattle
Commission to give the following comments (PDF) on the latest test of
the new International Arrivals facility at Sea-Tac, scheduled to open
next week:

Comments of the Identity Project to the Port of Seattle Commission
for the Commission meeting of April 12, 2022, re: signage for
travelers about the collection of facial images at the International
Arrivals Facility at Sea-Tac Airport

Members of the Port of Seattle Commission:

The Identity Project (PapersPlease.org) is a nonprofit civil liberties
and human rights organization with expertise in identity-based
surveillance and control of travelers.

We are submitting these comments to call to your attention the failure
of both the Port of Seattle and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
to provide notice to travelers of CBP’s collection of facial images
(“biometrics”) at the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) at
Sea-Tac International Airport, as required both by Federal law and by
the policies on use of biometrics adopted by the Port Commission.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Biometrics	2 Comments
Apr 08 2022
Amtrak gave train reservations to the TSA for a profiling test

[“Secure Flight” process flow used by the TSA for airline passengers
and being tested on Amtrak passengers. The red box at right center is
the “black box” for algorithmic profiling, blacklist/blocklist
enforcement, and fly/no-fly decision making.]
Amtrak has reportedly given the Transportation Security Administration
several months of  archives of Amtrak passenger reservations and
frequent rider profiles. At Amtrak’s request, the TSA has used these
records to test the TSA’s ability to extend to Amtrak passengers the
ID-based profiling and blacklisting algorithms the TSA already applies
to air travelers.

If you aren’t allowed to travel by air, the right to travel by train
is critical. And while all common carriers have an obligation to
transport all would-be passengers, Amtrak as a government agency
should be most strictly held to that obligation.

The plans to run a batch of historical Amtrak reservations through the
TSA’s “threat assessment” black box were disclosed in a Privacy Impact
Assessment (PIA) quietly posted on the Department of Homeland Security
website last December, and first noted in a news report by Mark Albert
of Hearst Television earlier this week.

The PIA posted by the TSA in December 2021 said that Amtrak would give
notice of the batch transfer of reservation archives to the TSA
through an update to Amtrak’s privacy policy. That policy was last
updated in November 2021, and doesn’t mention data sharing with the
TSA. But a follow-up report today by Hearst Television quotes the TSA
as saying that, “The collection of data and analysis has already
occurred,” without the promised notice in Amtrak’s privacy policy.

What will this TSA’s test of Amtrak passenger profiling reveal? Of
course some of the people who aren’t allowed to travel by air travel
by train or bus instead. Amtrak and Greyhound are the long-distance
carriers of last resort for undocumented and blacklisted travelers. So
it’s to be expected that the TSA will find a disproportionate
percentage of the people it has blacklisted from air travel on Amtrak
passenger manifests.

Even more people will be forced to take Amtrak or Greyhound instead of
flying if the TSA — as it has threatened — starts preventing people
from flying if they don’t have, or don’t show, any ID, or ID the TSA
deems to be compliant ID with the REAL-ID Act.

Does this mean that would-be terrorists are riding Amtrak trains? No.
It means only that people blacklisted from air travel are riding
trains. So far as we know, there have been no terrorist attacks on
Amtrak trains. The false positives generated by the TSA’s “threat
assessment” algorithms and precogs are evidence of what’s wrong with
predictive profiling and why the right to travel by common carrier is
so important.

The TSA and DHS have long wanted to extend their prior restraint of
travel from airline passengers to all modes of travel including
trains and buses, but have lacked any legal basis to do so. Amtrak’s
sharing of reservation  data with the DHS, even for passengers on
international trains, has been represented as a “voluntary” action by

In the absence of any notice from Amtrak, it’s unclear what Amtrak
claims as the legal basis for the recent “test” of TSA profiling of
passengers on domestic Amtrak trains. Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Buses & Trains, Freedom To Travel, Secret
Law	Leave a comment
Mar 29 2022
Asylum Requires Traveling to a Border

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of
Justice (DOJ) issued new interim rules today for the adjudication of
asylum and other claims by a new class of “asylum officers” at US
ports of entry, borders crossings, and airports.

These new rules won’t help most asylum seekers.

Did you ever wonder why desperate asylum seekers often travel on
overcrowded and leaky boats or try to trek across waterless deserts,
and regularly lose their lives?

It’s not because migrants can’t afford plane tickets. It’s because the
government at their destination won’t let them buy a plane ticket or
board a flight to a place of safety!

International treaties and US law only allow migrants to make asylum
claims after they reach a destination country. You can’t apply for
asylum in advance, the way you apply for a visa. You have to show up
at the border or arrive at a destination airport before you can beg
for asylum. And the US and the European Union work hard to prevent
migrants from ever reaching a US or EU border or airport where they
might make such a plea.

That’s why most migrants’ asylum claims are never “adjudicated”.
Instead, they are denied before they get on a plane, by airline staff
who have no training or competence to act as asylum judges. Most
migrants never even try to travel by airline to a place where they
could present their asylum claim, because they know that they will be
turned away at the ticket counter or boarding gate. That’s why they
end up trying to reach places of sanctuary by “irregular” means of
transport, and drowning or dying of thirst in the desert.

Airlines should be helping migrants. Airlines have a legal obligation
as common carriers to transport all would-be passengers. They have a
financial interest in selling tickets to those passengers. But the US
undermines international human rights and aviation treaties by
imposing draconian “carrier sanctions” (currently $3,000 per
passenger) on any airline that transports any person to the US who is
denied asylum on arrival, or denied entry for any other reason. Many
European countries do the same.

Airlines claim that they are denying passage to migrants because they
“lack the required documents” for their desired destination in the US
or elsewhere. But under international and US law, asylum seekers are
not required to have or produce any specific documents in order to
have valid asylum claims. There’s no such thing as an “asylum visa”.
The migrant who arrives with just the clothes on their back and no
documents often has a stronger claim to asylum than the one who brings
passports, visas and other paperwork.

In 1939, officials in the US and Canada denied the passengers on the
S.S. St. Louis “permission” to disembark, fating them to be returned
to Europe where many were murdered by the Nazis. In recent years, US
administrations have pursued policies designed to keep refugees from
reaching US shores. These polices are designed to undermine the right
to asylum. What the large print of international humanitarian law
offers, the small print of “carrier sanctions” takes away.

It is, by definition, impossible for an asylum seeker to submit their
claim or have it adjudicated before they reach the US. It is equally
impossible for an airline, a “preclearance officer”, or anyone else to
anticipate, before an asylum claim has been made, whether it will be
granted. So to save the airline a possible “administrative fine” of
$3,000 per passenger, airlines simply deny passage to all such people.

America didn’t use to be like this. People fleeing persecution in the
Ukraine under Tsarist Russian rule could get to the US and apply, as
long as they could reach a European port with enough money to pay for
passage across the Atlantic. No passports or visas were required to
buy a boat ticket and board a ship, nor were any required at Ellis

It shouldn’t be harder today to reach asylum than it was a century
ago. If the US and European governments were serious about allowing
Ukranian refugees to claim asylum, they would repeal these “carrier
sanctions”, rather than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by
adding a new class of administrative law judges to process the few
asylum claimants who do somehow arrive at the border.

The rights of refugees and asylum seekers recognized in high-sounding
treaties will become meaningful only when migrants have an actual
right to travel to the border or arrival airport to make their claim.
Passing the Freedom To Travel Act, now pending in Congress, or
including its provisions in any asylum or immigration reform
legislation, would be one way to restore that right. But a smaller
change in the law to repeal the “carrier sanctions” against airlines
that transport migrants would be a great start.
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Freedom To Travel	1 Comment
Mar 17 2022
Alaska may end its compliance with the REAL-ID Act

A bill introduced in the current session of the Alaska state
legislature, HB 389, would end the issuance by the state of Alaska of
driver’s licenses that comply with the Federal REAL-ID Act of 2005.

In addition, HB 389 would give Alaska residents “the option of having
the applicant’s driver’s license photograph captured with a camera
that produces a photograph in a format or with a resolution that
renders the image quality insufficient for facial recognition.” The
bill would require that the state Department of Administration and its
Division of Motor Vehicles “shall destroy or render unusable for
facial recognition purposes any photograph captured as a result of an
application for a driver’s license ,” and prohibit “bulk sharing of
facial images captured a result of an application for a driver’s

HB 389 was introduced by Rep. David Eastman (R-Mat-Su) and is
co-sponsored by Rep. Ronald Gilham (R-Kenai/Soldotna). We look forward
to its consideration in the state legislature in Juneau, and to the
opportunity to testify on this issue, as we did when the Alaska
Legislature first debated whether to comply with the REAL-ID Act in
2006, 2007, and 2008, and again in 2017 when it reconsidered its
initial choice not to comply.

HB 389 reflects longstanding sentiment in Alaska against compliance
with Federal mandates  for ID credentials and sharing of personal
information with “outside” entities.

Even the highest official of the Transportation Security
Administration in Alaska, the Federal Security Director for the state,
has pointed out to his superiors in Washington that many Alaskans live
off the road system and don’t need or have drivers licenses. They may
be more likely to fly, and to need to fly, than to need to drive. They
don’t want to have to show government-issued papers, which they might
not have, in order to do so.

In 2008, Alaska enacted a law that prohibited spending any state funds
on implementation of the REAL-ID Act.

Nine years later, though, the Alaska DMV defied the law by uploading
information about every Alaskan with a driver’s license or state ID to
the SPEXS national ID database that was created as a way  for states
to comply with the REAL-ID Act.

That action by the DMV to move Alaska toward REAL-ID compliance was
taken “without permission from the legislature,” as Rep. Chris Tuck,
Majority Leader in the Alaska House of Representatives, noted in an
op-ed published in newspapers throughout the state after the batch
upload of Alaskan driver’s license data to SPECS became public. The
batch upload took place just as the legislature was scheduled to again
consider REAL-ID compliance, and appears to have been an executive and
administrative effort to preempt legislative debate.

Officials from the Alaska DMV and the U.S Department of Homeland
Security claimed that REAL-ID “compliant” ID would soon be required in
order to travel by air, but were unable to provide any basis for this
false claim. At one of the legislative committee meeting in 2008, Rep.
Tuck himself testified to his colleagues about how he had flown
between Juneau and Anchorage with  no ID at all when he accidentally
left his wallet in his office.

The Identity Project provided extensive testimony and FAQ’s
fact-checking the claims being made by the DHS and the Alaska DMV in
support of REAL-ID Act compliance.

A week after we provided Alaska legislators with written testimony
about the right to fly without ID, Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Chair
of the State Affairs Committee, passed on a very similar set of
questions to TSA officials in Alaska and in Washington, DC. More than
a decade after the fact, when the TSA finally responded to one of our
FOIA requests, we received copies of TSA internal e-mail messages
discussing how to respond to Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins’ questions — but no
indication of what, if any, answer was ever provided.

At the end of the 2017 legislative session, however, Alaska
legislators reversed their 2008 decision, and authorized the DMV to
begin issuing driver’s licenses and ID cards that “comply” with the

>From discussion at the public committee meetings we attended, it
seemed clear that legislators didn’t like the REAL-ID Act or want
Alaska to comply. They didn’t like it that the Alaska DMV had taken
matters into its own hands by sending information about all Alaskan
drivers and ID card-holders to a private database that’s stored
outside Alaska and outside the jurisdiction of any government
transparency or oversight laws. But legislators felt powerless to
stand up to threats — even illegal threats — from Federal officials.

We welcome the opportunity provided by HB 389 for the Alaska
legislature to reconsider its 2017 capitulation to Federal extortion,
and reassert Alaskans’ freedom to travel without ID.
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Papers, Please, REAL ID	3 Comments
Mar 15 2022
How many people fly without REAL-ID?

[Slide from internal TSA presentation, Identity Verification Staffing
Support Overview, March 2017, released in response to FOIA request by
the Identity Project.]
As of 2016, almost 2,000 people a day were allowed through TSA
checkpoints at US airports either without showing any ID at all, or
with other forms of ID that the TSA or its contractors initially
considered “unacceptable”.

According to an internal TSA presentation, there were 149,068 calls
(an average of 407 per day) for “ID Verification” to the TSA’s ID
Verification Call Center (IVCC) in 2016.

The previous year, 2015, there were 112,016 such calls (an average of
306 per day).

Each of these calls presumably corresponds to a person seeking to fly
without ID, or with ID that was initially deemed unacceptable by
checkpoint staff.

These are just the people who were required to go through the TSA’s
“ID verification” questioning for people with no ID. The TSA estimates
— based on a smaller sample of incident reports for a 13-day period in
February 2016 — that  an additional 1575 people per day are allowed to
fly with “other forms of” ID that are initially deemed unacceptable,
for a total of just under 2,000 people per day who fly with no ID or
unacceptable ID.

These numbers are from records recently released by the Transportation
Security Administration in response to one of our Freedom Of
Information Act requests.

This is a substantial increase from the most recent figures previously
released by the TSA.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Papers, Please, REAL ID	4 Comments
Feb 08 2022
Not another no-fly list

In a letter first reported by Reuters and first published in full by
The Points Guy, CEO Edward Bastian of Delta Air Lines has called on
Attorney General Merrick Garland to “support our efforts with respect
to… putting any person convicted of an on-board disruption on a
national, comprehensive,… ‘no-fly’ list that  would bar that person
from traveling on any commercial air carrier.”

The latest letter from Delta steps up a lobbying campaign the airline
began last fall, and which remains as misguided as ever. The letter
highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact the Freedom to Travel
Act (H.R. 6030) to make clear the rights of travelers, the duties of
airlines and other common carriers, and the limitations on when, by
what authority, on what grounds, and according to what procedures the
right to travel can be restricted.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Freedom To Travel	9 Comments
Jan 30 2022

The IRS is reportedly reconsidering its previously-announced plan to
require taxpayers to share facial images and other personal data with
an unregulated private company, ID.me, in order to file tax returns
online or access information about their filings, payments, and
returns through the IRS website.

The hesitation by the IRS comes after ID.me was caught lying about
whether it uses “one to many” facial recognition to try to identify
facial images against large databases of selfies or other mug shots.
ID.me had falsely claimed that it only uses “1 to 1” matching to
“verify” that a selfie matches previously stored images of a specific
person. But the company has now admitted that’s incorrect. ID.me
actually  compares selfies submitted by taxpayers (or by hackers or
identity thieves, who could easily copy a facial image from a targeted
victim’s or their friend’s social media posts) to its own “internal”
database of images of tens of millions of people aggregated from
unknown sources.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Biometrics	3 Comments
Jan 26 2022
9th Circuit to review secrecy of CRS-based travel surveillance

May court records related to orders requiring a travel reservations
company to provide real-time updates to the U.S. government whenever a
“person of interest” makes reservations for flights or other travel
be kept secret from the public, the press, and other travel companies
including the airlines on which the target plans to travel?

That issue is now before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case
of Forbes Media and Thomas Brewster vs. the United States (Court of
Appeals Docket #21-35612).

The legal question before the 9th Circuit is whether courts can keep
their own actions secret. That’s important, but the the underlying
facts raise other issues as well.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Secret Law, Surveillance State	1 Comment
Nov 22 2021
“Freedom to Travel Act of 2021” introduced in Congress

On the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Transportation Security
Administration, the Freedom to Travel Act of 2021 (H.R. 6030, “To
protect the right to travel by common carrier”), has been introduced
in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and
referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the
Committee on Homeland Security.

If enacted into law, the Freedom to Travel Act would be the most
significant step toward bringing the TSA within the rule of law since
the creation of the TSA 20 years ago this week with the enactment of
the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) in 2001. It would
rein in the TSA’s ability to substitute secret, extrajudicial edicts
for court orders restricting American’s rights, and would remove key
barriers that have stood in the way of judicial review of TSA actions
and legal redress for those whose rights have been violated.

The 20th anniversary of the creation of the TSA is an apt moment for
Congress to step back from the post-9/11 panic that drove the
enactment of the ATSA, take a deep breath, consider what it has
actually wrought, and begin to restore the historic right to travel
that the TSA has been steadily chipping away at for the entire 20
years of its existence.

The Freedom to Travel Act would create no new rights, but would codify
in Federal law an explicit right to travel by common carrier. Courts
have recognized such a right, but have often struggled to find an
explicit source for it or to assess its significance.

Given that human rights are inherent in our humanity and don’t depend
on any statute or text, it shouldn’t be surprising that they aren’t
always grounded in explicit statutory language. But ambiguity as to
the source of the right to travel and the obligations of common
carriers has made it easier for courts to brush off complaints of
violations of that right as not having stated a cognizable claim, a
claim that involves a fundamental (rather than a less significant)
right,  or a claim for which the courts have the power to grant

The Freedom to Travel Act would apply to interstate common carriers in
all modes of passenger transportation: airlines, railroads including
Amtrak, interstate buses, and ferries.

A common carrier, by definition, has a duty to transport all would-be
passengers, but the US Department of Transportation has been lax in
enforcing that obligation. The Freedom to Travel Act would create an
explicit new Federal cause of action against any common carrier,
person, or Federal agency that denies or refuses transportation by
common carrier to any individual except on the basis of (1) failure to
pay the fare or comply with the conditions of carriage in the
carrier’s published tariff; (2) failure or refusal to submit to an
administrative search limited to a search for weapons, explosives, or
incendiary devices likely to pose a threat to the safety of the
conveyance, passengers, or crew; or (3) an order from a court of
competent jurisdiction.

Read More →
Edward Hasbrouck Posted in Freedom To Travel	12 Comments
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Challenging ID Demands

IDP explores and defends the fundamental American right to move freely
around our country and to live without constantly having to prove who
we are or why we are here. (More)
Recent Posts

    Photography and recording at US border crossings April 19, 2022
    Facial recognition signage at new Sea-Tac terminal flunks legal
test April 12, 2022
    Amtrak gave train reservations to the TSA for a profiling test April 8, 2022
    Asylum Requires Traveling to a Border March 29, 2022
    Alaska may end its compliance with the REAL-ID Act March 17, 2022

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