American Proscenium

“Clear®”: The Price of a Civil Airport Shakedown

I first read about it in the newspaper: a new concept in speeding up airline security called Clear®.  The idea is to pre-inspect, via extensive background checks, passengers traveling by air so that bottlenecks in the security lines can be eliminated, and “cleared” passengers, whisked through.

I may not be nuts about being “inspected,” but my husband and I have both held high security clearances, and we know the drill.  The humble driver’s license long ago became a de facto national ID.  Personal information today is shared often and easily by agencies at the federal, state, and local levels; crossmatched (if need be) with all manner of ulterior sources; and fed into still other computers for analysis—all to catch criminals, including terrorists.

That’s the world we live in.  If you are involved in criminal activity, you have no expectation of any “right to privacy.”  Period.

A corollary to high-tech crime-fighting, however, is that everyone is now a suspect.  Forget about the fact that you may never have received anything more remarkable from law enforcement than a parking ticket; that even in your rebellious youth, you never called the police “pigs,” did drugs, engaged in protests, or drove drunk.  None of that matters in this, the Age of Terrorism.

Exceptions are made, of course, for the extremely...

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