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A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Where's the Law?

Silicon Valley millionaire John Gilmore, of Sun and EFF fame, refuses to show an ID to get on an airline.
The gate agent asked for his ID.

Gilmore asked her why.

It is the law, she said.

Gilmore asked to see the law.

Nobody could produce a copy.

To date, nobody has. The regulation that mandates ID at airports is "Sensitive Security Information." The law, as it turns out, is unavailable for inspection.

GIlmore raises a good point on the dichotomy of the desire for privacy vs. the desire for security.
The elegance of Gilmore's thinking is that knowing someone's ID does not prevent the person from committing a terrorist act. The 9/11 hijackers had driver's licenses. Knowing someone's identity, as Gilmore argues it, adds less to a security than it takes away from a traveler's protection from authority that might oppress simply because it can.

It's good that Gilmore is standing up himself and it will be fascinating to see the outcome of his legal argument.

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