This is not a satire.
I am in the St. Louis airport, about to head home after giving a talk and taking part in a lively panel discussion at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. It was a great occasion for a number of reasons–but this post is not about that.
When I stood in the security line at the airport just a few minutes ago, a Transportation Security Administration officer told the man in front of me that he was approved for “pre-check” and could go through a special line where he didn’t have to remove his shoes, take out his liquids, etc.
The man asked why he had been approved for pre-check. He had never heard of such a thing. The TSA officer didn’t have an answer for him.
A few minutes later, I looked it up, and sure enough, the TSA is rolling out a pre-check program, to which you supposedly have to apply. That has been going on since 2011. But there’s more, according to the Chicago Tribune:
In a little-noticed proposal, the Department of Homeland Security says that it plans to upgrade to its new Secure Flight System, which pre-screens all passengers. … TSA says that the new Secure Flight would be used to send non-members who are tagged as low-risk passengers through the Pre-Check lines, even if they aren’t members.
According to Government Security News, the TSA has awarded IBM a “bridge contract” for this program.
Is the program already being deployed, then? Will the “low-risk” passengers be separated by privilege from the “we-don’t-have-enough-data-on-them-yet” passengers?