The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Privilege is its own reward

From the Mysterious Cypher comes a story about the future of airport security. Maybe they can flash commercials in the metal detector booth, as well.

Of all the hassles at the airport in this age of heightened security, perhaps the most annoying is the requirement to take off your shoes to send them through the X-ray screener. That burden will be lifted at some airports shortly — for those willing to pay about $100 a year for the privilege.

The Transportation Security Administration has recently approved a new device that will scan your shoes while you are still wearing them. It uses quadrupole resonance technology, similar to a medical M.R.I., to determine whether explosives or weapons might be hidden in your shoes. It is the first important new technology to emerge from the for-profit registered traveler programs.

The hitch is that, for now, you have to pay to join a program in which private companies pledge to move you through the security lines a bit faster if you submit to a government background check in advance and supply biometric data — like a thumbprint or iris scan — that can be used to identify you at the airport.

Sure, I'll exchange being fingerprinted and scanned to get through the line a little quicker. It'd be a bargain at twice the price.