August 3, 2009
A news report from May 2007 reveals high level discussions, including debate in Congress, to require all airport employees to be subject to greater security measures– including a serious discussion of imposing implantable RFID chips into workers or subjecting them to biometric identification systems.
Such proposals have already been introduced in various contexts throughout the world, and their acceptance paves the way for more widespread use of such measures. As Steve Watson reported in 2007:
Government workers in Mexico are being forced to take the chip or lose their job. Staff of Mexico’s attorney general had to take the chip in order to access secure areas.
In February, a Cincinnati surveillance equipment company became the first U.S. business to use this application when a handful of employees voluntarily got implants to allow them to enter secure rooms.
News reports in May 2007 identified the possibility that mandatory requirements for biometrics and even implanted RFID chips could be imposed on airport employees– anyone from restaurant employees to airline mechanics:
Congress is moving quickly to put into motion measures that will ensure airport employees are subjected to stricter security checks. Everyone from Restaurant employees to airline mechanics could soon be forced to provide biometric finger and iris scans and may even face the possibility of being implanted with a microchip. Currently all airport employees must pass a police and FBI background check, however this may soon be upgraded to include credit checks, routine searches of bags and property and the use of biometric readers with the possibility of microchip implants on the table
The measures are still under Congressional discussion.
Discussion of such monitoring of airport employees continues. A June 2008 edition of ID blog focuses on the issue of vetting and tracking the wide array of airport workers.
An ASIS program director admits that one of its aims involves looking to implement biometric assess control, a goal identified since shortly after 9/11, and discusses the possibility of mandated biometric identification programs.
Check out audio statement at about 7:00 minutes [mp3]
Entrusting TSA screeners and related database operators with sensitive biometrics data, potentially including iris scans, fingerprints and even subcutaneous implanted RFID chips, is a frightening concept- not only because of the prima facie invasion of privacy and guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality- but because the TSA has proved to be an untrustworthy security agency. The Electronic Frontier Foundation covered in depth the revelation that the TSA lied & covered up in Congressional testimony about its taking passenger data from airlines for use under the CAPPS II passenger-profiling program.
[efoods]Similarly, an Arkansas prison has recently announced its intentions to track its employees through RFID and biometric identification systems.
Airports are the proving ground for testing and implementing RFID chips and biometric identification with the general public. Because of its association with the 9/11 terror attacks, airports have been turned over to the lawless TSA agency in spite of protections guaranteed by the 4th amendment and warnings from leaders as age-old as Ben Franklin not to put so-called “security” before liberty.
Subways, as in New York, have followed airports in implementing checkpoints, just as other employers can be expected to follow in practice the biometric and RFID policies tested in airports. As the RFID and biometrics industries seek to expand, they can be expected to sell their services to companies as well as on behalf of public institutions, venues and events, especially those with obvious security concerns.
Thus, what is allowed under the fear of terrorism and pressure to control travel, is likely spread to other areas of our lives.
The chip has already been implanted under the skin of various members of the Army, government and other employees who work in sensitive and/or secure areas.
While the RFID may never be forced outright, a scenario is foreseeable where it would be required for many or most areas of access, employment, travel and commerce– in other words, the “Beast” scenario predicted in the Book of Revelations could prove true where individuals not cleared and verified are barred from “buying or selling.”
Such plans to monitor airport employees as well as passengers date back to at least 2002 when then Governor of New York, George Pataki, and then Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey
Obviously, the potential use of RFID implants for airline workers could/would likely be sold on the merits “fast track” programs which promise to decreased delays for trust traveler and especially employees and airline crew members.
VeriPax complements ARINC’s Identity Management System (IdMS) which uses biographical and biometric information to help create fast-lanes for pre-registered passengers, and invaluable checks on employees and crew members.
Already, programs have been implemented on a voluntary basis for passengers to move through airline checkpoints with “fast track” status using an RFID pass which tracks passengers throughout the airport. Logan Airport in Boston instituted one such pilot program in May 2006 to track both baggage and passengers during all points of travel. Air France began a similar program in March 2009 using ‘smart’ cards carrying RFID identification numbers, digital fingerprints, a photo and travel information.
Literally more shocking is a video showing plans to place a ‘Taser bracelet’ on all passengers in the name of security which would shock and debilitate any passenger deemed to be a threat either while inside the airport or even on the flight. See video below:
While these plans have not been implemented on a mandatory basis, the proposal and implementation on a voluntary basis threatens to take already outrageous security measures even further.
TSA has now implemented secondary screening at many airports to inspect passengers and their belongings on a random and/or selective basis– who have already been fully screened once by TSA checkpoints– at flight gates.