TSA Bans Protesters

Ars reports that the Transportation and Security Administration has implemented a new policy regarding IDs. Previously, and unbeknown to many, TSA did not require you to show an ID. If you didn’t, you simply got put through a more invasive screening process (one that CNET claims may have actually saved you time).

Now, however, only those passengers who claim they lost or do not have their ID will be allowed to fly. If, on the other hand, you say that you are not required to have an ID, then you will be required to have it – not allowed to fly without it. As Jim Harper notes at TechLiberation, this policy obviously does nothing to combat terrorism, since any terrorist with a single brain cell in her head would just claim that she lost her ID. The no-fly mandate only applies to protesters of the TSA’s ID policy, like Harper.

The real purpose of the policy appears to be to stifle dissent against TSA – at least dissent in front of crowds of other frustrated passengers. One can certainly see parallels to the Jefferson 1 case, where someone from a flashmob of libertarians gathering at the Jefferson Memorial got arrested for dancing silently in protest. When how you get treated legally depends not on your actions but on whether your intention is to register discontent with the government, free speech gets stifled. Let’s hope that the TSA’s new discriminatory limitation of the right to travel (a right recognized, for example, in Saenz v. Roe) gets challenged – and quickly.