Your face is now your boarding pass… Why it’s the beginning of the end of privacy in America… In the mailbag: “The media and Deep State are like a tapeworm and a cockroach that made love”…
That was the headline on a recent press release from U.S. airline JetBlue.
The company had just launched what it describes as a “fully-integrated biometric boarding gate” for its international flights out of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
In other words, it’s replacing the “old fashioned” system of using a boarding pass and passport to identify you at the boarding gate with an automated face-recognition system.
You just look into a digital camera… wait a few seconds for it to match your face to a record in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database… and then get on the plane.
And most Americans seem to think it’s a great idea.
For example, Delta is piloting a similar program at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. And it says less than 2% of the roughly 25,000 passengers traveling through Terminal F there are opting out of its face-recognition boarding system.
After all, who hasn’t experienced the panic of having to rummage through pockets and bags to retrieve a misplaced boarding pass at the flight gate?
It’s undoubtedly easier to show your mug to a camera and let the algorithm do its work.
But as we’ll show you in today’s dispatch, it’s also the beginning of the mass adoption of this invasive surveillance technology…
…and the beginning of the end of privacy in America.
This is no longer just the National Security Agency (NSA) collecting your telephone and internet records from phone and internet companies.
It opens the door to an America in which you’re always watched and always monitored by the feds – and the private corporations that work with them.
Here at the Cut, we’ve been shining a light on the Surveillance Society the feds – with the help of private Silicon Valley corporations – are putting together.
And we’ve been warning you of the threat this poses to your personal liberty.
So far, we’ve shown you how Silicon Valley firms have gotten in bed with the Deep State… how they spy on you, digitally, around the clock… and how police departments are deploying the same kind of face-recognition systems now being used in airports on CCTV cameras in U.S. cities.
You may still be holding onto the idea that there are sufficient legal protections in the U.S. to prevent this kind of digital surveillance from getting out of control.
But in reality, the deck is stacked in favor of the watchers, not the watched.
If someone wants to capture an image of your face… and ID you against a database… they’re free to do so.
And the feds are ignoring what little legal protections do exist.
For example, before federal agencies adopt any new technology that will be used on U.S. citizens, they’re supposed to solicit comments from the public.
But according to documents released by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the agency within the DHS overseeing the rollout of these new face-recognition systems – Customs and Border Protection – skipped that requirement.
And if you don’t like the idea of the government sharing an image of your face with airlines, you’re out of luck.
JetBlue is just one of several airlines using these automated boarding systems across 17 U.S. airports. (For a full list, see below.) And they aren’t even asking for your consent.
As the JetBlue press release cheerily put it, “There is no pre-registration required. Customers can simply step up to the camera for a photo match and make their way onto the aircraft.”
They’re not offering you an easy opt-out – such as a second line with a human checking your ID and boarding pass – either.
The message from the airlines is simple: Your privacy is not a concern. The feds already own your face. Now we do, too.
And like we said, that’s the way most folks see it.
But what this is really about is increasing the power of the state over its citizens.
Here’s Legacy Research cofounder Bill Bonner with more on the real motivation behind all of this…
In the American colonies, the country was so big, so open, and so far from elite power that people were relatively free from government control. There were few insiders and cronies. Out on the frontier, a man might live his whole life without ever seeing one. Gradually, however, the country filled up, borders stiffened, and the elite assumed its usual parasitic role.
What keeps the insiders from overdoing it is always the threat of a revolt. Push the slaves too hard and they can turn on their masters. But now the masters have a whole new set of weapons to keep the masses in their place – digital surveillance… facial-recognition technology… and behavior modification through machine learning… just to name a few.
The feds and the airlines don’t expect much pushback from travelers. But that doesn’t mean you should just comply.
If you’re a non-U.S. citizen traveling through a U.S. airport, it’s impossible to opt out of face-recognition entirely. But if you’re a U.S. citizen, here are a few pointers for steering clear of these face-recognition systems.
Right now, face recognition is most likely to happen at the following airports – Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington (Dulles and Reagan), Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Houston Hobby, Dallas/Fort Worth, JFK, Miami, San Jose, Orlando, and Detroit.
In addition to JetBlue, the airlines currently using face recognition at boarding gates are Delta, American Airlines, Lufthansa, and British Airways.
TSA Pre, CLEAR, and Global Entry programs are often used as test cases for new biometric ID programs. So, although these expedited clearance programs are more convenient than waiting in line with everyone else, they make it more likely that you’ll come across face recognition systems.
According to Customs and Border Protection, you “should notify a CBP Officer or an airline or airport representative in order to seek an alternative means of verifying your identity and documents.”
This may not make you the most popular person in the boarding gate queue. But you have the right to opt out of these systems… even if that’s not clearly advertised. So tell someone at check-in or at the boarding gate about your concerns. And ask them how you can board without having your face scanned.
Have you run into these new biometric screenings at airports recently? Are you willing to trade privacy for convenience? Tell us about it at [email protected].
Last Thursday, we shared Bill’s take on the big debate over socialism vs. capitalism.
And today, the debate rages on, after reader Gerhard G. said…
I agree with Bill’s view of win-win vs. win-lose. However, these are only symptoms, albeit important ones. After escaping from the German Democratic Republic under dramatic circumstances, I have firsthand experiences with both [socialist and capitalist] systems.
Uncontrolled capitalism is not the ideal choice as we can see today in the power of the elite, as well as in history. The best system as experienced by me was in West Germany, after my escape. It had the ideal combination of value-producing capitalism and a caring social attitude throughout, with the support of education.
This is a typical example of how to combine capitalist behavior looking for return on investment with social attitude, to help qualified but poor youngsters build on their qualities to advance in life, instead of depending on handouts. This produced a working win-win atmosphere and attitude.
As soon as any one group claims more power or privileges above the rest, it distorts the natural balance and harmony – whether you call it capitalism or socialism. Both in isolation are bad for the well-being of the people.
But not everyone agrees 100% with Gerhard…
Mr. Gerhard makes a good point. However, the social aspects he refers to should be left to charities, churches, and other organizations that wish to pursue such things. NEVER should government handle it. We see the results.
– Vincent E.
Our government should focus on guaranteeing equal opportunity for all, rather than trying to assure equal results. One key factor is good schools, including more freedom for charter schools where public schools aren’t doing the job.
What doesn’t work is more income redistribution, which penalizes hard work and success, and disincentivizes job creation. Affluent people invest and create jobs; poor people don’t.
From what I’ve seen, progressives and socialists (is there any difference?) are determined to take more from the rich to narrow the income gap, even if it makes poor people poorer.
– Ira C.
I found that sending my dogs to obedience school, my money was much better spent than sending kids to college. The kids all came out of college as communists looking for a handout. My dogs still love me.
– Herbert B.
Meanwhile, last Wednesday, we passed on a call for higher stock prices from Legacy’s biggest bull – our “billion-dollar trader,” Jason Bodner. But one Daily Cut reader isn’t convinced…
The media and Deep State are like a tapeworm and a cockroach that made love. I’m just trying to save up cash and create liquidity right now because, whether it goes up or down, there are opportunities.
I think the key here is to realize that, although the “technical situation” is bullish, the “fundamental situation” is hellishly bearish. But it’s being covered up by the tapeworms and cockroaches I mentioned above.
– Brendan V.
Is Brendan V. right that the stock market is on thin ice? Will you be opting out of face-recognition boarding gates? Write us at [email protected].
April 29, 2019
Delray Beach, Florida
P.S. As you can see from the dateline above, I (Chris) am at Legacy HQ in Delray Beach, Florida. I flew in yesterday from Ireland ahead of our annual Legacy Research Big Idea event in Miami this week.
Unlike our annual Legacy Investment Summit, where we invite subscribers to join us, this is a closed-door meeting for the Legacy team only. Our goal is to explore our best money-making ideas for the coming year… and come away with breakthrough new recommendations the mainstream has overlooked.
Some of the ideas we discuss will remain under wraps. But I’ll be reporting back on my conversations with guys like Teeka Tiwari… Jeff Clark… Dan Denning… and Dave Forest. So stay tuned for that in future dispatches.