As I walked to work this week, these guys from American Express were handing out brochures. Something about the things they were saying (“bypass airport security!”) sounded sufficiently confusing to me that I picked up a brochure. It turns out, what they’re pitching is this new Clear Card product.
Here’s how it works: you sign up and visit an “enrollment center,” where they take various forms of identification, including fingerprints and retinal scan. Then they give you this little card with a chip in it so you can identify yourself at the airport, and skip the security scan. The Department of Homeland Security “vets” the system for the low price of $28. The Clear program takes $100 a year.
I guess it’s natural that this sort of thing would pop up eventually—airport security is clearly broken, and the market found a more efficient way. But something about this feels creepy. It’s ig government teaming up with big business to ID the citizenry so they can get around a problem the government created in the first place (airport security fiasco). And on top of all that, they want you to pay for it! Well, at least it’s optional. As for me—no thanks, I’ll stick to the slow lane for now.