Why Does Clear Need Any Biometric/ID data?

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by HaveMilesWillTravel, Jul 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So due to the Premium Membership offer here on Milepoint I looked at clearme.com for the first time since their revival. And I am still not clear on how their system works (no pun intended). As I understand it from their site/faq, you show your card, prove your identity via biometric scanner and then you get to the front of the line where you receive regular screening like everyone else.

    So why exactly do they need the whole passport/biometric data? Isn't it simply a "pay $179/year, get to the front of the line" deal and a simple ID card with your photo on it should be sufficient? It seems they are just as much involved in security theater as the TSA itself. Or am I missing something?

    (based on the number of Clear employees standing around idle at SFO's UA checkpoint last week, I can't imagine that they'll be very successful this time around)
     
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  2. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    I had the same thought. Applied for CLEAR and got the card. In the process they scanned my fingerprints, scanned my iris, got my SS#, my drivers license info. Halfway thru I'm thinking to myself, s--- I'm giving up all this information just so I can avoid having the TSA clerk check my id against by boarding pass? What they wanted was imho way overboard. The benefit -- I've used it once since, the CLEAR person checked my boarding pass against my CLEAR card and scribbled on the BP (same thing the TSA would do). Then another CLEAR person escorted me to the front of the line at the conveyor belt, cutting in front of people who already had stuff in bins (much to their annoyance).

    Bottom line: you give up a lot of personal confidential information, you get thru the initial line quickly, you go right to the front of the conveyor belt. Everyone's worth of that will vary.
     
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  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    SS# as well? That's even worse than I expected. What exactly are they doing with that? No thanks. I wasn't planning to buy the service for $179, and I am certainly not going to give up all that data for the three month trial.
     
  4. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    The roots go back awhile.

    The way I remember it, Clear made a lot of assumptions in how things would be. But they didn't count on the TSA stonewalling them as much.

    The premise of Clear at the beginning was that giving all this biometric data and background info would enable members to get special TSA clearance, cut in front of the line, go through special screening (onto a device made by GE that would not require shoe removal), and not having to do other things such as laptop removal and of the such.

    However, and I'm going by memory here so I could be forgetting things, but the TSA soundly rejected the machine Clear put forward and would not allow anyone getting special treatment in screening. Especially when it's being created by a private, for-profit company.
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yes, I recall that that was their original plan. And then they went belly up.

    I would have thought that their reincarnation would have just skipped all this technological and privacy-invading nonsense (saves cost, too, no?) and just offered a "skip the line pass" for $179.

    By the way, do they lease space from the airports to provide the access lane? Do they pay the TSA? If I refuse to let a CLEARed passenger get ahead of me at the scanner machine (as described above in bonnerbl's message), would I get in trouble with anyone?
     
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  6. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    My understanding is yes.

    Actually, I think TSA does the same thing.


    I don't think so, but I'm not 100% certain on that.


    I don't think you get in trouble, only reminded that you're in a line that allows for Clear members to cut in.

    Again...all by memory, because most of my experiences/interactions and education is via the first Clear go-around. But they are supposed to have some sort of sign saying that Clear members can cut in.

    One time, in Denver, a Clear member was cut in a line that did NOT have the sign (the other line did). I raised a stink about it with the Clear rep who facilitated the cutting. She said she will talk to her supervisor about it (yeah right).

    After clearing the checkpoint, I went to the TSA supervisor, who was clearly (pardon the pun) agitated. He asked me which lane and if I got the name of the Clear rep from their name tag (I did). He said, regardless of the sign's location, that if anyone objects to the cutting, the Clear person is to go to the back of the line. But again, this is a few years ago, and things change often.

    FWIW.
     
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