Friday, June 26, 2009

Goodbye, Fly Clear

A few years after the 2001 WTC attacks, there was a program started called Fly Clear. The basic idea was to give people (read: people who are too important to wait in line with the rest of us - and yes I just made a snarky comment) the chance to skip the long lines at the standard security check-in. The sad part is that many people paid ahead of time, and as I mentioned at some point, when you pay ahead of time, companies now owe you something. Whether this is a gift card or a service, it doesn't matter. As soon as the company bankrupt, they owe you something, but you don't necessarily get it back. Accounting students may recognize the concept of journal entries embedded in there somewhere.

The other question in situations like this is what happens to your private information. SOMEONE is going to buy this company. In this case, there is important information about their customers - passport numbers and driver's license numbers (needed to fly), THUMBPRINTS (FlyClear used biometric identification) and SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS (they did background checks on all people using the service). What happens to the privacy practices that you agreed to when a company is sold? You would hope that they abide by the privacy practices you agreed to, but this isn't necessarily something they HAVE to do. Even worse, what if a less honorable corporation buys out this company? They could cause a lot of trouble with the information they have. Think like a hacker for a moment. If you had the money, you could purchase this company's assets, and now you have their database of thumbprints, document numbers, and other things. And the people involved? Rich people, who don't want to wait in line like everyone else.

Yeah, there could be some problems if an unethical corporation buys FlyClear, but hey, maybe I am just the type that thinks the worst in a situation like this.

1 comment:

David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...

LMAO! Why wait for for an unethical corporation to exploit personal information. They lost a laptop last year with 30,000 names or so:

http://www.tsa.dhs.gov/press/releases/2008/0804:

I have no sympathy for the multitude of companies that cropped up simultaneously exploiting fears while selling loopholes post 9-11.

As for those FlyClear as a service, I'll go one better than snarky since this really gets my goat. Everyone is always in a rush for the sake of convenience. When I get short of patience, I remember there are families who have had very long nights and very long holidays waiting for loved ones that are not coming home. And for 343 of these families in particular, their loved ones were in a rush too: Rushing to help and rescue people, not rushing for the sake of personal convenience.