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Gilmore v. Ashcroft

by Rob Friesel

“Grounded…” is a decent article in the Post-Gazette of Pittsburgh, PA about John Gilmore and his fight against being required to show photo ID to board planes. I’ve said here before how there are parts of Gilmore’s argument with which I do not agree — mostly that I don’t think personal privacy should (and this word is key, now) necessarily trump the safety of the larger public. However, there are two elements brought up in this article that I had not really realized before:

  1. That Gilmore is saying “we (as a Nation) need to dialogue about this first”
  2. That Gilmore is challenging a law that the government refuses to produce written proof exists.

These two points taken together pretty much radically change the way I view Gilmore vs. Ashcroft — turning me into a bit more of a believer. (Though I’m not sure “believer” is the right word.)

The part from the article that stuck with me the most:

Yes, he said, there is a certain odd flavor to the notion that someone shouldn’t have to show ID to board a plane, but with magnetometers at the gates, guards with security wands, fortified cockpit doors and sky marshals abounding, Gilmore is asking just how much citizens are giving up when they hand their driver’s licenses to a third party, in this case an airline, where it is put into a database they cannot see, to meet a law that, as it turns out, they are not allowed to read.

And so while I still feel an odd remorse that he’s only able to do this b/c of his wealth and reknown, I’m a little less contrary about it.

Still, there are lots of moments where I wish Gilmore had just done what my dear ol’ Granddad had done:

Airport Security: Sir, your ID please.

Granddad: One second, I’ve got it here somewhere. Here you go.

AS: Concealed weapons permit?

G: It’s all I had on me. Everything else is in my checked luggage.

(or something along those lines)

currently playing: Thievery Corporation “Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes” > Gus Gus “Love vs. Hate”

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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