Andy Bowers of Slate has an article about the problems related to the ease by which someone could get on an aircraft without having their true identity checked. He suggests the problem is simple to fix. I'm not so sure. As Bowers notes in the articles there are plenty of tech savvy, intelligent people out there who might like to do harm. They can easily, as Bowers did, modify a boarding pass in a few minutes. They could, however do much the same thing with a traditional boarding pass, not just the home printed one, or with slightly more effort produce counterfeit government documents. Anyone who has been around a college for long knows that the ability to get one's hands on fake id's is not limited to international spy-masters. Changing the homespun printing of boarding passes will, for a time, possibly make travelers believe they are more secure. It is all really mostly illusion anyway. The name-based no-fly-list is based on a fallacy itself that a terrorist would use their name or noms de plume to purchase tickets in the first place.
by Joshua Brauer on February 9, 2005