[LINK] Airport to tag passengers

Karl Auer kauer at biplane.com.au
Mon Oct 16 12:24:17 AEST 2006

Hi Geoff.

On Mon, 2006-10-16 at 11:49 +1000, Geoff Ramadan wrote:
> The right not to take part is a given. He can choose to follow the Airports 
> procedures or he can go to another airport.

And if all airports have the system, his "right" is a sham.

> They are in fact protecting and considering the rights of passengers, that its 
> whole purpose: their right to safe travel.

This "right" is actually a desire, a wish. The airports and others are
quite rightly seeking to protect "their" travellers, they have a duty of
care. What they do NOT have is any reason and certainly no "right" to
assume that how they want to do it is how people want it done. Nor do
they have any reason or right to make assumptions about what rights can
or should be traded off for that safety.

That is why customers - passengers - are an essential part of the
discussion. What if most passengers do NOT want their rights traded away
for safety?

> Unfortunately in order to do this, they need to extend on peoples rights.

That is a common and sadly false misconception (if by "extend", which
makes no sense in this context, you mean "intrude"). There is no (or
hardly any) conflict between civil rights and real safety. There is a
LOT of conflict between civil liberties and much of the nonsense we have
passing for "safety" and "security" these days. Read some of Bruce
Schneier's stuff, he's good at making this clear.

> I think he is being honest.
> The reality is that Business DO want more information about their customers and 
> potential customers. In order to extract this information they want to ask 
> questions that are private in nature.
> Customer/Business already do this now. Business will continue to push the 
> envelope, which has led to privacy laws protecting consumers.

See the flip side? Business pushes it too far, otherwise such laws would
not be needed. Business does not have and never will have the interests
of its customers at heart, except in so far as it MUST do, to avoid
losing them.

As to "reality" the reality is that business, given half a chance, will
exploit, pollute and destroy, because it's only measure of success is
profit. How do I know this? Because it is the proven, demonstrated
history of business as long as there has been such a thing.

So lets not talk about what is reality. let's instead talk about what
measures we can take as people to ensure that our lives are not
dominated and controlled by those interested not in our welfare but in
the extent to which we can enrich them.

An honest man would have said "we want stuff from customers which in
many cases it is not in their interests to give us; in some cases it
even against the law for us to request it. We need to make giving us
information more attractive; where our desires conflict with the law we
need to lobby for change in the law."

> He is just stating the obvious by trying to find a balance.

How easy it is to use the word "balance". Business interests and civil
rights are not something that have a "balance" to be found. Rights are
givens, aimed at increasing human happiness. Business interests are
aimed at increasing profit. Can you imagine a business saying "we must
balance our need to extract cash from customers' wallets against the
laws regarding theft"? There is no balance - you just don't do it,
period. And if you do, you get punished.

> What he means is:
> In the normal mode of operation of extreme privacy advocates is to use 
> miss-information about the capability of technologies, and to come up with 
> extreme examples of how privacy can be invaded, which would only be plausible in 
> a world based on anarchy.

Odd. I see the quote (which I realise may have been taken out of
context) as setting up a straw man.

Regards, K.

Karl Auer (kauer at biplane.com.au)                   +61-2-64957160 (h)
http://www.biplane.com.au/~kauer/                  +61-428-957160 (mob)

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