Clear Pass data takes off

This is just a short post for anyone who paid their $100 to the TSA to get a Clear registered traveler card that lets you go through an express line at the airport security checkpoint.

A laptop containing uncrypted data for 33,000 customers (of 200,000 applicants) of the program was stolen from a locked office in San Francisco International Airport on July 26, 2008 (link to news article). Whoever took the laptop has a lot of the information you supplied in your application form, including your full name, address, phone number, passport number, and date of birth.

According to the program’s spokesman, the data did not include your credit card information or your social security number.

That’s a big consolation, I’m sure (NOT).

For now, the TSA has suspended new applications for the program (read the TSA press release). The TSA has not said whether it is notifying all of the 33,000 persons whose information was stolen, or whether they will pay to maintain a year-long credit check for affected individuals. That would be asking too much, although I think that’s also pretty fair, considering this sort of thing should have never happened.

What do you do, when you give $100 and all your personal information to a government agency so you can clear security… and then they turn around and let your information get stolen? Besides causing some people to have even less confidence in the TSA (even though the laptop and the program are handled by a contractor), what sort of security risks are these people in now? It’s not too extreme of a stretch to imagine the possibility of these names being used for fraudulent purposes, but what if it winds up causing some people to get on the security watch checklist?

Some things just make me shake my head.


  1. We didn’t pay, but got one year free with a Hyatt rewards club membership (which was also free, somehow). Apparently the laptop has been found in the same office where it was supposed to have been all along.

  2. I joined Clear Pass and must say that after using it several times at different airports I am MORE THAN THRILLED about the time that it has saved me virtually every time I used it! I found the attendants at the Clear Pass lanes were cheerful and helpful (probably because the work load is way light — there was NEVER anyone else on the clear pass line!) and helped me through security quickly. I felt like a rock star going to the head of the line EVERY TIME with the Clear Pass attendants carrying my bags and smiling all the way. One flight I had that was in a way overcrowded airport with regular line out the door, saved me at least an hour by using the Clear Pass. I recommend Clear Pass to anyone who has little patience to wait in a line that inches along and would rather sit at the gate relaxing. If you use my Referral Code: SCA20888 when you sign up for the Clear Pass – both you and I will get a FREE MONTH! Thanks and good luck to you!

  3. Andrew — Thanks for the update! Glad to hear; it could’ve been much worse. Just goes to show that even data we think is in safe hands, might not be.

    Marti — I’m glad you enjoy it! Like a lot of other “air travel perks” (like lounge access, etc.), I think the fee they charge for Clear Pass is more than affordable for people who have to travel more than once every couple of months. The time you save alone is worth the fee, but like you said, being able to use a special line definitely makes you feel special!

  4. Pingback: The Travelite┬« FAQ » Blog Archive » Clear Pass Going Bye-Bye

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