Airport VIP security lines and incentives

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WaPo reports on Steven Brill's "Clear" card, which lets airport passengers pay $60 and submit to a background check and get special security treatment. It's now being tested in Orlando. Bruce Schneier raises the obvious concern that "As soon as you make an easy path and a hard path through a security system, you invite the bad guys to try to take the easy path".

That's a generic argument against this kind of program, but it seems to me that there's a more substantial problem with the implementation here:

He's giving them good reason to listen: In its proposal to Orlando officials _ which beat a rival bid from technology integrator Unisys Corp. _ Verified ID promised to share 29 percent of Clear's first-year revenue with the airport authority and as much as 22.5 percent in succeeding years. The airport also would get 2.5 percent of Clear's future nationwide revenue.

The proposal says Verified ID expects to have 3.3 million members across the nation within six years, with annual memberships likely costing $100.

I'm not sure it's that great an idea to be giving airports incentives to make the non VIP security lines worse.

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It's very smart of Verified ID. But you are right, the money is incentive for the airport authority to rationalize away any problems.

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