Last year, I wrote that if Uncle Sam gets its way, we’d all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us permission to leave—or re-enter—the United States. That day has now arrived, but in addition to obtaining Big Brother’s permission to travel internationally, a final rule pursuant to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s “Secure Flight” initiative says we must now get it to travel from state-to-state.”
For now, permission to travel applies only to air transport. However, the TSA could of course extend it to train, bus, or auto travel anytime. (Just imagine TSA checkpoints on interstates at every state border.) And, while the TSA hasn’t announced the effective date of the rule, it did reveal what information it would need in order to leave, say, San Francisco, to fly to Las Vegas for a weekend on the Strip.
At some point in the future, you’ll need to reveal your name, gender, and date of birth when you make a domestic airline reservation. The airline will contact TSA to determine if you’re cleared to board. If you’re on any of TSA’s watchlists (which include such deceased “terrorists” as Saddam Hussein, along with live ones such as Sen. Edward Kennedy), you’ll need to provide an official document acceptable for federal identification purposes in order to travel. Examples of acceptable identity documents are passports and the “enhanced” driver’s licenses required under the ill-fated “Real ID Act.” If you can’t produce such a document, you can’t board the plane.