CLEAR is a private, fee-based service that takes your biometrics and lets you identify yourself with your fingerprints or retina scan instead of showing an ID. At airports where they’re located you can then skip to the front of the security line – whether PreCheck or regular security.
But the TSA now says CLEAR’s systems have a security vulnerability and some key lawmakers want everyone using CLEAR to still have to have their IDs verified at the security checkpoint.
The Clear verification system, which provides an expedited airport screening procedure, contains unspecified “security vulnerabilities,” according to the Dec. 22 letter to the TSA from Democrat Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, then chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the committee’s former top Republican, John Katko of New York.
- CLEAR has 14 million members. They’ve been asked to “re-enroll approximately 48,000 travelers who hadn’t completed a facial match” as part of their registration.
- TSA alerted Congress “that the verification system run by Clear contained unspecified vulnerabilities in vetting passengers through its registered traveler program”
The reason TSA is concerned about identity matching is because without it, passengers can’t be checked against no fly and enhanced screening lists (which themselves have huge problems, like people being added for retaliatory reasons or because someone checked the wrong box on a form, and people lack judicial review to get off the lists and are entirely at the mercy of opaque administrative procedures).
The Amex Platinum card offers a statement credit that covers the full cost of CLEAR. Both United Airlines and Delta own stakes in CLEAR, which markets (and offers discounts to) mileage members of both airlines.