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From Boing Boing

Why John Gilmore won’t show his ID at airports. Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette has an amazing, balanced, in-depth profile on John Gilmore, the guy who Sun hired to write their first code, the guy who co-founded EFF, the guy who won’t show ID to get on an airplane:

In post 9/11 America, asking “Why?” when someone from an airline asks for identification can start some interesting arguments. Gilmore, who learned to argue on the debate team in his hometown of Bradford, McKean County, has started an argument that, should it reach its intended target, the U.S. Supreme Court, would turn the rules of national security on end, reach deep into the tug-of-war between private rights and public safety, and play havoc with the Department of Homeland Security.

At the heart of Gilmore’s stubbornness is the worry about the thin line between safety and tyranny.

“Are they just basically saying we just can’t travel without identity papers? If that’s true, then I’d rather see us go through a real debate that says we want to introduce required identity papers in our society rather than trying to legislate it through the back door through regulations that say there’s not any other way to get around,” Gilmore said. “Basically what they want is a show of obedience.”

On a recent podcast, Adam Curry, who lives in England and who was in San Francisco at the time, said the security procedures at US airports were absurd, humiliating, and that, as a long-time pilot, he said there were so many ways to get on a tarmac that these ludicrous security checks do nothing to make people safer and seem designed to instill fear instead. And he’s not a flaming liberal, either.

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