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A CLEAR Problem

Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2008 3:41 AM

I'm gloating a bit over the fate of Swing Vote, the Kevin Costner flick about a disinterested voter who, because of an electronic voting flub, becomes the One Man Whose Vote Will Decide Everything.

It finished its opening weekend in 6th place, behind several films that have already been out for three weeks (The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia, Journey to the Center of the Earth).

As I said in a previous column, the past two elections have been plagued with allegations of irregularities and voter fraud. An electronic voting fuckup is not the basis of a good joke, and the message of 'one vote can make a difference' is lost when Costner's character is courted lavishly by both candidates.

Officials at SFO have revealed that a laptop computer was stolen from a locked office a week ago.

That laptop just happened to have the application data for nearly 30,000 people seeking approval for the CLEAR flight security system. The data, while not encrypted, is password protected, and includes names, addresses, driver's license and passport numbers.

When you make an exception in a security measure, like creating a program to shortcut the need for standing in line, that exception becomes a vulnerability, and the data associated with it becomes more valuable.

Now, since the data was for program applicants, rather than approved passengers, it's more likely a target of identity thieves rather than terrorists. Nonetheless, I imagine the no-fly list just had 30,000 names tacked on to it.

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