I signed up for CLEAR about 2 years ago when I took a flight to DC from Seattle.
CLEAR is like "TSA PRE for VIPs." Basically, you pay $ 100 a year and many – but not all – airports – you can jump on the TSA PRE line. You also don't need to show the ID because your biometrics are scanned into the system, proving identity.
I had noticed, over the years, that more and more people got TSA PRE. Same for global entry. I alone probably got 50 people to register for the former and maybe 20 for the latter. They are huge time savers. I would say that CLEAR saves me 10-20 minutes on average on every other flight I take. Given how much I used to fly, it was worth it when I signed up.
When I use the CLEAR line, it takes an average of 1
Until Monday 11 March.
When I arrived at Dulles at 7:10 for my 7:35 boarding / 8:00 departure road, I was confronted with a CLEAR line that was at least 45 people long.
That never happened to me.
I asked about it and it is obvious that Monday morning is like this. I just don't travel on Monday morning so often.
Still, other passengers made the same remark that the volume was unusually high.
I immediately jumped to the conclusion that CLEAR experienced massive growth and it eventually we I see an even higher priced, more exclusive service. Effectively, we will privatize the security at airports based on price points.
Then I took myself and realized that it can actually be a data point. A Monday morning rate for businessmen gives lots of meaning. So, maybe this was an anomaly.
Anyway, when I was in line, I had a scary thought.
The reason why CLEAR can handle people so much faster is that, like Global Entry, they use biometric (retina and fingerprints) to identify people.
Now that I signed up for the service, I acknowledged that I signed off some privacy to make it comfortable. We are increasingly making a trade-off as a society.
I did it anyway.
But when I saw the number of people who had made the same decision, I realized that the databases for both CLEAR and Global Entry were a biometric Equifax.
Equifax, as you know, was breeched and personal and financial data from over 100 million Americans stolen. What the effect of theft will be in the long term remains.
As these two biometric databases become more popular, they will become a major target for hackers. There is no doubt that there is a black market for individual biometric data.
A security expert will tell a hack is not a matter of "if", just a matter of "when". If not, both of these databases will be compromised. Similarly, the consequences will be unknown and far-reaching.
For something critical as the individual biometric identity, a centralized system that is vulnerable to compromise should be a non-starter package. In the end, we see decentralized blockchain systems that Everest tackles because they uniquely address the 2 major components of Identity: Authentication and Authorization. (Everest does not have an airport that offers CLEAR, but its technology – and the technology of similar blockchain-based startups – deals with similar use cases. Other players in space include Civic and uPort.)
Everyone understands "Authentication". "Are you really who you say you are? "
However, it is" authorization "which is actually more important. In this scenario, the owner of the Identity is the owner of the data, and they have full control over what they share and what they share.
With this type of control, Individuals start building a transaction history and ultimately a true "credit score." For example, in Everest, transactions are carried out via EverWallet and relentlessly written to the EverChain leader, who is the source of the credit score.
Everest is already working with several ministries across several Asian countries.
As governments and citizens become increasingly aware of privacy issues, there will be more willingness to consider alternatives, while the blockchain technology continues to grow in terms of security, robustness, adaptability to new threats and scalability. enable solutions that are orders of magnitude superior and better balance the need for biometric data as unique identifiers with the need for maximum security for the biometric data to protect individuals.
Eventually, global personal identity systems can only live on blockchain-based systems.
It's pretty clear to me, at least.
Jeremy Epstein is CEO of Never Stop Marketing and author of CMO Primer for Blockchain World. He is currently working in blockchain and decentralization space, including OpenBazaar, Zcash, ARK, Gladius, Peer Mountain and DAOstack.