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Flying with Clear

Privacy be damned; service utilizes fingerprints and/or iris scans to bypass airport security lines.

Dave Rosenberg Co-founder, MuleSource
Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.
Dave Rosenberg
2 min read

Today was my first experience using the Clear travel service. If you are not familiar (or haven't flown lately), Clear is a service that utilizes fingerprints and/or iris scans to bypass the long lines of airport security.

Despite my leftist obsession with privacy, I decided when I first looked at the Clear program that I thought it would be better if I voluntary signed up for the service since ultimately the government and TSA can find whatever they want about you anyway. I'm also fairly convinced that's it better to have some alternate form of identity verification should something go wrong.

There are multiple aspects of air traffic that remain baffling. Things that are supposed to help, such as United's bizarre non-time-saving baggage drop (it's at the way far left in SFO in case you, like me, find yourself searching for the mystery location), or the fact that I have to surrender my shoes, for example.

My Clear experience:

  • Head to the dedicated Clear line at security
  • Show boarding pass and ID to Clear representative
  • Verify fingerprint
  • Bypass the 45-minute line to security screen in less than 2 minutes

The one thing that I didn't like was that the Clear representative put my bag, shoes, and jacket on the screening table for me as I went through the scanner. It doesn't make a lot of sense to verify my identity only to take my belongings away from me. I think they were just trying to be helpful but my paranoia wins out.

Regardless, for $100 the service is well worth it.