Government stupidity

One could argue that the “government stupidity” is redundant, but please don’t bring up that argument this time. The following example provides more material for illustrating your point today:

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security said while in Edmonton on Tuesday that certain types of travel will be exempt from new regulations on border crossings between Canada and the U.S.

While speaking to legislators and business leaders from both sides of the border at the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region’s annual summit, Michael Chertoff said a “practical approach” is necessary.

“In particular, we will not be, for example, including in this set of regulations a requirement for passports for ferries or private watercraft, recognizing that this is a particular form of transportation that we don’t want to interfere with,” said Chertoff.

Security, defensive security in particular, is only as good as it’s weakest link. If a passport requirement for travel between the U.S. and Canada provides some sort of security advantage (I question that it does, but that is why the requirement was put in place) then having an exemption for ferries and private watercraft is of dubious wisdom. Does this mean that terrorists don’t know how to board boats? Does Mr. Chertoff think they are all scared of the water?

I suppose it’s possible that the water routes have some sort of different security mechanism that provides as good as or better security than checking your passport as you drive across the border. But I doubt it. Most likely they don’t have the facilities and resources to deal with all the crossings.

Take a look as places like Detroit, which is actually directly north of parts of Canada. End to end Lake St. Clair is only 25 miles long and provides direct access into Detroit from Canada. Personal watercraft can easily cross that gap in 45 minutes. It’s just not possible to interdict all the water skiers, fishermen, and people just crossing the lake to eat dinner in the city and ask them for their passports without pissing everyone off. Similar claims could be made about Lake Erie, and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

And what’s the point with passports anyway? Does someone think having “good ID” somehow makes everyone safer? Here is a case where fake ID is saving lives.

The bottom line is that passports cannot improve security. The reason our government is requiring passports, in some cases, is to make some people feel more secure. Real security depends on hunting down those that try inflict violence upon us and capturing or killing them. Exactly the solution Israel is implementing now.

Thanks to Bruce Schneier for his no passports needed for water traffic and the fake ID saving lives posts.


One thought on “Government stupidity

  1. A little bit like the star of David arm bands, eh? What if they’d had biometrics and RFID tags in the 1930s and ’40s? There’d be a black market in technology and insider data hackers to circumvent it I suppose. Just like now.

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