With a week left until we fly away for the holidays, Steph is beginning the final process of ramping up for travel: finding and cleaning the luggage, making checklists, and all the other steps that she needs to be sure that she feels we’re ready to leave the house. Since this is the first time we’ll be flying as a family (first time on a plane for the kids), this process is starting earlier than it normally does.
We’d been planning on going to the Department of Licensing and getting picture ID for the kids, but Washington has this new process where instead of creating your ID on the spot (thanks to printers and laminators), they print the digital picture directly onto a plastic card. They don’t have the equipment to do this in each DoL office; instead, you get a temporary black and white paper copy, and they mail the completed color plastic card to your address of record within 2 weeks. This is supposed to be more secure.
We didn’t really stop to think about the lead time involved, so we didn’t get their ID done in time. Steph didn’t really want to go through the airport security checkpoints with temp IDs, so she called to find out what we should bring for ID for the kids.
TSA will accept picture ID for kids if they have to, but they really want parents to bring their kids’ birth certificates.
How in any way, shape, or form is this more secure than a state-issued (or federal, if you’re in the Armed Forces) picture ID? Doesn’t TSA have any clue how easy it is to forge a birth certificate? Granted, the state DoL is probably going to require that birth certificate as well, but there at least they’re attempting to perform some checking by sending the completed ID card to the claimed address. Let’s not even go into the stupidity of requiring parents to travel — always a stressful time — with their original copies of birth certificates, thus making loss or damage more likely. Thanks, guys — I see you’ve got my back.
This is the fundamental issue with ID in this country at this time — it all comes back to whether we can safely place our trust in a fundamentally unverifiable set of credentials. Every important credential comes back to our birth certificate — and there’s no central way to verify them and match them to a given person in any sort of timely fashion. In the face of this fact, ID checks are a worthless security measure against terrorists, who can and will forge their documentation chain back to the birth certificates.