Apple’s patent imagines travelers going through airport security with totally empty pockets. All travelers would carry is a phone.

[Apple's] 2008 patent application was approved in July and filed under the working title “iTravel.” Hughes suspects the iTravel concept will be folded into Apple’s Passbook app, which will be available for download on Wednesday. Right now, Passbook will store electronic versions of airline boarding passes which will automatically pop up on iPhone screens when you arrive at the airport. The phone knows where you are, thanks to geo-locator technology.
[...]
While each traveler waits in line, TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station.

Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler’s phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler’s ID had already been checked. Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process.



  1. Nate says:

    Papers please.

  2. jasontheodd says:

    So basically, we wish to have a travel industry that completely shuts down in power outages…at a time when most of the nations power suppliers say rolling blackouts and brownouts are going to be increasingly likely. In 1989 i was in an airport in Florida when the power was down, there was a slight delay as only a few ticket lines were hooked up to the emergency generators but it all went pretty smoothly. I’m thinking now a power outage would mean days sleeping in the airport waiting lobbies while it was all sorted out…..progress.

  3. dusanmal says:

    “Papers please” is not a problem (in every other country where I have traveled over decades I have been stopped at least once to check “my papers”, long standing normal practice throughout the world).
    Shut-down due to power outage is just an extreme problem (that would cause many other more important issues).
    Problem is that if this kind of automation is produced, enough sheeple will enable it due to “convenience” and the next step of a certain slippery-slope would be demand that we all carry such electronic devices and jump through the hoops “because everyone has them”. Notice HUGE difference between this and trivial paper documents. Paper document does not integrate all my travel info, paper does not assist dumb technological facial recognition,… paper makes tracking analog-hard. Please check my papers as much as you need, but PAPERS not electronic life signature. Track me by papers as much as you want because it will cost you to enter and collect and correlate much more than it is worth.
    If anything we should lobby for laws banning such usage of technology (and fight with lazy sheeple who’d trade their soul for some convenience). Manual ID inspection of dumb paper based IDs – and human brain as the best and safest tech’.

  4. Alfie says:

    I’m going to ride in the iTrain to get to the iFEMA camp and do the iSlaveLabor using iWork.

  5. Bob73 says:

    Perfect target for hacking

    • msbpodcast says:

      Like nobody ever forger paper documents?

      Get real…

      I’m looking at a time when nobody will ever travel again.

      We’ll get goods, ordered online, delivered to us by robot trucks over otherwise impassable roads.

      There’ll be nothing but robot trucks on the roads whizzing by at hundreds of miles an hour over deeply rutted roads where the speed of reaction times pretty much preclude the injection of any non-computerized conveyance.

      Driving without it being registered with a central authority is impossible, think TSA but before you board any sort of conveyance, and where any use of the roadways is mediated by GPS and computer, and then we got you.

  6. The Pirate says:

    “Don’t iPhone me bro!”

  7. Ken says:

    Meanwhile, the iPhone will turn off camera abilities so that TSA abuses, er, perfectly normal reactions cannot be filmed by the iSheep.

  8. ReadyKilowatt says:

    Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler’s phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler’s ID had already been checked. Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler.

    Wait, I’m confused. So now I could get in trouble if I don’t take a picture of my junk and show it to everyone?

  9. Mextli: ABO says:

    This will only work on iPlanes with the new connector.

  10. AdmFubar says:

    Ol’ Smoken Joe Stalin is laughing at us from the grave..

  11. Dave Koss says:

    This isn’t new. I’ve been boarding AA with my iPhone boarding pass for years.

    • pedro says:

      You can do that with any phone for the longest time, blind macfan; it’s a bloody image. Read the article before you bray again.

  12. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    Steve Jobs will be the next target Skynet sends Terminators after.

    I sense a paradox somewhere.

  13. orchidcup says:

    An RFID chip implanted in the skull at birth will be the next iteration of total security measures provided by Big Brother.

    Permanent identification tracking for traveling, voting, shopping, census, banking, and tax collection.

  14. Glenn E. says:

    So where does it say in the patent, how this prevents a terrorist from getting on board? As far as I can tell, it just makes IDing the rest of the flying public, a faster process. But it’s not mind reading technology. And it’s only a matter of time before its gamed or hack by someone with the money and resources to do it. The fallacy thinking appears to be that terrorists are always alone and under funded. But those terrorists that caused 9-11, were not alone or without substantial backing. So it’s just a matter of buying some iPhones, and paying off someone for fake IDs. It’ll happen again.

    But meanwhile, the upper class traveler will be less inconvenienced with the iPhone’s “skate thru airport security” app. You can bet Apple wouldn’t be liable for when it goes wrong.

    • orchidcup says:

      We all know that a terrorist is likely to be posing as an 85 year-old lady in a wheelchair or a 7 year-old kid with a backpack.

  15. Jess Hurchist says:

    Out of the blue my phone failed 10 minutes ago as I’m typing. Really! this isn’t a thought experiment.

    What is the fallback procedure when that happens between leaving home and getting on the plane?

  16. pedro says:

    Ooops, my oy!phone ran out of batteries. Can you stop the plane until I can charge it a little bit to show you my pass?

  17. Apple works on the future technology, and I think it’s really friendly of Transportation Security Administration.