In a pure capitalist society, everything is for sale. Quality higher education, as we were reminded this week
, is for people who can afford to bribe their way into top schools. Physical freedom, in the criminal justice system, is for people who can afford to pay fancy lawyers and make bail. Even our private experiences are now for sale. The books we read, the purchases we make, the private conversations we have online are all packaged as data by tech giants and sold to the highest bidder, generally other big companies who want to sell us additional goods and services and manipulate our behavior in all sorts of pernicious, dystopian ways.
Time, too, in a society like ours, is a commodity that can be bought and sold by savvy tech startups. At Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, for example, customers who pay $15/month can now bypass the first leg of TSA security by submitting to a biometric scan, (a fingerprint or iris scan).
Hopkins is the 42nd location and 28th airport in the U.S. to host CLEAR, the company "using biometrics to build a frictionless and secure world."
“We are thrilled to have a new, convenient way for our guests to travel with ease at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport,” said Airport Director Robert Kennedy, in a press release. “Adding CLEAR gives our guests more options for getting through security quickly.”
CLEAR is now available in the airport's central checkpoint for travelers with TSA PreCheck and at the south checkpoint for those without. After a passenger gets a biometric scan at one of the CLEAR kiosks, an "ambassador" will escort them past the line where most of us will be getting our boarding passes and IDs checked by a TSA official. CLEAR subscribers will still have to undergo the the physical security screening, but CLEAR press materials suggest that after the scan, subscribers will get to go to the front
of the security line.
CLEAR is not a substitute for TSA Pre-Check, but may be seen as a complementary line-jumping service.
At $15/month, paid in one annual lump sum, this service only makes sense for very frequent travelers. And like other capitalist innovations, the goal of the service is not to improve the system itself, in this case the unwieldy system of ID authentication; merely to allow those with appropriate spending power to bypass