‘CourtTV’ Creator Starting Up Security Venture


The creator of “CourtTV” is starting up a business he says will help people avoid long lines at security checkpoints in office buildings, sports facilities and airports.

The New York Times reports journalist and entrepreneur Steven Brill has formed Verified Identity Card Inc. which says it will offer customers an electronic card containing data showing that they are not on terrorism watch lists and do not have certain felony convictions on their records. To get the card, customers will have to pay a fee and also submit to security screenings and high technology fingerprinting. The benefit, Brill says, is that people won’t have to wait in the long lines of security checkpoints.

Brill, who along with “CourtTV” created The American Lawyer and Brill’s Content magazines, says his company provides an alternative to a government-mandated national ID card, which is opposed by privacy advocates and the White House. That isn’t reassuring to privacy advocates like Marc Rotenberg, who heads the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “I don’t think it will necessarily come as an assurance to most Americans that a Big Brother card is being minted in the private sector and not in the government,” Rotenberg told the New York Times.

Brill says customer data would not be sold or shared with other companies, and the system could not be used to track customer movements from checkpoint to checkpoint, but the company would probably alert law enforcement officials about an applicant whose name appears on a terrorist watch list.

Matt Blaze, a cryptography and security expert at AT&T Labs-Research, says such a card may actually be detrimental to security. “The card has to be almost perfect or it becomes worse than useless, because it provides a single point of failure for multiple security systems,” Blaze told the Times.

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