Verified Identity Pass, the company behind the “CLEAR” security lanes program at many airports across the United States, has ceased operations effective as of 11pm Pacific time June 22. That was last night. Their security lanes – which used to be available at a few dozen airports – are closed effective immediately. Here’s the notification that they sent to their customers:
At 11:00 p.m. PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.
After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.
Clear Customer Support
Verified Identity Pass
600 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Short and sweet as far as notifications go, though they only gave about 3 hours notice to their customers which pretty much sucks.
The company and the associated program had a rocky life. The TSA used to perform background checks on the folks applying for the cards, making it seem somewhat reasonable that they’d move to the front of the security lines. Then that went away and the customers still went to the front of the lines. At the same time, however, those customers were still subject to ridiculous TSA policies, like still needing to show a photo ID after using their CLEAR pass and its integrated biometric features to verify that they were the person who signed up for the program.
In the end, the program only really was helpful at a handful of airports and it cost way too much – over $100/year – to really make much sense for most people. Considering that elite customers with the airline frequent flyer programs often received similar benefits at many airports the target market wasn’t really there for them. And it got even smaller when the economy tanked and the number of folks traveling by air dropped significantly.
I’d like to pretend that I’m sad to see another small business fail but in this case I’m actually really quite ambivalent. Sure, it sucks that a bunch of people are out of work, but the program was silly. They provided very few real benefits and created a tiered system of access to public services. I’m not really a fan of that, particularly when the actual benefits were so minimal. Had it meant a reduced screening or other real benefit maybe there would have been value, but that just didn’t happen based on the idiocy of the TSA.
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I never understood why people would readily give up personal data for the ability to skip to the front of the line where they are still subjected to the same screening. This was nothing but a way to "bribe" your way to the front of the line. What was the point of that shiny CLEAR card and biometric scanner? The TSA still wants your real ID, and your shoes, laptop, belt, liquids…
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