Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Grounded: Millionaire John Gilmore stays close to home while making a point about privacy
SAN FRANCISCO — John Gilmore’s splendid isolation began July 4, 2002, when, with defiance aforethought, he strolled to the Southwest Airlines counter at Oakland Airport and presented his ticket.

The gate agent asked for his ID.

Gilmore asked her why.

It is the law, she said.

Gilmore asked to see the law.

Nobody could produce a copy. To date, nobody has. The regulation that mandates ID at airports is “Sensitive Security Information.” The law, as it turns out, is unavailable for inspection.

There are things, I’ll grant, that the government may conceal from general knowledge. I’ll further concede that some of those things it shouldn’t even explain why they are secret, because that would reveal too much.

But the law that gives them the power to do it is – must be – in the public domain.

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