Verified Identity’s Fly CLEAR Shuts Down

Image: Flickr user Hyku

Fly CLEAR, a registered traveler program that allowed people to enjoy shorter TSA lines, shut down yesterday after three years in business. The Wall Street Journal has more:

Clear began in 2005 with the potential to make airport security quicker and easier for frequent travelers. For an annual fee, Clear would collect information and put something through a government security check. Once cleared, the traveler, in theory, would have privileges at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. It was originally envisioned as a “trusted traveler” program.

But TSA never was comfortable with the notion of “trusting” any travelers, and so the security benefits of a Clear card boiled down to getting a special lane and some staff to help carry plastic tubs for you. For some people, moving to the front of a line was worth the price. But many travelers now receive that benefit with special lines for elite-level frequent fliers. And since lines are, for the most part, far less of an issue for travelers, the re-named “registered traveler” program has been slow to catch on with the flying public. Clear only was available at about 20 airports around the country, and often only at specific checkpoints at those airports. (Verified Identity’s) Mr. Brill had stepped down as CEO in March.

Clear was the largest of the registered traveler programs, with some 165,000 members, but not the only vendor. FLO Corp. is the second largest in the U.S.

CLEAR collected quite a bit of personal client data as part of its operations. What happens to that data now that CLEAR is (I’m assuming) filing for bankruptcy? The privacy policy says that

When your account is cancelled for any reason, we will remove your personal information from our system automatically after 90 days. There are some limited exceptions. Our credit card processors require us to retain a record of the financial transactions we conduct for 24 months. This includes your name, credit card number, address, and email address, so we can notify you if the financial transaction is disputed. Also, a copy of your biometric information (but not your name) is retained by the Transportation Security Clearinghouse to prevent fraudulent enrollments under alternate identities.

If you apply for Clear membership online, but do not complete the enrollment process within nine months, we will then delete all of the personal information you provided during your initial application.

There is, however, no mention of people with current or renewed memberships getting their money back.

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.