The owner of the Clear registered traveller programme in the USA has announced that the service will cease from today due to financial turmoil.
Launched by New York-based Verified Identity Pass Inc. four years ago, the company’s website carried the following message: "At 11:00 p.m. PST on June 22, 2009, 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."
Clear had charged an annual fee of US$199 to travellers who had agreed to be vetted by the government and pay in return for access to special biometric-based airport security lanes. It is unlikely that refunds will be given.
From a data privacy perspective, Verified Identity Pass notes that Applicant and Member data is currently secured in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s Security, Privacy and Compliance Standards. The company says it will continue to secure such information and will take appropriate steps to delete the information in due course.
The failure of the company not only causes concerns to the people – supposedly 260,000 of them – who use the service, but will also cast a shadow on the feasibility of such commercially run schemes.
It is unclear whether a company in a better financial position will be able to come in and take over the operation of the well-liked fast track lanes at multiple airports across the USA.