From NYTimes, this May;
The winning bidder, AlClear, is led by two former investment managers and backed in part by Robert V. LaPenta, chief executive of L-1 Identity Solutions, a biometrics company based in Stamford, Conn., that supplied kiosks and other technology to the original Verified Identity Pass.
CLEAR is a monthly subscription service that allows people to jump to the head of airport security lines by submitting to a fingerprint or iris scan, or both.
Their website now proclaims;
“CLEAR’s identification technology creates an impermeable link between a member and his or her biometrics. The gold chip on your CLEAR Card enables fingerprinting and iris verification to confirm your identity.”
V.I.P., the former owners of the CLEAR brand had customers submit biometric data, and processed applicants to a lengthy procedure for gaining membership, but were plagued by a series of mishaps themselves, such as the loss of 33,000 customer’s data when a laptop was stolen at San Francisco International Airport in 2008.
“Mr. Brill wrote that a private company could solve the problems of long security lines in airports with a smart identification card, backed by biometric tests, that would allow members to pass through special lines at airports.”
That might be so, but V.I.P. was unable to keep up with the payments on a 32 million dollar loan, and so the security quick-pass was lost. When it went chapter 11, CLEAR was operational in 16 airports. Those 16 are lost, and CLEAR will now be operational in 2 airports as of fall 2010; Denver and Orlando (MCO). Future customers might do well to save their 179 dollars and wait to see if the program gets off the ground at all, so to speak.
“After V.I.P. ceased operations last year, some members filed a class-action lawsuit, accusing the company of fraud and of breaching its contracts by not refunding money to subscribers. But those lawsuits were set aside during the bankruptcy process. “
“The company’s board of directors includes former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Robert LaPenta, chairman and chief executive of L-1 Identity Solutions, and Craig Coy, former head of the Massachusetts Port Authority, operator of Boston’s Logan International Airport.”