Sunday, May 29, 2005


In on of the last posts I mentioned the Privium program. What is Privium? On their website they say "Privium offers its members priority services, speed and comfort. With exclusive and efficient facilities such as priority parking in P2 or P3, check in at business class desks of participating airlines and fast-track border passage with the irisscan."

It is indeed all that and I can recommend it to all travellers holding an EU passport that depart regularly from Schiphol. You can apply for it on-line and you are to make an appointment for collecting the card. At the appointment you are screened by a border-control officer (called the 'Marechaussee', the Dutch Military Police). Once they figured-out you do not seem to belong in a correctional facility, you proceed to get an iris-scan and to get your fingerprints taken. That is all being transferred to a type of credit-card. That's pretty much the procedure.

Once at the passport control lines at Schiphol, locate the Privium lane. Very easy to find, it is usually the right-most lane and even more apparent, the lane with nobody in it... You look place your card in the reader, wait 5secs and proceed to the iris-scan. Look into the square and you will hear 'Identity confimred'. That's it, you're through.

The Privium-program has an annual fee of about EUR 100, depending on the facilities you require. I say it's worth it, since you gain priority parking, lounge access, check-in at business class desks, no-wait passport control without the need for your passport and they are now talking to US Homeland Security to implement this program as a pilot at JFK airport in New York.

Unfortunately, Schiphol is currently the only airport that has this program. I believe London Heathrow has a similar program, but that's it. It also is only open for EU passport holders only. If you are not a holder of such a passport or if you don't visit Schiphol Airport much, the program is not for you, but now with the talks to Homeland Security it just might become something to watch-out for at US airports in the future.

Oh, Ryan, I'm curious about the ACLU-stand on this program...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its a private (non-government-funded) company, correct? If so, ACLU should have no stance on the matter. No government is requiring anyone to sign up for the service, so there is no issue.

Contrast this with the US's recently passed ReadID Act and their plans for the next generation of passports...where we (groups like ACLU, Libertarian Party, EFF, CDT, Cato, etc) have a definate problem. Soon all Americans will have a national ID card and will be required to produce it in order to fly or take trains. Busses and cars are surely not much futher away. Freedom of Assembly: Gone. Privacy: Gone. Idea that Americans can no longer travel freely _within_ their own country: reprehensible.