Starting Saturday, the TSA wants to know your birthday


In most areas of our lives, we're doing everything we can to reduce identity theft by reducing the amount of personal information released to businesses when we buy things from them.

But in one area, a new law wil force us to divulge more: On Saturday, Aug. 15, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require every American to include their birth date and gender in their passenger information if they want to book a seat on a domestic aircraft. The TSA also wants every person's I.D. to precisely match the name with which they book their tickets.

Although the official start date is Aug. 15, some airlines will get on board in the fall. But the change is coming.

The TSA says that the added personal details must be given during the booking process, after which they will be used to check computer records of suspicious passengers. Passengers shouldn't have to recite their true birth dates at the TSA's airport checkpoints, which should be good news for Joan Rivers.

It's part of the TSA's new Secure Flight initiative, which is setting up rules to allow government inspectors tighter control of the people who are permitted to fly. The TSA says that the additional information will help its clerks prevent mismatches that sometimes wind up detaining innocent passengers for hours on end.