Clear, the bankrupt airport service that let travelers speed through the checkpoint, abruptly closed up shop last month.
The company had burned through all its cash, so within a matter of hours, the entire service was gone, and customers were left with a useless membership, to a bankrupt service.
Almost 260,000 people were also left without any way to get their money back, as Clear made it very clear (pardon the pun) that they wouldn’t be handing out any refunds.
Thousands of customers signed up and renewed each week, and even people that paid for the service the same day Clear shut down, were out of their money, and had to resort to credit card chargebacks.
Now, even though Clear is gone, they are working behind the scenes to make things worse. A court ordered the company to refrain from selling the customer information collected from the service.
It isn’t entirely clear why they wanted to sell the data, but it is very troubling that a company with very strict privacy rules would even consider violating their own membership agreement. Their database contains everything from names, birth dates, social security numbers, and numerous biometric entries.
Last month, Verified Identity Pass (the company that created Clear) issued the following statement:
“Personal information is safe – all airport kiosks have been wiped clean, and Lockheed Martin (the IT provider for Clear) has started wiping all the databases containing Clear customer data. No customer data will ever be sold, and once the cleaning process is done, there will be no traces of personal information left.”
Now that they are in court making a case for being allowed to sell personal data, obviously means they were lying when they wrote that statement.
Another development is even more troubling – I have been hearing from Clear members that they are receiving phone calls from Clear employees, asking whether they’d be interested in signing up for the service should it start up again.
It is obvious that something is going on behind the scenes – either a buyer was found for the entire service, or a new company is planning to start from scratch, picking up the pieces left behind. Whether they’ll be able to do this with the membership database maintained by Clear will be up to the courts.