DennisQ--thanks for that update. It's not surprising, but disappointing at the same time. It sounds like the classic CYA strategy--in other words, I did what I was supposed to--it's not my fault...
I had a similar experience yesterday at the airport. In addition to knives, lighters, machetes, guns and other unwelcome items, it appears you can no longer store printer cartridges in your carry-on bags. They were even kind enough to put a picture of a cartridge on a sign inside the circle with the slash, in case there was any doubt what a printer cartridge looked like.
Luckily, I left mine at home with with my portable printer and my machete
Just a bit of an update on this: yesterday, I shipped something via UPS, and they did ask for my ID, as expected.
But as a bit of a surprise to me, this exchange also occurred (paraphrased, I didn't keep an exact transcript):
Employee: What is in the package?
Me: Ummm... it's a gift. [I was a bit taken aback by this question]
Employee: Yes, but what is it? We need to know what is in the package.
Apparently, you also now need to declare the contents of the shipment. The description I gave was even written on the invoice.
Another brilliant form of security, if you ask me. All terrorists are honest, and if asked what is in the package, they will surely answer, "a bomb."
USPS has a similar policy -- the whole "does your package contain anything liquid, perishable, etc." -- and while similarly easy to circumvent, it's more useful and less invasive than demanding to know specifically what you're shipping.
Even though there is lot of shortcomings in the security system the initial move by UPS is sensible. In the future we might see more such moves by the leading companies like FedEx, DHL and UPS. But the cost that is incurred in placing and maintaining such a huge system can lead to the increase in the charges that consumer has to bear.
Thanks for all the feedback--the shortcomings of ID are legion.
In conversations with carriers and in doing research, my sense is that there is automated screening of cargo at numerous points in the transit process. The problem is not every single item is scanned, x-rayed or whatever process they use. It may be randomly slected or in pre-determined intervals--I'm not sure. Carriers are very close-mouthed when it comes to their processes, although UPS says its system is multi-layered.
Depending on whoever is checking the ID is also a big drawback as many of you pointed out. At this time of year, these folks are harried, stressed out and unless UPS provided training, not security experts. At least at airports you now expect delays. I feel for those folks.
I applaud UPS for adding this security measure. I think it is great whenever any company takes a step, however small, to add security. HOWEVER, I'm not sure I understand how this solves any problem. If someone is trying to ship something illegal or an explosive, they are certainly not going to supply their real ID, and they are not going to supply a fake ID that would get flagged by the TSA database. They are putting too much faith in the person behind the counter in these stores. The problem is the box itself, are they using whatever measures possible to ensure that the contents are safe?
While checking IDs for cargo is a way to verify the sender, the real issue involves verification that the cargo is both legal and non lethel. UPS could much more easily test every box for contraband with a few automated devices in their cargo handling facilities.
If you check the cargo before it even gets to the first aircraft, then you have proactively ensured the safety of the aircraft, but the crew and the other packages, some of which will mean a great deal to the reciever. These cargo checks are especially easy since UPS and the other shippers all have automated cargo sorting and distribution anyway. The additional automated devices would be far more likely to catch Bad stuff than an ID check.
Since UPS is doing the ID checks, I would highly recommen capturing an image of the sender in addition to the ID. That way if the ID is indeed faked, the person using it can be better identified and added to the FBI or Interpol persons of interest list.
There are definitely a lot of shortcomings to the plan. IDs are easily faked and people with valid IDs no doubt try to ship explosives through the mail. However, if the IDs are checked against a database, such as the TSA's watch list, it might prevent something from happening. Although UPS doesn't discuss it's "layered" security system, that's the only way this measure makes any sense.
Barbara, all the security measures taken by different agencies from time to time, is for our own saftey only. It’s the duty of a government to always keep national security up and to avoid any illegal activity. When looking from government point of view, ID card issued by any government authority is the only authorized document to prove anybody’s identity. Even though I agree that if anybody needs, they can forge it very easily with the help of latest software. In almost all types of document identification even with security seal also, there are loop holes for the fraudulent peoples.
In this modern technology era, what is the need for carrying such ‘n’ number of document, causing only inconvenience? In my opinion, Instead of asking such type of identity or any other documents, the government authorities have to adopt most modern technologies like bio-metric systems either by using the finger print or even by retina mapping. This may cause a initial huge expenses for government and other agencies, but consider with national saftey and security, this is the only tamper proof mechanism.
Its a good step to ensure safety. I would wonder how come there was no identification needed on retail outlets? Anyone who ships cargo must have clear identity in order to do follow up. This process is good for everyone.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.