This is a response to Sand Diego crossing becomes more clogged; by Elliot Spagat; Burlington Free Press; Saturday, May 21, 2005; page 5A.
The story says that the american government created a program where people could submit to a thorough background check, and the people who passed could most searches when crossing american borders. However, smugglers and other crooks were using the program to cross american borders without being searched.
This does not surprise me at all. If the government is going to grant selected people the right to avoid searches, that right will be more valuable to criminals than to ordinary people, and so criminals will try harder than ordinary people to earn the right to avoid searches. And the government has no incentive to be correct about who should be able to skip searches. If the government inspectors are frequently wrong about who should be able to skip searches, then the government inspectors will probably not lose their jobs, and will probably get a budget increase.
Anyone who is certified to be honest by the government is likely to be a crook.
A better system for expedited border crossings would be for the government to privatize the process of deciding who is eligible for expedited border crossings.
The government should license insurance companies to issue transponders. Any car or truck which carries one of the transponders can pass through the border without stopping, without being searched, without filing any reports. A computer would record which transponder passed through which border crossing at which time, and vehicles with transponders would be photographed.
Any time that the government finds than any crime has been committed which involves a border crossing with a transponder, the insurance company which issued the transponder must pay the government a lot of money. The exact amount of money depends on the seriousness of the crime.
Any insurance company which issues transponders to crooks, or to people who might lend the transponder to crooks, or to people who are likely to be robbed by crooks who want a transponder, or to people who are likely to try to duplicate the transponder, will lose a lot of money and will go bankrupt. So the insurance companies have a very large incentive to be correct about who should be allowed to skip searches and who should not be able to skip searches.
The government will probably not find out every time a transponder was involved in a crime. This is not important. It is not possible for the government to prevent or even solve every crime. The system of insurance companies and transponders will not be 100% successful, but all other possible systems will not be 100% successful either. The system of insurance companies and transponders will work better than any alternative while costing less than most alternatives. All that matters is that the payments must be large enough so that an insurance company which issues transponders to crooks will lose money, so that only insurance companies which succeed at identifying who is honest and who is a crook can survive.