Tag Archives: TSA

Liquid, Liquid Everywhere, But Not a Drop To Drink Free of Our Rulers’ Stranglehold by Becky Akers

Becky Akers has a fantastic way of describing tyrannical state power-grabs:

New York City’s Board of Health, whose members Nanny appoints, will vote this week to restrict the quantity of soda consenting adults may sell and other consenting adults may buy to 16 ounces. Though only in certain venues: we are still supposedly free to purchase two-liter jugs of such poison (nope, I don’t drink soda. Hate it, in fact) from supermarkets. But if you wish to slurp from a 20-ounce cup at the movies, you’ll have to head for China, Russia, or some other place freer than Bloom-burg-on-the-Hudson.

Because Nanny hasn’t banned the stuff outright, he insists he’s just your average busybody instead of a megalomaniacal dictator on a power-spree. “All we’re doing here is educating,” he lied. “[Compelling you to buy soda in the size I decree] forces you to see the difference.”

Read the whole thing – she rips into the TSA and really brings it home!

via Liquid, Liquid Everywhere, But Not a Drop To Drink Free of Our Rulers’ Stranglehold by Becky Akers.

Schneier on Security: The Trouble with Airport Profiling

Bruce Schneier waxes logical on the idiotic yet hopeful notion that it’s somehow possible to pick out the terrorists at the airport just by looking at them and relying on that funny feeling strangers create in your gut.

But given that there are so many passengers and so few terrorists, the strategy is as doomed to failure as anything else the TSA pays its sexual predators to do.

Schneier wraps up the discussion with:

The proper reaction to screening horror stories isn’t to subject only “those people” to it; it’s to subject no one to it. (Can anyone even explain what hypothetical terrorist plot could successfully evade normal security, but would be discovered during secondary screening?) Invasive TSA screening is nothing more than security theater. It doesn’t make us safer, and it’s not worth the cost. Even more strongly, security isn’t our society’s only value. Do we really want the full power of government to act out our stereotypes and prejudices? Have we Americans ever done something like this and not been ashamed later? This is what we have a Constitution for: to help us live up to our values and not down to our fears.

Well said.

via Schneier on Security: The Trouble with Airport Profiling.

Papers, please

I received two interesting bits of news in today’s SANS NewsBites.

Item The First:

 –TSA Testing New Document Authentication System
(April 20, 2012)
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a new system to authenticate travel documents. The Credential Authentication Technology/Boarding Pass Scanning System (CAT/BPSS) aims to detect fake boarding passes and photo identification documents. It also collects and displays travelers’ ID photographs, but once the document are authenticated, the data are deleted from the system.

Reportedly, nobody in the government yet realizes that they are acting out every movie script with the generic third-world totalitarian government that demands papers be produced before allowing the harried hero and heroine to travel to their destination — OR THEIR DOOM.

Item The Second:

 –Executive Order Allows Sanctions for Using Technology for Human Rights Abuses
(April 23, 2012)
President Obama has announced sanctions against Syria and Iran “and those who abet them, for using technologies to monitor, target, and track its citizens for violence.” The sanctions include visa bans and financial restrictions. The sanctions arise from an executive order that specifically mentions the use of technology for human rights abuses.

No word yet on whether this will be applied to police departments and ATF agents who use technologies to monitor, target, and track US citizens for violence, or even to levy sanctions against those FDA guys who got on the Internet, only to discover Amish selling — of all things!!! — raw milk, and then ran in with guns out, pushed everyone around, and dumped all the milk.

Obama reportedly giggled after signing the order while calling up another drone-strike assassination of an American citizen he’d been monitoring, targeting, and tracking.

Obama reviewed actions he has taken to prevent mass killings since assuming office.

They included increasing the number of troops to preemptively kill people all thoughout the Middle East… in order to avoid mass killings later.

“That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there’s an injustice in the world,” he said. “We cannot and should not.”

“No,” he emphasized.  “We frequently must intervene militarily before there’s injustice.  We cannot wait — we must strike first and kill them before they kill themselves or each other.”

Then he went back to spit-shining his Nobel Peace Prize.

We’re Safer Without Them

Two interesting articles on the TSA – the first is by Bruce Schneier, and the second is by CATO on Bruce Schneier’s article.

Schneier got into a published debate with former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley on the lack of effectiveness of the TSA.  It’s funny, yet frustrating, when logic and reality butt up against the cold hard fantasy of bureaucrats.

He wants us to trust that a 400-ml bottle of liquid is dangerous, but transferring it to four 100-ml bottles magically makes it safe. He wants us to trust that the butter knives given to first-class passengers are nevertheless too dangerous to be taken through a security checkpoint. He wants us to trust the no-fly list: 21,000 people so dangerous they’re not allowed to fly, yet so innocent they can’t be arrested. He wants us to trust that the deployment of expensive full-body scanners has nothing to do with the fact that the former secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, lobbies for one of the companies that makes them. He wants us to trust that there’s a reason to confiscate a cupcake (Las Vegas), a 3-inch plastic toy gun (London Gatwick), a purse with an embroidered gun on it (Norfolk, VA), a T-shirt with a picture of a gun on it (London Heathrow) and a plastic lightsaber that’s really a flashlight with a long cone on top (Dallas/Fort Worth).

via Schneier on Security: Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security.

Hawley falls back, repeatedly, on the claim that the new measures must have been effective and worth the cost, since there have been no successful attacks on airplanes over the past decade. By which logic my magical tiger-repellant rock is also highly effective—I’d be willing to part with it for a few thousand dollars, which when you think about it, is a small price to pay for peace of mind. As Schneier observes, successful attacks were an extraordinary rarity before 9/11 as well—and academic studies, the excellent work of our own John Mueller—provide no support for the thesis that the enormous expenditures on airport security since have meaningfully reduced the risk. Oddly, neither do any of Hawley’s anecdotes about various foiled plots—which involve admirable intelligence and law enforcement efforts disrupting terror cells long before they get anywhere near an airport.

via Debating TSA’s Effectiveness | Cato @ Liberty.