TSA Planning New, Even More Invasive Security Measures In Response To 'Threat' Of Implanted Bombs

from the security-theater-is-reactionary dept

One of the main problems of the TSA's brand of security theater is that it's totally reactionary. Nearly every bit of it is designed to stop the last threat, rather than face the larger issues of identifying threats in general. A group supposedly planned to use liquid explosives? You can't bring liquids through security any more! Some jackass tried to light a shoebomb on fire? Everyone remove your shoes! This has resulted in people guessing just how far this will go. Years back, this even led Bruce Schneier to run his movie threat contest, in which the goal was to come up with all sorts of movie-plot style threats, which would then render the TSA helpless.

And, now, for all the talk of the ridiculous new naked scanners and gropings, people have realized that won't do any good if someone has a bomb implanted within them. So... guess what? The TSA is now claiming that they have reports that terrorists are planning to implant bombs inside people to blow up on flights... and that the existing scanners won't spot them. So they may start implementing brand new security procedures which they won't tell anyone about just yet.

Somehow, none of this makes me feel any safer... and my bigger concern here remains the TSA over terrorists. Nothing in what's being done suggests that the TSA is even close to focusing on who is getting on flights, and instead continues to focus on what is being brought on flights, which is a pretty pointless endeavor when you realize that there are always ways to get the next thing on board.

I certainly agree that it would be incredibly tragic if someone had an implanted bomb and it blew up a plane. And, contrary to the claims of some, I'm not advocating that we do away with security altogether. I'd just like to see security that actually focuses on trying to stop a real attacker, not on finding the lady with 4 ounces of liquid in her purse.


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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Just in her purse?

    not on finding the lady with 4 ounces of liquid in her purse.
    Or those old ladies with four ounces of dried liquid in their diapers ...

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Déjà-vu... all over again...

    Change the players and this sounds pretty much like the plot of Tim Cushing's post "Iran Declares Victory Over Internet-In-A-Suitcase" (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110702/17562214956/iran-declares-victory-over-internet-in-a-suit case.shtml)

     

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      Eileen (profile), Jul 9th, 2011 @ 6:03am

      Re: Déjà-vu... all over again...

      Agreed.

      More practically, there is almost no way this is a credible threat. I read some years ago that the amount of explosive you would have to implant would be MUCH larger than you woulds, say, wrap around yourself, because of the damping effect of the human body getting in the way. Some guy who has just been surgically implanted with C4 is not going to feel well or act normally, and I even wonder if it's possible to put enough in a person to actually bring down a plane (vs tearing a small hole, or killing a few very nearby passengers).

      At this point the "terrorists" must just be jumping up and down giggling at how stupid we are...

       

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        SomeGuy, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 8:23am

        Re: Re: Déjà-vu... all over again...

        But what if it's only "implanted" a few inches inside a convenient orrifice? Deep enough to avoid detection but able to be retrieved before detonation?

         

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Mike's pattern: Rant, then play up the fear.

    "I certainly agree that it would be incredibly tragic if someone had an implanted bomb and it blew up a plane."

    But, Americans are able to ignore the hundreds of thousands being killed with their bombs in countries that didn't attack us.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:11pm

      Re: Mike's pattern: Rant, then play up the fear.

      Yes, because the powerless serfs who make up the unthinking biomass of America have the ability to exert their collective will in some way which will not result in bloody revolution...

      /acidic dripping sarcasm

       

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      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 5:50am

      Re: out_of_the_blue's pattern: Rant, then play up the fear.

      You need to add more reader comments. Expound at length on your points, or any other points, for that matter. Each new comment can take up where the previous one left off. Or even go off in a completely different direction. It might not make your position clearer, but you can make up for that with voluminous prolixity.

       

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    Hothmonster, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Ohhh I hope means I get a finger in my ass with my next pat down! I'll have to think of a good one liner for the moment though.......hows "don't worry that only goes off when its packed with C4skin" ?

     

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      BeeAitch (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

      Re:

      No need. From this Wired article:

      "Already, airport security companies cackling at the chance to develop new detection tech for surgically implanted bombs. An Indiana company claims to have developed an imagery machine that can find “explosive materials, narcotics, and low-density plastics hidden inside or outside of the human body,” according to its CEO, by analyzing X-rays scattered or refracted from the body’s soft tissue."

      Sorry, no joy for you! ;)

       

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    deane (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    well this serf at least, because I'd love to see a bloody violent revolution for the fascist regime in the USA!

     

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      Killercool (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      Well, here's your gun, go to the frontline. Oh wait, you want somebody ELSE to do that. Maybe the army? Hmm, wait, I have a feeling they won't want to help you.

       

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        dwg, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

        Re: Re:

        I WOULD like the army to go through airport security for me, if that's cool. Or, more likely, the Navy, I guess, given the invasiveness of TSA searches. Sailors are uniquely qualified to cope with that.

         

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        Michael, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Go to the front line? Do you actually think invading countries LESSENS the threat of terrorism? Seriously? That has NEVER been the case, it is in fact the OPPOSITE of what we know to be true. Since 9/11 there has been an exponential increase in "terrorism" and the more countries you stick your nose into, the more there will be. In my opinion the whole war on terror is just a construct to allow the military industrial complex to flourish. They don't want less terrorism, they want MORE.

         

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      gorehound (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

      Re:

      me too.i want to see all the dems and reps get what is coming to them.

       

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    The eejit (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    FREE SEXUAL CONTACT FOR EVERYONE!

     

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    Donnicton, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Yeah, groping wasn't enough - they want a FULL feel up now.

     

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    Pips, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Yay money...

    Lobbyists for xray machines have a huge grin on their face right now. Wonder how many people in congress are buying shares in these companies this very moment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    unreasonable

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures...


    Is it unreasonable enough yet?

     

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    MrWilson, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Every time I hear of the latest threat that the TSA is using as an excuse for newer and usually more offensive sexurity procedures, I picture two terrorists sitting in a bunker somewhere laughing they're asses off.

    One of them says, "what should would we "leak" next time?" The other responds, "um... let's say that we're planning on lining the anal cavity of our suicide bombers with explosive substances and that we're using American-looking white males as the bombers!"

    Three weeks later, the press release states, "the TSA is stepping up their non-invasive and completely necessary security procedures to include anally probing white male passengers for explosive substances. A credible report states that terrorists are using the anal cavity to smuggle explosive materials onto the planes. All patriotic citizens should willingly submit to anal probing to ensure the safety of all passengers. Remember, it's a sure sign that you're a terrorist if you express discontent with our security procedures!"

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

    Where does it end?

    And what will happen when someone discovers that people are planning on using Korans, Bibles, or blue jeans converted to gun cotton to blow up planes?

    Are we all then forced to get on the planes without clothes, bibles, korans, magazines, cloth bags, playing cards, and anything else made from cellulose? (wood, paper, etc)

    I mean where does it end?

    At this rate, all they need to do to cause the US government to destroy all civil liberties, and turn us into a police state, is publish "a book a day on how to" ...

    ... Do this nasty thing
    ... Do this other nasty thing
    ... Do this to thing to elementary schools
    ... Do that thing some place else

    If the goal is to cause fear and anxiety, and cause western society to destroy itself, then its easy to accomplish. Ronald Regan used a similar technique to destroy the soviet union with the star wars program (SDI).

    /rant

    PS I heard the gun cotton thing on some radio, TV show, or movie. Its not my idea.

     

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    someone (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    So thats how ObamaCare saves us money!

    Free prostate/colon exams with the purchase of any airline ticket.

    I hope no one at the TSA watches South Park, imagine what they will want to do after seeing this:
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/episodes/s11e04-the-snuke

     

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      Ed C., Jul 9th, 2011 @ 9:55pm

      Re: So thats how ObamaCare saves us money!

      No agent McDuggle, I wasn't planning to fly today. The plane ticket was just cheaper than what my doctor charges for a prostate exam.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    The TSA needs a scanner like the one from the movie Total Recall.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CX9Agzeh-c

     

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    sehlat (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Science Fiction Predicted This in 1957



    For details, read Eric Frank Russell's celebrated novel Wasp.
    "Mail would be examined, and all suspicious parcels would be taken apart in a blast-proof room. There'd be a city-wide search with radiation-detectors for the component parts of a fission bomb. Civil defence would be alerted in readiness to cope with a mammoth explosion that might or might not take place. Anyone on the streets who walked with a secretive air and wore a slightly mad expression would be arrested and hauled in for questioning."

    Somewhere in hell Bin Laden's ghost is grinning and saying "I love it when a plan comes together."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    I'm not to sure it's the terrorists doing the planning. The reactions of the TSA has always been 'shut up, we're doing our job by the book so it's ok. When they finally get their tail in a crack to where it is no longer hidden then it is, 'we'll re-evaluate the process' but nothing really changes visible to the fliers.

    TSA has been all along groping for new ways to be offensive and for new territories to become necessary for their questionable services.

    The only reason they are not a presence at trains is a lack of funding. It's not they don't want to be there, they just can't yet fund the machines or have enough people to man them.

    For my part, I refuse to fly. I won't put up with sexual gropes. It offends me that as a paying customer I would have to deal with this. I spend my money like a vote. If I don't like it, whoever it is doesn't get my money by my choice. I will drive and have a chance to see the countryside while doing it. I'm not in that big of a hurry.

    So when does the next potential threat include the trains to justify them being there? You can be sure buses follow and then random checks on the highway. I am surprised the government isn't making them wear a swastika on their sleeves and do an un-natural salute.

     

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    fentondude, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

    Useless measures

    Just last week I flew on a major US airline through a major US terminal. I was subjected to the standard screening, to ensure I didn't carry any hazardous materials on board. Once I was begrudgedly permitted to continue towards the concourse, I stopped at the convenient (yet offensively overpriced) snack bar and purchased a tasty name-brand iced tea product in convenient 20 oz packaging, and passed through the gate, container openly displayed for all to see. I sat in my seat, and pondered the many different ways a GLASS BOTTLE was infinately more dangerous than nail clippers. Security really is a joke...

     

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    trish, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    turn them inside out?

    If everyone on the plane is dead, noone can blow it up.

     

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    johnny canada, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

    jee a bomb inside a person.

    Was that not covered by the Joker in a Batman movie?

     

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    CJ, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    so what we need to invent is a single occupant blast proof chamber which you step in briefly that transmits some sort of frequency that would trigger explosives and cause bullets to explode in smuggled guns to take care of those problems right there. Then no one would have to go through any imaging. You could just have a normal metal detector to look for knives, but locking the cockpit soves that danger. Also the oxygen pulldown masks on planes should be kitted out to protect you incase they moved from explosives to a toxic gas. Problem solved.

     

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      HothMonster, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

      Re:

      Yeah, I trust the TSA to find some new "safe" way to irradiate me. Despite my jokes I don't take the pat-down because I like grown men touching my balls.

       

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    Michael (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    The Last Threat

    No kidding about them only stopping the last threat.
    Did they just now watch The Dark Knight? Will they try to protect us from exploding river ferrys next?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    In a word: "Profiling".

    Though it has been miscast as "politically-incorrect", it has been in use *continually* since the first peace-keeper asked the obvious question, "what did the robber look like?"

    The Israelis have proven it's effectiveness over and over.

    We should be DEMANDING that the TSA use profiling techniques overtly.

    But we won't. We have become a nation enslaved to the god of political correctness in most any aspect of our society. You fucking liberals demanded political correctness because you were too big of a pussy to defend yourself when you were offended. So, you had to have your nanny-state government (your true religion) outlaw being offended. That slippery slope led to the TSA mindlessly groping the 90-year old cancer patient because they aren't allowed to focus on the specific threats we face. We would offend rag-heads if we pointed out that *they* are 98% of all terrorists in the last twenty years (if not more).

    Fucking left-wing/liberal/demoncrats/progressives have done more damage to the U.S. than they could ever hope to help, and the bulk of that damage has been due to unintended consequences. Or maybe they intended to fuck it up for everybody. I can't tell anymore. They always seem to want everybody to be equally miserable. Fuck em.

     

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      HothMonster, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

      look a bigfoot! oh, just another bigot

      First off let me guess you're a white male?

      Second, if we had a list of features that we profiled and everyone else was safe what do you think the next guy trying to blow up a plane wouldn't look like?

      "We would offend rag-heads if we pointed out that *they* are 98% of all terrorists in the last twenty years (if not more). "

      So do you live in a fantasy world entirely or does your racism just not allow you to view the whole truth?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_terrorism_in_the_United_States

       

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      HothMonster, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

      sorry i need to feed this troll some more

      "Though it has been miscast as "politically-incorrect", it has been in use *continually* since the first peace-keeper asked the obvious question, "what did the robber look like?""

      That isn't profiling, that is trying to identify a suspect after he has committed a crime. Profiling is trying to identify a suspect, based on superficial characteristics, before he commits a crime.

      "The Israelis have proven it's effectiveness over and over. "
      I know I wake up every day saying, " I would sure feel safer if the US was more like Isreal."

      "You fucking liberals demanded political correctness because you were too big of a pussy to defend yourself when you were offended. So, you had to have your nanny-state government (your true religion) outlaw being offended."

      You realize how retarded these sentences are right?
      We were too afraid to do anything about being offended so we stood up and got government to do something. If we were so afraid wouldn't we have done nothing?
      Then we are so offended we outlawed being offended? So we made ourselves outlaws, so you won? Who is we by the way people that aren't racist?

      "That slippery slope led to the TSA mindlessly groping the 90-year old cancer patient because they aren't allowed to focus on the specific threats we face. Fucking left-wing/liberal/demoncrats/progressives have done more damage to the U.S. than they could ever hope to help, and the bulk of that damage has been due to unintended consequences. "

      Wait was this caused by liberal policy or the Republicans that profit from rapiscan machines? Also the TSA was a republican invention.

      "They always seem to want everybody to be equally miserable. Fuck em."

      I think its your psychological problems making you miserable, you ever see the beginning of die-hard 3 where Bruce Willis is wearing the sandwich board sign? I suggest you try that as therapy.



      On a lighter note, I got in a discussion with a Florida highway patrolman a few years ago about profiling. He said the group they were told to target the most, can you guess?, was 2 white males age 18-25 driving out of Florida and doing the speed limit. They are the most likely to be hauling drugs (because racists like this guy would probably just want to pull over everyone who isn't white) and the greatest suspicion is that when do young white kids drive the speed limit.

       

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      abc gum, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      that's funny ... oh wait, you're serious?

       

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    Jose_X, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Return to good old days with modifications to add competition

    Why hasn't the US gov (with gains to the sponsoring Senator or Rep) created a competing system to the TSA to measure results?

    One example would be to keep the stronger cockpits and some other measures but revert to pre TSA days.

    Perhaps the flight routes could not pass near certain places in the US (not a problem for most air travel) or would have to avoid certain airports or entry angles.

    We have 21st century computers to resolve the logistics of this two-tier system.

    We'd get competitive data points by which to measure the TSA costs and effectiveness. We'd save tax dollars and have many happier flying customers.

    Pilots crashing on purpose (or by accident) would be no higher of a threat than is the case now, for example.

    Essentially, the people on board would know the risks ahead of time, and they'd have paid for this. The people would know to fight off on board attacks. We'd still avoid most threats as we did in pre-2001 days. AND, to neuter the only argument possibly against this, we'd do a great job or eliminating the threat altogether of using the plane as a controlled missile to create national chaos.

    This "revolutionary" addition basically already worked for many many decades, giving airplanes the reputation for being the safest way to travel.

    It's only a matter of time until we do the obvious. I wonder who will get credit.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Passenger 51

    The only people that have stopped a plane bomber were passengers. As long as airlines still allow those then I think we're good.

     

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    Christopher Gizzi, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    CT Scan

    It's a portable CT Scanner.

    That's the way there're going to find implanted devices.

    On the plus side, people with cancer who don't know it might be able to get that diagnosis... They might also get cancer from constant radiation exposure but, hey, that hasn't stopped the TSA before.

    For the record, the extra exposure is minimal but you know how the crazies are with their conspiracy theories about the harm these machines do.

     

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      Prisoner 201, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

      Re: CT Scan

      Actually, every ionizing particle you recieve is like a lottery ticket - each carries a tiny chance you will "win" a DNA damage that causes cancer.

      Statistically, it takes doses well over the safety thresholds to have a reasonable chance of getting cancer. Just as statistically you need to buy a lot of lottery tickets to have a reasonable chance to win.

      But just as with lottery tickets, you could get it on the first ticket, or any one ticket after that.

      So it is a good idea to, when reasonable, avoid any form of radiation capable of breaking the molecular bonds in DNA.

      Unless you are feeling lucky.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    I'm really afraid of the media's inability to attack TSA's faulty logic:
    Fliers: Do we have to feel up the elderly, handicapped and infants?
    TSA: No, a single hole is what will get exploited by the terrorists, rendering the system useless.

    Fliers: These scanners don't get for internally planted bombs, or bombs inside fat rolls, etc. Your invasive system has weaknesses in it.
    TSA: These scanners are necessary for the security of our nation....

    I heard a guest on NPR (Diane Reahm) this morning stating this same BS logic, and his argument was the argument against these scanners didn't hold much water. WHAT!?

    Damn them, what they're doing to us is wrong. Damn them to hell for stepping on the constitution and getting away with it.

     

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    Paul (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    Terrorists routinely bomb security check points

    We know this. This is done every day. It doesn't require any surgery or any complex planing. It is done all the time, so it is quite understood by the terrorists we intend to thwart.

    But despite this knowledge, TSA forms large lines that wind about themselves to make dense groups of people prior to screening.

    Really smart. I feel so much safer, knowing that my security is in the hands of idiots.

     

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    Shane C (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Who is on the plane doesn't necessarily solve the problem either

    I understand that the rest of the world deals with airport/airplane security by concentrating on "who is flying" instead of "what they bring on-board." However, in the U.S. that probably won't work as effectively. Specifically because, it will still be a government ran agency making the determination.

    For example, would you agree to a credit check before you boarded a plane? The first time it appears that someone who was in "massive debt" (ie: most everyone in America) took payment to bring something on a flight, it will happen. Are you unemployed, and flying to a job interview somewhere? Sorry about you luck, you're now a security risk!

    How about your driving record? Get a speeding ticket on the way to the airport? Sorry, you're reckless and distracted. You must be a terrorist!

    Taxes? Are you about to be audited? What do you have to live for? You must be a terrorist!

    How about medical records? Just diagnosed with a fatal condition, and want to spend your remaining days with family? What do you have to live for? You must be a terrorist!

    No, "who" over "what" doesn't solve the problem, as long as the deranged puppet masters of this security theatre are still making the rules.

    Government has to solve the problem, that's what government is there for. However, the mentality and approach used to determine who is a threat has to change. Ignoring humanity, and liberty to appease the paranoid will achieve nothing.

    Shane

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    The jews do security right and they haven't lost any planes in a long time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    So they may start implementing brand new security procedures which they won't tell anyone about just yet.

    Based on the fact that they refuse to say what it is they're going to do, I'm going to assume that it involves performing surgery on people at random to "check for bombs".
    Sounds insane? So does groping little girls, but they're already doing that.

     

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    Anthony, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    People are far more likely to die in a car crash on their way to the airport than being blown up in a plane. So why hasn't the US Government banned cars yet?

     

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    chris, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 6:04pm

    Nothing in what's being done suggests that the TSA is even close to focusing on who is getting on flights, and instead continues to focus on what is being brought on flights
    It's interesting that you mention Schneier because what he often points out is that identity-based security, what you're suggesting, doesn't work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 10:07pm

    I guess we're now going to start seeing "routine" disembowelings at airports. For our own protection.

     

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    someone (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 10:47pm

    pucker up

    Do I at least get a kissed?

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jul 9th, 2011 @ 1:47am

    False Positives, anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    icon
    Bergman (profile), Jul 9th, 2011 @ 1:49am

    False Positives, anyone?

    Blow a few soap bubbles to entertain your grandkid before the family leaves for the airport, then change the kid's diaper.

    Congratulations, you are now a walking false positive for nitroglycerin, able to set off every explosives detector in the airport!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 2:21am

    But... the terrorists!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    abc gum, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 9:04am

    Is there any correlation between the increase in TSA anal probing and the decrease in alien abductions?

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    How do they propose to find these hypothetical implanted bombs? They already X-ray everybody that's going to get on a plane. If that isn't considered good enough, what is? Exploratory surgery?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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