How The TSA's Security Theater Harms Us All

from the there-are-victims dept

Security expert Bruce Schneier has been debating the former TSA boss, Kip Hawley, over at The Economist, concerning aviation security. The argument has gone on pretty much as expected, but Schneier's closing argument, in which he details the very real cost of the TSA's security theater, is fantastic. First, he does a brilliant job dismantling Hawley's "you just have to trust us that we know what we're doing" line:

Kip Hawley doesn’t argue with the specifics of my criticisms, but instead provides anecdotes and asks us to trust that airport security—and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in particular—knows what it’s doing.

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).

At this point, we don’t trust America’s TSA, Britain’s Department for Transport, or airport security in general. We don’t believe they’re acting in the best interests of passengers. We suspect their actions are the result of politicians and government appointees making decisions based on their concerns about the security of their own careers if they don’t act tough on terror, and capitulating to public demands that “something must be done”.

From there, he notes that the TSA's ridiculous security theater, for which no evidence has been provided to show it actually keeps us safer, has very real "costs" to the public:

In 2004, the average extra waiting time due to TSA procedures was 19.5 minutes per person. That’s a total economic loss—in –America—of $10 billion per year, more than the TSA’s entire budget. The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year. Both of these numbers are for America only, and by themselves demonstrate that post-9/11 airport security has done more harm than good.

The current TSA measures create an even greater harm: loss of liberty. Airports are effectively rights-free zones. Security officers have enormous power over you as a passenger. You have limited rights to refuse a search. Your possessions can be confiscated. You cannot make jokes, or wear clothing, that airport security does not approve of. You cannot travel anonymously. (Remember when we would mock Soviet-style “show me your papers” societies? That we’ve become inured to the very practice is a harm.) And if you’re on a certain secret list, you cannot fly, and you enter a Kafkaesque world where you cannot face your accuser, protest your innocence, clear your name, or even get confirmation from the government that someone, somewhere, has judged you guilty. These police powers would be illegal anywhere but in an airport, and we are all harmed—individually and collectively—by their existence.

It's an excellent point, and one that is frequently overlooked. He notes that the increased fear created by such measures is exactly what terrorists wanted. He also points out that if we took the money being wasted on security theater today and actually applied it to "investigation, intelligence and emergency response," it would be a lot more effective. But that requires coming to terms with a politically inconvenient fact: that 100% safety is an impossible goal, and striving for it has tremendous costs, many of which simply aren't worth it.


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  1.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

    It has never been about keeping people safe.

    It has always been about creating a "feeling" that you are safer and thus should reelect those as--oles that brought you that safe feeling.

    Perfect example. My wife who is an elementary school teacher that has flown maybe 10 times in the last 20 years was for a time put on the terrorist watch list when she tried to fly to Alaska for a visit with her brother. She had to go through a huge amount of additional screening just to get a flight to Alaska and then had to go through 10 times as much to get home in Atlanta.

    Mind you, she is as plain vanilla a person as is possible.

    It just shows that the TSA is more clueless and less able to secure us against threats then they act like they can.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    I feel incredibly harmed. After my last flight, I couldn't think right because of all the mental anguish caused by the TSA. They so harmed me, harmed us all, we are positively dying every day they are on the job.

    /SARC

     

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    Jay (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    Something that Bruce may have missed...

    For $100 bucks, you can fly through security. How effective is this method? If you're a frequent flyer, you can pay to gain TSA's trust.

    Also, while you're flying in first class, you can talk to an agent to take care of all of your expensive needs in the mile high club.

    There is nothing to the TSA that gains my trust in the organization. Bruce is exactly right.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:05pm

    Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    It has always been about creating a "feeling" that you are safer and thus should reelect those as--oles that brought you that safe feeling.


    That's interesting, actually, because while I agree that it's about creating a "feeling", I believe that the feeling they're trying to create is not one of safety, but of fear.

    A big part of TSA (and Homeland Security in general) centers around exaggerating risks and instilling the maximum amount of fear possible. A person in fear will give up almost anything to an authority figure who promises to protect them. Fear turns off our ability to reason. Fear turns us into little children. It is the most corrosive of emotions.

    Look at how fear has not just enabled authoritarians to do great damage to the fabric of our society, but got a substantial percentage to believe that this is a good thing, that freedom and liberty are antiquated notions too dangerous to have anymore.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Uh, I like being manhandled by strangers, so that's good, right?

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Something that Bruce may have missed...

    For $100 bucks, you can fly through security. How effective is this method? If you're a frequent flyer, you can pay to gain TSA's trust.

    The 9/11 terrorists all had first-class tickets. I suspect that if this is all that is necessary, the terrorists will have no problem meeting the requirements.

    Bruce has been right from the beginning, but since he is the voice of reason, the TSA has been ignoring him because it doesn't help them rape the people and the Constitution (through tax money and at the checkpoints.)

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    "investigation, intelligence and emergency response,"

    I doubt any government spending does anybody much good.

    The only reason I do not believe the government was responsible for 9.11 is the fact they are incompetent.

    It is, in fact, their incompetence which saves us from their malevolence. Can you imagine how horrid things would be if all US government entities--from Feds thru local cops--where suddenly 100% effective in enforcing every stupid law that had ever been passed?!? It would be more hellish than the stupidity we live thru today in the US.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    Uh, I like being manhandled by strangers, so that's good, right?

    I guess for me it depends on who the stranger is that is manhandling me. If they gave me a choice between the hot blonde (there never is a hot blonde TSA worker, is there,) and the smelly overweight guy, I'd take the hot blonde every time. But no, I get stuck with the smelly overweight guy every time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    LOL

    /sarc

     

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    Anonymoose Custard (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    I have a better title for this article

    The truth of the matter is that terrorism is defined by fear, not by action.

    What the TSA is actually trying to do is placate people by creating a sense of safety from their fear of terrorism. By reinforcing that fear, they are essentially terrorizing us.

    Therefore, a better title for this article is this:

    "How The TSA is Actively and Willfully Helping The Terrorists Win"

     

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    sigalrm (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Re:

    I feel incredibly harmed. After my last flight, I couldn't think right because of all the mental anguish caused by the TSA. They so harmed me, harmed us all, we are positively dying every day they are on the job.


    *sigh* The frog being slowly boiled in the pot doesn't feel harmed either. If you don't get the reference, check wikipedia's article on the "boiling frog".

    On second thought, don't worry about it. Just go watch "dancing with the stars" and everything will be just fine...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Want to be 100% safe? Thought police. Orwell had it right in 1984. Pick one to focus on: Safe or Free. Can't have both.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Re: ...

    Ahem:

    BULLSHIT

    (that is all.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    I'd like to go viral with this, plz

    The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year.

    Of course, to really go viral, we could just shorten it to "TSA KILLS 500 AMERICANS PER YEAR."

     

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    Grae (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Re:

    I'll give you that no harm is done to innocent travelers and you'll still have to explain why we're spending $8,000,000,000 per year on an agency that does not fulfill its purpose. You cannot deny this; they themselves have admitted in their own top ten list that they've never caught one terrorist trying to board a plane.

    If you want to go the route of claiming they provide additional benefits beyond the scope of their mission then you'll still have to explain why they are off task and off their mission and why are we paying it to do something it was not created for.

    I'll give you all the cards you want and you'll still be holding a losing hand.

     

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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    The problem is we had a problem (9/11) and are trying to solve every single other problem as a result.

    9/11 will never happen again due to 2 things.

    1. Reinforced cockpit doors

    2. Passengers beating the bloody tar out of anyone trying to get into cockpit.

    We have flight #93 from 9/11 and the JetBlue captain being taken down as concrete examples of both points.

     

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    Torg (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    I feel just as afraid in an unsecured security line as I would in an unsecured plane. What's to keep someone from blowing us up while we're waiting in a tightly packed group to be checked for explosives?

     

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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re:

    The dealer has whatever hand they like...yours is the losing hand unfortunately.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re:

    It will still be a winning hand over "no security at all". Thanks, I will take the TSA groping over wide open concourses any time.

     

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    vastrightwing, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Foreign threats? How about domestic?

    It seems we have more to fear of our own bureaucrats than we do of any foreign threats. I’d welcome going back in time to the days when we bought our tickets 5 mins before take off and could bring our family right to the gate. Yes, I miss those days. I don’t worry about terrorism from any foreign countries at all. Even if a few slipped by, so what. Sometimes planes crash. Sometimes cars crash too. Part of life.

    Now there is an enormous infrastructure around the security theater and it needs justification to keep growing. My biggest fear is that in order to keep building up the security theater, more threats will have to be invented. Sure they may be plausible threats, but statistically insignificant.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

    There are a wide range of alternatives between the current TSA and no security at all, but you knew that already.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why should I let the TSA grope me?

     

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    sigalrm (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    We have flight #93 from 9/11 and the JetBlue captain being taken down as concrete examples of both points.


    Speaking of the JetBlue Captain - If the TSA follows their normal anti-badness reaction pattern, they should be announcing that flight crews will be banned from planes in the next day or two.

    The pattern should be familiar to everyone by now: TSA fails to prevent something 'bad' from getting on a plane, Airplane passengers prevent said badness from being implemented, TSA bans bad thing so it can't happen again.

     

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  24.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    "Those who give up essential liberties for the sake of security deserve neither." - Benjamin Franklin

    "There is no reason to give up any freedoms for the sake of security." - Ron Paul

     

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  25.  
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    Grae (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unsure what point you're making or rebutting. Basically you're saying "No, you're wrong!" Care to respond with an actual point?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    Re:

    Free please.

    That was simple!

     

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  27.  
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    Torg (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You do realize you're just as exposed having not gone through security as you are without any security to go through, right? Those wide open concourses are exactly as safe as the security line, just without the groping afterwards.

     

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  28.  
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    Grae (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Prior to the passing of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, privately run airport security required visitors to pass through a metal detector and to x-ray luggage/bags they carried with them. The ticket counter agents were required to ask passengers if their luggage had been out of their immediate control since being packed and if they had been asked to carry anything onto the aircraft by someone unknown to them.

    You're either entirely ignorant of the decades of airport security that preceded the implementation of the TSA or you are purposely being dishonest with a false dilemma of "all or none". You still lose. Care to try again?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    TSA is the Terrorist Support Agency

    Every day they're in operation is another victory for terrorists, because every day they instill just a little more fear. And THAT, not destruction of property or death of citizens, is the entire point of terrorism.

    It turns out that Osama bin Laden was far more intelligent than the US government: he not only planned this, but he said so (in his book) and yet the idiots in DC still fell for the scam. That's like watching "The Sting" for the fifth time and still not figuring out the con game.

    The best thing that could happen today for the security and safety of the US would be a total TSA shutdown. I'm sure the rapists, pedophiles, pimps, bullies, and thieves working there could soon find something else to do with their time.

     

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  30.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    Yes, the TSA patented response system of "Let's put procedures in place to prevent this anomalous situation that has never happened before from ever happening again." This is usually followed by a self-congratulatory round of back-patting as a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence remains a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

     

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  31.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    Considering I'm just as safe with my freedoms as without, I'll take freedom any day. Maybe if you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I'll be safe from a random psychopath beating me to death with a carry-on, sex crazed lunatics feeling me up in the middle of the terminal, or some asshole with a cold. But until you can prove 100% safety, I'll keep my freedom.

     

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    FM Hilton, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Perhaps they're all perverted paranoids

    They grope babies, women and grandmas. They seize innocent looking items for possible contraband.

    What they don't do is check the cargo holds for some suspicious looking package, which could contain one of those things that blow planes up.

    That's the scary part.

    I'd suggest seriously that we dismantle the whole kit and caboodle, but of course too many people are making money from our fear.

    Bin Laden won in the long run, just as he knew he would. We've turned into our own worst enemies.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm thoroughly convinced now that TAM simply opens up a list of logical fallacies and picks one at random each time he posts an inane comment.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re:

    The government is trying to tell you something.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    I feel just as afraid in an unsecured security line as I would in an unsecured plane. What's to keep someone from blowing us up while we're waiting in a tightly packed group to be checked for explosives?

    That got me thinking...

    A couple years ago, I was at the airport waiting for a family member to come back from a trip. When they arrived, we all went down to the baggage claim area. A young woman with two kids were standing there waiting for their luggage, and it was quite obvious to everyone that the kids were making things difficult for the woman (running away in opposite directions.) At one point she managed to get the kids in line long enough to pull a back off of the belt, but then the kids were off with the woman running after them. An airline employee, noticing the commotion, came over and inquired about the unattended bag. We told him that the bag belonged to the woman who was trying to get control of her kids, and I said I'd be happy to continue watching the bag for the woman until she came back. The employee, apparently thinking this was a bomb plot, called for security and before too long the woman was back, crying, telling security that she needed help keeping control of her kids while she got the rest of her bags from the conveyor. Security was obviously not there to help, and eventually a police officer came up, dismissed the security guards, and then helped the woman retrieve her luggage and carry it out to her car while she held her kids. (Any one of us would have stepped up to help too, but at the time, that would have probably caused even more of an incident with the employee/security guards.)

    Of course, a couple weeks later I was back in the airport and noticed an unattended bag sitting outside of the airport terminal and notified the police, who picked up the bag, pulled back the zipper to see if there was any identification on the bag, and then brought it back into the terminal, past all the people, and deposited it in the lost and found.

    While I was surprised at the time, really it makes sense -- the cops seem to be the only folks at the airport that are actually thinking with their brains. Everyone else is worried about terrorists and evil gremlins. The cop walked up and figured someone accidently left their bag behind, just like the other one figured that the woman needed some help.

     

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  36.  
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    KelvinZevallos (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Re: I have a better title for this article

    "How The TSA is Actively and Willfully Helping The Terrorists Win"

    Because the TSA are the actual terrorists?

     

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    hothmonster, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    Well pretty soon they might have to go all FBI on us and start coming up with new plots, carrying them out, catching themselves and then making a big story out of them stopping the plan they created.

    Thankfully I don't think the TSA is smart enough to pull this off.

     

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  38.  
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    B. Uncha Psuchers, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    americans never had freedom ...

    they just had the word "freedom".

    Their captors allowed them to have that one word for the last couple of hundred years to sooth them while them while they grazed and mooed and chewed their cud.

    That ONE word made it insanely easy for their captors to control them, corral them and send for regular milking and periodic slaughter.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually he has them on a dart board.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The government is trying to tell you something.

    Maybe, but I doubt it. For the government to be trying to tell me something, that would imply intelligence, and I am pretty sure, based on my extensive training and experience, the government is anything but intelligent.

    They probably have some rule that says that only smelly overweight men can manhandle smelly overweight men, and I just happen to be one of those (minus the smelly overweight part.)

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

    Re: americans never had freedom ...

    You know, about 6 years ago I was reading an article that was comparing Bush to Hitler. It made some very convincing arguments about how we were running down the path to becoming a fascist state. Then the top comment pointed out, if we were half as fascist as you claim you would already be dead for writing this.

     

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    Mr Big Content, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 2:57pm

    500 Deaths Per Year

    The mistake Mr Schneier is making, of course, is that those 500 extra deaths are non-terroristic deaths. Seems a small price to pay for safety against the evils of terrorism.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, like how TV execs decide what goes on the air.

    ...

    I miss American Gladiators and other gameshows.

    Way better than stupid crap like Survivor.

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:02pm

    Re:

    False choice, freedom is an essential part of safety. Once you give up your freedom, you are not safe from those you have chosen as your rulers. By maintaining your freedom, you can take steps to secure yourself against attack. These can often be as simple as vigilance and planning, though in certain situations, certain defensive devices are highly recommended.

    The problem with posing the question the way you have, is that it encourages the mentality that people can not take responsibility for themselves, which plays right into the hands of the fear mongers. Understanding that liberty is a prerequisite of safety and that one is responsible for one's own protection is most of what is required. The governments role is to step in a arbitrate before a minor issue (relatively, theft for instance) escalates into a harmful altercation (severe wounding and/or deaths).

     

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    techturf (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    The TSA does not bother me one bit

    That's because I have not flown since they were created, and don't plan to as long as they exist. As soon as the airlines and airports lobbied for it (yes, they actually pushed for the federal government to take over airport security), I suspected I would never fly again. I was probably right.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:28pm

    Yeah, I trust the TSA.

    I trust them to be rude, insensitive, and I trust they will grope all over me and nitpick over everything.

    I also trust that they will have little real impact and also trust that the whole concept is about politics, greed, and control.

    And I'll just rent cars when I travel, I do trust that Hertz and others will have a car ready to go when I need it... :)

     

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    Overcast (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

    "How The TSA is Actively and Willfully Helping The Terrorists Win"

    Because the TSA are the actual terrorists?


    At the rate our government is taking away rights, and rampaging out of control - terrorists won't matter... The US Government will destroy the concept of this country long before any terrorist can.

    9/11 did a lot of damage to us - well, let's say it sparked the government tyranny phase - and that's what's done the most damage to our way of life - not the planes hitting the buildings.

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    TSA Agent: "Sir, would you carry this suspicious package on board for me?"

    Passenger: "I don't think that's a good idea or even allowed."

    TSA Agent: "It's ok. You can trust me. I'm a TSA agent. This package is nothing but explosive odds-and-ends for instructional purposes only."

    Passenger: "Well, I suppose. Do you want me to deliver it to the air marshal?"

    TSA Agent: "Let me take a look at your package. Hmmm. Just as I thought. Yet another terrorist carrying a package full of explosive odds-and-ends marked 'For Instructional Purposes Only. Please deliver to Air Marshal.' You're going down, buddy!" [blows Terrorist Whistle]

    Passenger: "You told me to carry this on board for you!"

    TSA Agent: [swinging magic scanning wand like a billy club] "Didn't you read the signs posted damn near everywhere? DON'T. [whap] CARRY. [whap] OTHER. [whap] PEOPLE'S. [whap] ... Bob, could you come here for a minute?"

    Blogger Bob: "How can I help you, my good man who is just following established beating procedures?"

    TSA Agent: "Could you take over? I've got a fifteen to take before my shift is over?"

    Blogger Bob: "Absolutely. I am nothing if not 'just one of the guys' and perhaps 'girls.'"

    Blogger Bob: "PACKAGES. [whap] ON. [whap] BOARD. [whap]"

    and etc.

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    Archivist (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 3:49pm

    Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    It is not about anything, it is simply the basic inefficiency of government/large organizations. People want to jump on a theory of malice, but it is most likely just blatant backward incompetence. You can treat as a conspiracy and you will come to the same solution, so, to each his own.

     

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

  50.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: americans never had freedom ...

    if we were half as fascist as you claim you would already be dead for writing this.


    If you believe this, then you don't actually understand what fascism is.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    Wait -- are you sure they've patented this? If not, I could patent it and prevent the TSA from their normal response. Oh wait -- prior art. Never mind...

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    akp, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:15pm

    Re: The TSA does not bother me one bit

    You're lucky you don't live in Alaska, Hawaii or anywhere else off the 'contiguous' United States. You can travel freely, state to state from the safety of your car or train (and watch out, soon they're coming for that too).

    If I wanted to boycott the TSA (and oh how I do), I would be trapped and unable to travel within my own country.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    Hear hear.

    The TSA can kiss it as far as I am concerned. I'll take my chances on the road. Dang if I am going to pay for the privilege of being groped.

    Nor do I need the added exposure to radiation, the degradation of jack booted thugs in response to the public.

    The TSA has a serious image problem with the public with good reason. Not two months goes by without claims of ill treatment, sexual harassment, theft, or the monotonous spouting of everything is by the book, even though no one knows where the book is, what it looks like, or who wrote it.

    In any other setting most of civilization recognizes sexual harassment for what it is when they see it. Here we have state sponsored sexual groping for your enjoyment.

    Is it any wonder that the flying public is avoiding vacations in the US or that US citizens are choosing to drive instead of fly? You know the air lines are happy with that.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why must it imply intelligence?

    Could they not be trying to tell you that well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... like... you know, like, you know what I mean, like...

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    Re:

    And what exactly was the point of that? What a stupid post.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Walt Dexter, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 5:03pm

    In fairness to the TSA...

    My wife has had a hip and knee replacement. This means that whenever she goes through a metal detector, it beeps.

    When we flew in 2000, they handled this very badly. They were unclear in their instructions to her, to the point that she thought they were sending her on, so she headed toward the gate. At which point it looked like they might tackle her.

    Post-TSA, the instructions to her have always been clear, and the situation is almost always handled in a prompt, friendly and professional manner.

     

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

  57.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    United States of America

    You are becoming grotesque.

    You douse the lights of freedom yet claim to hold it steady.

    You are not our master.

    Adjust your course or you too shall wither and die.

    Do not protect me so for I do not wish it.

    I cradle the infant of hatred for what you do.

    Liberty! It fosters no tolerance for control.

    Mutants of freedom plagued by power and wealth multiply and fester with ignorance and complacency.

    You do not own this! It is not yours to control.

    You are outliving your purpose.

    You do not protect with manipulation and control - you thrive.

    You twist law and justice into what? Manipulated chaos.

    Our enemies are within!

    You suffer the world.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Chris Low, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

    TSA is also bad for tourism

    well, having heard all the horror stories, I've long decided to go elsewhere for holidays rather than America. the only way I'm exploring america is via google earth.

    probably plenty of reduced tourism numbers from the rest of world than there actually would be were it not for the TSA
    --

     

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

  59.  
    icon
    Tom Landry (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 6:38pm

    While I do agree with most of the statements in the piece, I believe the "no fly" list is a bit of a cheap shot. They would be crucified if an individual on said list committed an act of terrorism if the person was allowed on-board. Put them on the list and they do nothing and the list is used as a moral bludgeon.

    if one is going to argue these issues, at least try to be fair. The truth is disturbing enough without having to embellish the bullet points.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:07pm

    Thank fucking god I don't have to fly! I already get fired up about the idea of ISP's doing the MPAA's dirty work. I would end up in prison if I went to a airport. The first one of them that wanted to be a dick I would bust them right in their cock sucker. Sure I might get hit with 5-10 stun guns and beat half to death but it would be worth it.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

    "The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year."

    I don't necessarily doubt these numbers, but I would like to see more information on how these numbers are estimated.

     

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

  62.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Mar 30th, 2012 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    There's a sliding scale between abolishing the no-fly list and leaving it as is. Having its contents make sense would be a start. There's no reason why having a political, religious, dietary, and monetary moderate on the no-fly list makes even a little bit of sense, and having a senator on it even less so. In light of that, they deserve to have it used as a moral bludgeon, and treating such a use as a catch-22 is either a logical fallacy or an admission that you have even less faith in the level of competence the government is capable of than I do.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 8:52pm

    America turned into the Soviet Union.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    F!, Mar 30th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    Cake or death?

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Mar 30th, 2012 @ 11:53pm

    Re:

    You do realize that the current implementation of the "no fly" list has no actual ability to verify the identity of anyone on the list?

    For instance, there was a story in the news awhile back about a person being harassed by airport security because his 3 year old son's name was on the "no fly" list. Turns out that the hoopla was because of someone with the same name was on the list. No photo for comparison. Not even an age! Nope, just a name. Now, image if a name like John Smith got on the list. Or if someone on the list just has his/her name changed. The list is a complete joke!

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    mike, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 1:18am

    Somtimes SciFi Movies become reality

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 1:38am

    Re:

    Personally, I have believed for a long time now that if one person punched a TSA agent, a riot would erupt and many passengers would join in and lynch the rest of the rapists. Word would quickly spread to passengers in other airports and soon there would be riots against the TSA through the whole country.

    People in the USA are fed up like that, you can feel it.
    I don't live in the USA so I'm not going to throw that first punch, but I'm willing to bet it's all it would take. It will be fun to watch on Youtube when it happens.

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *rolls dice

    More reality shows!

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Something that Bruce may have missed...

    Everything seems cheap to a suicide bomber hours before death...

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 9:32am

    In 2004, the average extra waiting time due to TSA procedures was 19.5 minutes per person. That’s a total economic loss—in –America—of $10 billion per year, more than the TSA’s entire budget. The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year. Both of these numbers are for America only, and by themselves demonstrate that post-9/11 airport security has done more harm than good.


    So, the TSA has now killed more people than 9/11 did. In a year or two, it will reach twice the number 9/11 killed.

    Good to know. :P

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: The TSA does not bother me one bit

    You're lucky you don't live in Alaska, Hawaii or anywhere else off the 'contiguous' United States. You can travel freely, state to state from the safety of your car or train (and watch out, soon they're coming for that too).

    If I wanted to boycott the TSA (and oh how I do), I would be trapped and unable to travel within my own country.


    In 1818, entrepreneurs at the Black Ball Line began operating the first ocean liners with regular passenger service. Notably, it would be another 90 years before the invention of the first working heavier-than-air flying craft.

     

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

  72.  
    icon
    sgt_doom (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Schneier, nice guy but doesn't have a clue

    People like Schneier, Valerie Plame, Bob Baer, etc., are good people who appear to forever remain clueless --- it ain't about SECURITY, dood!

    It ain't about National Security, dood!

    The Financial-Intelligence-Complex wants your money and wants absolute command-and-control over you, and this has been, and shall continue to be, how they roll.

    You people ever, ever, ever read any history? Solid history? Labor history? Financial and economic history???

    Geez, clueless is as clueless does.......

     

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

  73.  
    icon
    tqk (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Re: 500 Deaths Per Year

    The mistake Mr Schneier is making, of course, is that those 500 extra deaths are non-terroristic deaths.

    Remember that old ST:TOS episode where they beamed down to a planet that was in the middle of a war? No bombs were heard, no casualties seen, and people just showed up at the disintegration chamber when the computers computed them to be "hits." They were appalled when Kirk destroyed the disintegration chamber, forcing them to accept the reality of warfare.

    The TSA has outsourced terrorism casualties to the road network, where they ought to be. :-P

     

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

  74.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Re: Schneier, nice guy but doesn't have a clue

    Yes, of course it's really about control, but they're not going to come right out and say that. We have to pretend their stated reasons are their actual reasons in order to have anything resembling a debate.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    Ancient Mariner, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Tell the Administration to Sequester TSA funds

    Tell the administration to withhold funding from TSA until they respect the Constitution and the public:

    http://wh.gov/RPx

    1. Remove and destroy all imaging machines that potentially can "see" under our clothing.
    2. Cease and desist all invasive patdowns that involve touching genitalia unless there is probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a crime.
    3. Cease immediately harassment of people who assert their constitutional rights during airport screening.

    http://wh.gov/RPx

    Thanks for signing.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    dkr, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    NO No NO - each of those (10) closely pack group are holding two liters of nitro. The TSA takes one & throws it into the bin...

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    ted, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    Re: The TSA does not bother me one bit

    Whatever it did, it probably kept their costs down because I don't think any airline pays, unless they're paying from one division to another, for insurance. Can you imagine what Liberty Mutual (or anyone else) would charge to insure a 747?

     

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

  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 6:54pm

    Re: 500 Deaths Per Year

    I disagree. The result is the same 500 people dead that wouldn't be if they had flown instead of driving because of a decision made by those people to drive instead of fly as a result ultimately due to a terrorist act or acts. It may not be directly due to terrorism but it is still due to it none the less.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2012 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Schneier, nice guy but doesn't have a clue

    You obviously aren't paying attention to what he is saying. He is pointing out the silliness of the policies they are implementing in the name of security and safety by pointing out that they accomplish neither of those things. He knows very well why they are there and how they are used to benefit specific companies.

     

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

  80.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Mar 31st, 2012 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re:

    That is rather anarchistic. I doubt it would occur...

     

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

  81.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Apr 1st, 2012 @ 10:09am

    1+1+1+1... boom!

    Take 6 untracked terrorists, each with 1 1oz bottle of explosive liquid (or binary precursor - not detectable by bomb sniffers) + 1 with an empty 6oz bottle. On plane, add 6x1oz bottles of liquid to 6oz empty bottle, insert one undetectable trigger/detonator smuggled on by another terrorist (or more, in case one gets caught), and voila!

    So, does the TSA security theater provide REAL security? Not even close dude!

     

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

  82.  
    identicon
    proximity1, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: It has never been about keeping people safe.

    RE : " I believe that the feeling they're trying to create is not one of safety, but of fear."

    That's right. Notice that this--and other points you raise-- are so often missed or go unmentioned in public discourse deepite the facts that these are or should be obvious and of key importance.

    Here is one more: All of the obscene costs are largely due to the--again typcally unmentioned-- facts that instead of targeting our very large role in world-wide deadly injustice which provokes terrorists and their sympathizers, we refuse the course of promoting justice as both an end in itself--as it ought to be--and the most effective means to undermine and erradicate the same feelings of outrage over blind force and its part in injustice which have and do prompt our society to respond by killing those whom we designate as our intractable enemies.

    First, we made ourselves their intractable enemies and, now, faced with their (various) organized oppositions, our option of resorting to justice as a remdey for an otherwise endless cycle of attacks and reprisals, is the one course we simply adamantly refuse to entertain in theory or in practice.

     

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


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