DHS, TSA To Make Boarding A Plane Even More Of A Pain In The Ass
from the whatever-makes-the-experience-more-dystopian... dept
More bag-sorting and intrusiveness awaits more flyers thanks to the DHS and TSA. The TSA has already banned electronic devices larger than a cellphone from being brought on board flights originating in 10 predominantly Muslim countries. Now, it wants to extend that ban to European nations. For now, the new inconvenience is in its test phase.
Rather than make things safer, officials now want lithium ion batteries and other similar fire hazards to be stowed in areas where no one’s likely to notice a developing fire and subject them to the sort of abuse airline employees save for items they haven’t personally purchased. All in the name of safety, and all in the name of unspecified threats.
The additional stupidity is this would only apply to flights in and out of the US, but not to domestic flights… at least not at this point. DHS boss John Kelly sort of clarified this on Fox News last week, utilizing a very governmental vagueness.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on aviation because you are in the process of making some big decisions on aviation. And I want to do a lightning round, quick questions, quick answers.
Are you going to ban laptops from the cabin on all international flights both into and out of the U.S.?
KELLY: I might. That’s a quick answer.
WALLACE: Yes, well, expand a little bit.
KELLY: Well, there’s a real threat. Numerous threats against aviation, that’s really the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly U.S. folks, people. It’s real. You know that I implemented I think on the 21st of March a restriction on large electronic devices in the cabins from ten points of origin.
But wait, there’s more! Not only will laptops face a potential ban on international flights, folks flying domestic may be forced to do even more sorting of their carry-on goods.
WALLACE: Another lightning round question, I do need a quick answer here because we’re running of time. The TSA is testing tighter screening of carry-ons, and the idea that people who bring their carry-ons are going to have to unpack them and put food in one bin, and electronics in the another bin, and paper in another bin.
Are you going to spread that nationwide and what’s that going to do to the screening lines?
KELLY: Yes, I mean, the reason we’ve done, TSA, of course, works for me. The reason we’ve done that is because of — people trying to avoid the $25 or $50 or whatever it is to check a bag are now stuffing your carry-on bags to the point of, you know — well, they can’t get any more in there. So, the more you stuff in there, the less the TSA professionals that are looking at what’s in those bags through the monitors, they can’t tell what’s in the bags anymore. So, if you put —
WALLACE: So, are you going to do that nationwide?
KELLY: We might, and likely will.
There’s a good chance this move will receive unanimous support from airlines. Not that airlines can actually create travel safety policy, but this policy will likely result in more checked baggage. It likely won’t have any effect on travel safety, but it will at least give TSA agents more opportunities to convert passengers’ electronic devices for personal use.
It’s also going to create longer lines at security checkpoints, as bags are unpacked and sorted before scanning, then reassembled afterwards. This new inconvenience also works out well for the TSA, as it serves as the perfect advertisement for its Precheck service — the one where the government sells your rights back to you for a small fee.
Again, this will have a negligible effect on travel safety. In fact, it could be argued that piling up people at security checkpoints makes them a much more tempting target than going through all the logistics of smuggling weapons and explosives onto a plane. At best, security will be no better than it was prior to the bag sorting, and it definitely will make travelers less secure. As Mike pointed out earlier, taking steps to separate people from their electronic devices will lead to all sorts of sensitive information being stored in unsecured areas.
[F]orcing people to give up their laptops has a secondary (but very serious) problem: for anyone traveling with sensitive information (lawyers, doctors, reporters, business execs, public officials, etc.) giving up your laptop is a massive security risk.
All of this makes much more sense when you realize the head of the DHS isn’t in the business of finding smart solutions, but rather selling fear to willing buyers.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Friday said the terror threat is worse than most realize, saying some people would “never leave the house” if they knew the truth.
“I was telling [Fox host] Steve [Doocy] on the way in here, if he knew what I knew about terrorism, he’d never leave the house in the morning,” Kelly said on “Fox & Friends.”
And yet, millions of Americans not only leave the house, but fly millions of air miles without incident. I’m sure Kelly believes this is mostly due to the TSA’s ever-shifting rules on carry-on luggage, but the reality is that terrorist attacks are still an anomaly — outliers on the curve of human existence, at least here in the US. The proposed measures will guarantee more money flows to airlines and TSA, but little else.