Flying Security: Shackle All Passengers With Tazer-Like Bracelets

from the coffee,-tea-or-bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt dept

And we were just talking about how the expected boom in air travel security technology never materialized, and along comes Bruce Schneier to point out a patent on a bracelet that passengers would be forced to wear, which could provide a debilitating shock at the decision of a crew member. And, yes, there's a company trying to commercialize this idea. I'm sure absolutely nothing might go wrong by strapping up all passengers with a potentially debilitating shock. Nothing at all...

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  1. icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), 21 Mar 2008 @ 1:11pm

    Let me be the first to point out...

    ...that the in-flight shocking of a crying, cranky infant, is not likely to result in the desired behavioral compliance.

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

  2. identicon
    Matt, 21 Mar 2008 @ 1:26pm

    Tomorrows headline

    And the airplane industry suffers another year of record losses due to the electrocution death of crying cranky teething infant.

    Lets all hope the government bails them out from bankruptcy again, after this debacle.

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

  3. identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, 21 Mar 2008 @ 1:48pm

    That's interesting but,

    How would that work? I can see it now: "Hay, Mr. Terrorist, what is the serial number on your electric bracelet?" or even better "What seat were you in? 4D? Give me a minute to look up the activation code for your bracelet."

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Tomorrows headline

    Now why would they strap a bracelet to an infant? Tell me how an infant can pose as a potential threat? Funny comment.

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

  5. icon
    Ron (profile), 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:21pm

    Cone on ...

    I'm guessing that when some terrorist person starts making threats, there's gonna be a PANIC button that simply lays everone down. But, what does the flight crew do with the terrorist person now writing on the floor (along with 350 other passengers equally as incapcitated)? Maybe that's how we do early identification of terrorists; they're the ones wearing thick rubber socks. I think it might be easier to just drug all passengers so they are unconscious for the entire flight. It will save on food, you need a smaller flight crew; just enough to handle the injections as you sit in your seat, won't even need functioning toilets on the plane.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:22pm

    Dont tase me dude

    Yeah, thast's a really good idea. And I'm sure that it will not be abused. Evidence of this can be found in the fact that tasers are used every day on criminals without any bad side effects, like maybe death or something like that. In addition, flight attendants have demonstrated that they are fully capable of wielding such extraordinary power over their conscripts without undue malice. I would not hesitate to board a flight upon which such measures were taken to ensure the peaceful flight to our destination. I for one welcome our shock inducing flight attendant overlords.

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

  7. identicon
    Matt, 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Tomorrows headline

    Don't forget that I'm sure they'll enforce this on people with pacemakers (FYI not only old people need them, I know someone in her 20's who has to have one) you never know what those terrorists could be planning.

    Cue murder lawsuit on that one in 5...4...3...bzzzzt.

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

  8. identicon
    Jake, 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Let me be the first to point out...

    Heh. Okay, I could kind of get behind that...

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 2:50pm

    What if they all just wear explosive collars and if they get out of their seat and don't pass through a toilet door within 10 seconds, the collar explodes.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:03pm

    just wait until people get as chance to hack these! >:)

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

  11. identicon
    Haywood, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:04pm

    It would be neat to hack the system

    You could sit there with your transmitter camouflaged as an Ipod, and zap the other passengers. Fun fun fun

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:04pm

    i hope they are activated with RF

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:08pm

    We'll only put them on the 'shady' looking passangers

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

  14. identicon
    Danny, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Problems are different than the ones surfaced here

    They are going to have to have different codes on each bracelet; they can't shock everyone. If they shocked everyone, they'd lose (120-350 - 1) lawsuits each time they used the shocker. And they won't have to look up the code each time, creating either an interface or a algorithm so they know which bracelet goes with which seat is easy.

    But here are the problems:
    1. What if people change seats? Happens a lot (I've done it a few times this year). Will they stop permitting this, or will they make people change bracelets with each seat change. And when people travel in groups, it is not unusual for them to swap around mid flight to talk with one another.

    2. What if ma and pa decide to give little Joey the window seat, even though pa is listed in the window seat (though parents of toddlers are rarely the problem passengers)?

    3. What if the very heavy passenger has a wrist too large for the bracelet? Does that passenger not get to fly?

    4. What if there are a group of 6 or so real terrorists on the plane. Once they are up out of their seats and moving around, how is the cockpit to know which assigned seats to shock?

    5. Enplaning and deplaning takes longer now. Passengers are pissed (especially the ones trying to make connections), and airlines increase their turn around times.

    I just don't see this wrist cuff thing happening. And we don't hear airlines clamoring for it, only the guy with the patent trying to make a buck.

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

  15. identicon
    zcat, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:09pm

    FFS just tranquelize them

    I don't know why they haven't gone ahead with this already. Drug all the passengers and stack them up like luggage. No more terrorist threat, and you save on seating costs, inflight entertainment, meals, drinks, toilet queues.. You don't even need a cabin crew, just let the regular baggage handlers stack the passengers too..

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

  16. identicon
    Aaron, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:22pm

    Instead of going to Florida to get flight crew training, future terrorists will just need to learn to smile and point out the emergency exists.

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

  17. identicon
    Cynic, 21 Mar 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Of course, stupid proposals are only part of what keeps your membership in the "We Are Stupid Society", you also have to ignore the hidden consequences of your actions (like people deciding to drive or take the train instead of fly, or opt for closer vacation destinations, or arrange videoconferencing instead of pressing the flesh at some remote venue). It honestly amazes me that the airlines are doing as *well* (sic) as they are, considering their ineptitude. But at least their memberships in the WASS is not in jeopardy.

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

  18. identicon
    Andy Webber, 21 Mar 2008 @ 4:09pm

    Sounds a pretty good idea, they should do this for the colored and immigrant community, that would make other people feel happier about being around them too.

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

  19. identicon
    John, 21 Mar 2008 @ 4:18pm

    Dumbest idea in years

    Interesting idea, but it clearly will not work for many of the reasons already given. And the lawsuits won't be the only thing flying here.

    Then again, do you honestly think any terrorists will try to take over a plane again? Come on, I'm no tough guy, but if some a-hole tries that on my plane, you can bet if I'm near by I'm going to beat the you know what out of 'em... though I may have to get over the other 10 passengers doing the same thing!

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

  20. identicon
    Hoeppner, 21 Mar 2008 @ 5:28pm

    Sounds like a great way to get all the passengers out of your way while you do what ever needs to be done.

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

  21. identicon
    mikelist, 21 Mar 2008 @ 5:54pm

    tazer bracelets...

    the terrorists have won when shit like this is suggested as an enhancement of security.

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

  22. identicon
    Relonar, 21 Mar 2008 @ 7:16pm

    Planes. they are there. the fly. they are big.

        It has already been done.

    Security is much stricter and the risk vs reward of trying to take one over just isn't as tempting as i was years ago. if the 'terrorists' have all this money power etc. why not just put a young potential through flight school. but thats digressing.

    anyway strapping down law abiding people isn't going to make them any safer than they already are. this just seems like another attempt to make a few sales by latching on to the fear of the masses.

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

  23. identicon
    Quantity Surveyor Man, 21 Mar 2008 @ 7:50pm

    New bonus for travelers

    Frequent FRYer miles!!!!!!!!!!

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 10:49pm

    Re: FFS just tranquelize them

    I remember reading an article where the airlines were considering a system without seats where the passengers would stand for the entire flight. The airline's reasoning was "Hey, if it works for subways and commuter trains, then why not for airplanes?". There would be vertical poles that the passengers would be strapped to for safety. While the purpose was ostensibly to get more passengers into a smaller space, I imagine having all the passengers strapped to poles would help with "passenger control" also.

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

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2008 @ 10:52pm

    Re: New bonus for travelers

    Frequent FRYer miles!!!!!!!!!!

    Funniest thing I've read all day.
    Thanks, I needed that! :)

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

  26. identicon
    zeroJJ, 22 Mar 2008 @ 12:35am

    FUDDY video

    Even in their lame sales pitch of a video, they admit to the fatal flaw:
    "Technology is only as good as the people using it."

    Then they procede to tell us why we need to strap on technology so that somebody else can zap us.

    Really like the stock 9/11 scare footage. I'm sure there has to be a media reel somewhere with "play this at the beginning of your lame Homeland Security sales pitch"

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

  27. identicon
    FlyingCommuter, 22 Mar 2008 @ 6:16am

    Level the playing field...

    Apologies in advance -- long rant follows...

    I say put one of those short rubber cudgels (like the German Police use) in every seat-back pocket along side the barf-bag.

    If someone gets sufficiently out of line, *any* passenger(s) are welcome to stomp a new mud-hole in the miscreants behind and walk it dry. The accompanying law will require you and at least 6 witnesses (not involved in the actual clubbing) from the same flight to swear in court that a reasonable and prudent person in the same situation would agree that the a-hole needed the level of beating given. Without the witnesses, you get to spend some time in jail.

    Initially, there will surely be some false-positives among paranoid passengers who are on a hair trigger or mass affrays among several passengers (oh, rival inner-city gang-bangers perhaps?). But in short order folks will get the message that they need to behave themselves on a plane.

    Mentally unstable a-holes who can potentialy lose self-control will be well advised to travel with someone who can control them. Otherwise, they are at the mercy of the other passengers.

    Pacifists who don't want the cudgel can certainly request to have it removed from their seat-back pocket for their flight. However, they need to remember that pacifists only survive in a society that both tolerates them *and* protects them from the rest of the world which may not share their non-violent ways.

    Given my personal observations, TSA can not and will not prevent any determined person from boarding with a blunt object or non-metallic edged weapon. Heck, I commonly see backpacks emerge from the metal detector with two fist-sized aluminum carabiners dangling off the *external* accessory loops without anyone challenging them. But heaven help a grandma/infrequent traveller who packs a full-sized bottle of shampoo in her carry-on because she will get treated like a terrorist...

    The above suggestion to arm everyone on the flight with some (typically) non-lethal type of weapon is (admittedly) radically extreme and doesn't stand any chance of being implemented. However, as a frequent traveller with one or more flights per week, I can confidently state that the trained-monkeys manning the TSA stations in each and every airport I go through are *consistently* worthless. They typically have zero motivation; a complete absence of any sense of an urgent purpose; generally display an "I really hate my job" attitude and are clearly not paying attention. To be fair, there are a scant few TSA employess who seem to display a sense of purpose and appear diligent; however, that can not be said of the vast majority of them by any reasonable and prudent observer.

    I say that, since TSA can not be relied upon to guarantee a safe flight, then we should at least give everyone on board a fighting chance. I'm open to most any suggestion that accomplishes that goal.

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

  28. identicon
    pgr-fw, 22 Mar 2008 @ 9:24am

    Tranquilizing is a little extreme

    Why not just one of those caged beds like they transported Hannibal the Cannibal in? They could be made to stack very nicely. Probably would go on the automatic baggage handling equipment, and with a little thought they could be made to auto load. Since loading the plane is a big drag on airline costs (all that expensive hardware sitting there while the passengers load up) it could be the ticket to increased airline profitability.

    I'm filing a patent on that idea.

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

  29. identicon
    wrs, 22 Mar 2008 @ 2:20pm

    I'm rather sure lots of people would allow for wearing such a bracelet, simply because security became similar to some kind of religion.

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2008 @ 3:07pm

    I'm assuming this would have no effect upon a bionic arm.
    Whoops ..... back to the drawing board.
    Guess the TSA now has to determine whether your arms are real.

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

  31. identicon
    Javarod, 22 Mar 2008 @ 5:57pm

    Just remember the United Airlines motto, Fly the friendly skies.

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

  32. identicon
    Rekrul, 22 Mar 2008 @ 7:47pm

    How to stop plane hi-jackings with 100% certainty and no violation of anyone's rights;

    1. Design new planes where the passenger compartment is completely isolated from the rest of the plane. No access to the cockpit, the cargo hold, or any part of the plane's systems. The pilots will have their own bathroom and small galley, plus access to the rest of the plane, minus the passenger compartment.

    2. All communication between the pilots and the rest of the flight crew will be by electronic audio and video, controlled from the cockpit. As part of the safety lecture at the start of the flight, all passengers will be informed that at the first sign of any sort of hi-jacking or attempt to coerce the pilots, all communications with the passenger compartment will be turned off from the cockpit. They will not, under any circumstances, be turned back on until the plane is safely on the ground.

    3. Each passenger compartment will be equiped with the ability to release non-lethal knockout gas into the compartment, controlled from the cockpit. In the event of an attempted hi-jacking, the pilots will release the gas immediately after cutting off communications.

    Of course the above wouldn't prevent bombings, but it would render hi-jacking attempts useless. If there's no access to the cockpit, nobody can commandeer the plane and if they can't talk to the pilots, there's no way to threaten them into doing what the hi-jackers want.

    I admit that the third item, the use of knockout gas, might be controversial, but I don't think anyone would have a problem with the first two.

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

  33. identicon
    Evil Mike, 22 Mar 2008 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Knockout gas

    The 3rd one won't fly (no pun), as somebody is bound to be allergic to the gas in question, and would die as a result.

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

  34. identicon
    Bob, 23 Mar 2008 @ 6:39pm

    We'd All Be Dead

    I was on a United flight last year (actually 2 flights out of 6) where the crew behaved more like Nazi prison guards than flight attendants. If we passengers had been shackled by a taser, they would have opened the airplane at flight's end and we would all have been dead. Those prison guards were yelling at us the entire flight: stay in your seats, do not go to the bathroom, do not put anything into the seat pocket in front of you, "we are empowered by the TSA to enforce any rule we want and will have you arrested if you disobey any flight attendant's demand", etc, etc.

    Needless to say, I'm avoiding United in the future, if I can.

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

  35. identicon
    Hi there, 23 Mar 2008 @ 7:30pm


    As if flying was bad enough. I like the seat back clubs. Because then all people are potential terrorists, and it would be like the quite game and who ever losses it an starts beating the living he77 out of people loses. I also hate united because it took me and my dad about 8 hours to get a flight out of sanfrancisco to Munich germany after they decided to book us on a flight that arrived 15 min after the flight that was going to germany and we had to stay the night. I also wonder what happens when you switch flights to a no lethal flight. Would they have some sort of machine that takes the shackle off and then sends you on your way? I also would also agree with the fact that security personal are always half asleep. I would freak out in the airport if they tried to put one of those things on me. I would sue even if the person next to me had to be shocked. Only because it is sickening to see a person in that kind of pain. The worst part would be the fact that its real and not on tv or in a game.

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

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2008 @ 2:08am

    Re: We'd All Be Dead

    Were these the Illinois Nazis from the Blues Brothers movie?
    Seriously, though, there will need be an airline ofering these special "super-safe" flights, where the extremely paranoid will be happy to fly shackelled, drugged and/or strapped down, if this inventor is ever going to make any money.

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

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2008 @ 5:49am

    Lets proactivly kill all humans because we know they will be the death of the Earth - Done deal!

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

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