Oblivious Man Staring At iPad Causes Security Meltdown Conga Line

from the iTerrorist dept

We've often discussed the complete farce that airport security has become since 9/11. Security theater that appears to be a performance art piece on how dumb government can get isn't something we should be looking to export, but it seems like many countries throughout the planet have incorporated many of the reactionary tactics you can find in the States.

Take, for instance, the story about how a guy in Australia who accidentally walked in the wrong direction while paying too much attention to his iPad shut down a terminal and delayed flights for an hour.

On Saturday morning, a man got off a plane at Sydney Airport in Australia and was so enchanted by the fascinating content on his iPad that he walked into a domestic terminal without bothering to go through security. This event was captured on CCTV and unnerved officials so much that they evacuated passengers.

Flights were delayed for around an hour. One also wonders about security at Sydney Airport. Australia is currently under high alert after its prime minister, Tony Abbott, declared that a terrorist attack on his country was "likely," even though his security services hadn't discovered any "particular plots."
Terrorism is an issue that should be taken seriously, but if the civilized world is going to simply give up so much sense as to let a guy accidentally walking the wrong direction to essentially shut down an airport for an hour, then we might as well just admit defeat in our own minds. I see people pulling this oblivious move on my city's streets every damn day. It's annoying, sure, but it's fairly easy to determine that these people aren't going to be blowing up any buildings any time soon.

Well, maybe after they beat that Candy Crush level, but certainly not before. In the meantime, it's been over a decade, so we can all just calm down a bit when it comes to pretending to do airport security?

Filed Under: airport security, australia, ipad, security, walking


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 3:23am

    Going with the current Govt rationale the store that sold the iPad should be sued for secondary liability and Apple for tertiary. Also, the silicon mining companies could go in for quaternary liability. Ahem.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 4:48am

      Re:

      No, see, what needs to be done is charging music labels and the RIAA for quaternary liability, even if the man wasn't listening to music.

      Since they can argue that the price of mobile phones and devices must be increased as they may be used for piracy, obviously they must be held responsible because the guy might have been listening to music!

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

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 4:16am

    A number of airport personnel have stated that it is trivial to walk around security without being detected. And if this guy hadn't been paying so much attention to his iPad, he probably would have avoided notice as well.

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

    • icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 6:04am

      Re:

      All airports are security sieves. Does anyone think that a chain link fence with barbed wire will stop a determined person? Most airports have a general aviation section where there is no security.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 4:23am

    "Terrorism is an issue that should be taken seriously [...]"

    No. It should not. It's a trivial and inconsequential threat with very, very low occurrence probability. Anyone who actually has the time and wit to talk about "terrorism" isn't actually terrorized: terrorized people do not speak cogently and discourse at length, they scream in incoherent fright.

    The entire "terrorism" scam is a farce cooked up by governments eager to use it to excuse (a) military adventures and (b) power grabs.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 5:18am

      Re:

      Indeed, countless dangers killed(and continue to do so) far more people than terrorists could ever dreams of, on a yearly basis at that, yet some losers kill 3,000 people with a pair of planes and suddenly terrorism is the greatest threat on the planet, and needs to have billions thrown into 'preventing' it?

      If the various governments really cared about saving lives and protecting people, they'd shift some, or even better most of the money currently earmarked for 'anti-terrorism' purposes into dealing with threats more likely to claim lives, and that list could likely fill a book.

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

      • identicon
        Just Another Anonymous Troll, 1 Oct 2014 @ 5:30am

        Re: Re:

        About 1315 deaths daily occur from smoking.
        That means every 3 days we have a 9/11 because people are stupid and smoke.
        The terrorists won on 9/11. We're scared out of our minds of any minor security fart, and that's precisely what they wanted.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 9:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, I'd argue that after 9/11, those in power were able to use terrorism as an excuse to push for laws that they'd wanted for a long time, and most people couldn't really be bothered one war or the other, as long as those in power were actively trying to keep things from bothering people in general.

          Nothing to do with being scared for the most part; more to do with power-grabbing and apathy.

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

          • identicon
            Just Another Anonymous Troll, 1 Oct 2014 @ 10:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well yeah, the unrealistic fear of terrorism allows/causes the government to pass laws that pre-9/11 people would have revolted over.
            "Those who would give up their liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither and will lose both."
            -Benjamin Franklin

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 1 Oct 2014 @ 4:56am

    So if a guy can sneak past security while obliviously staring at his iPad, what could a terrorist who's actually trying to sneak past do? Probably a lot better, if you're actually trying to evade security. It's not called security theater for nothing, ya know.

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 1 Oct 2014 @ 4:57am

    If your security can be defeated by someone staring at an iPad, how difficult is it going to be for a terrorist to get through it?

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

    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 1 Oct 2014 @ 4:58am

      Re:

      Great minds think alike, it seems. What are the odds?

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

    • icon
      Vincent Clement (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 6:18am

      Re:

      Think about the 9/11 terrorists. They didn't evade security or customs. They went right through it. Multiple times. They thought it was easier to go through security rather than skirt it. That's how effective security was and continues to be.

      Every time I travel to the US, I have to laugh at the effort the US puts into securing the border by swiping my passport, asking me silly questions and doing a cursory check of my trunk, when there are so many gaps in that US-Canada border. All but one kilometer of the Ontario-US border is water.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      If your security can be defeated by someone staring at an iPad, how difficult is it going to be for a terrorist to get through it?


      Well, that's like saying "If your security can be defeated by someone thinking the door to your house was their door and opening it, how difficult is it going to be for a zombie who's looking for brains to do it?"

      Meaning: the reason security theater generally works is the same reason my pet rock protects me from alligators. It's all about proximity to the threat.


      I think the best security I've ever heard of was video security that tracked paths through the airport and tagged movement that was unusual. The second part of the security was sending a trained behavioral security officer to intercept the individual immediately and talk with them. Then if they appeared suspicious, they'd be brought in for questioning.

      This system is not in the US, of course, but actually seems to work where it's deployed. And since the behaviouralists are dressed like airport staff and appear non-threatening, anyone they intercept who they decide isn't a threat just feels like they've been approached by helpful airport staff.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re:

        "dressed like airport staff and appear non-threatening, anyone they intercept who they decide isn't a threat just feels like they've been approached by helpful airport staff."

        Wait, wait, wait. Nothing about airport staff appears nonthreatening, and any airport staff who approaches me appearing to be "helpful" is automatically suspicious, since only cops do that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 5:01am

    Why are terrorists bothering to hijack planes when they could do more damage in the security checkpoint line?

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

    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      Because they don't want to do damage; they want us to shred our own constitution and liberties as we curl up in a ball hiding from our wildest fears. Or at least let someone else leverage that fear into power and control.

      Remember kids, sort your recycling. Because terrorism.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 9:32am

        Re: Re:

        I see that statement a lot, but I can't agree with it. Terrorists don't care at all about our airport security unless it's relevant to their plans. They don't care about the Fourth Amendment. They care, perhaps, about spreading their terroristic beliefs and maybe about US foreign policy.

        They want to hurt us, but I doubt they would consider this sort of thing "hurting" us. I'm fairly confident that their master plan is not to make us have slight delays when someone doesn't pay attention to the security setup, and it's not to make us undergo gropings when we want to fly. They wouldn't get people willing to die for that sort of thing.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 10:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "They want to hurt us, but I doubt they would consider this sort of thing "hurting" us"

          Not all terrorists have the same goals or opinions, but if we're talking about al qaida, then this is indeed a part of what they consider "hurting" us. The proof is in what they've written before and after 9/11.

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

        • icon
          Jeremy Lyman (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think you're using the definition of 'terrorist' preferred by some of those who would leverage our fears "for our own good."

          That seems to lump religious fanatics, genetic supremacists, nutjobs with guns, and generally other 'non-enlightened' groups who would oppose the United States government with physical force.

          However the goal of actual terrorism is to achieve political gains by leveraging fear. Frequently the threat of harm is a more effective to create fear, panic, and paranoia.

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

  • identicon
    Call me Al, 1 Oct 2014 @ 5:08am

    Its the pervasive fear that has been created by the constant shouting about terrorism that makes these events so ridiculous.

    Before 9/11 someone would have shouted "Hey buddy! You need to go through security."

    The guy would look up, smile in an embarrassed way because of how oblivious he was to the world and then probably jog back round to go through.

    Instead they shut down an airport.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      Before 9/11 someone would have shouted "Hey buddy! You need to go through security."

      Um, no. Before 9/11, someone would have wanted to know what kind of electronic device he was carrying. "Hey buddy! Do they make Apple Newtons that thin?" They would have walked the wrong way into the terminal together, staring at the screen and watching a streaming vid ... oh right, no Wifi.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 5:43am

    You don't even need to be a passenger to cause havoc, look at what happened at O'Hare this weekend when some contractor set fire to a RADAR system.

    But because the suspected contractor (what is it with contractors and "secure" systems nowadays) is white he probably won't get charged with terrorism.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 6:08am

    A new arrow

    The "authorities" have just added a new arrow to the quiver of real terrorists - they can shut down just about every airport in the world by seemingly innocuous actions of oblivious passengers.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 6:44am

    i'll bet the 'security high alerts' are in place because there is a new law, similar to the one brought in recently in the UK, about to be brought in, without any sort of debate and definitely no opinions from the public!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 7:53am

    Well, really, I've got a whole new terror plan! I'll get together a few hundred fanatics and have them absentmindedly wandering with their iPads in airports all over the world... the combined hours of shut down airports should easily crumble western capitalistic societies and bring international business to a halt.
    And unlike bomb plots, I'll even be able to reuse my fanatics to wander into other airports tomorrow! Victory!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 8:55am

    Never!

    "In the meantime, it's been over a decade, so we can all just calm down a bit when it comes to pretending to do airport security?"

    Never! We must pull out all the stops to win this never-ending war! There is no such thing as going too far!

    /s

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 9:57am

    So an airport is shutdown because a guy getting off a plane didnt go through security a second time?

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

  • icon
    radarmonkey (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 11:14am

    The sheer incompetence that is airport security is summed up by one obliviot walking into a secured area and not being challenged!

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

  • icon
    Watchit (profile), 1 Oct 2014 @ 12:51pm

    The forbiddin dance!

    Conga! Hon Hon Hon Hon!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2014 @ 7:36pm

    Oh the perpetual war on terrorism...

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


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