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$500,000 Prize for Faster Airport Security Checks 517

Posted by timothy
from the more-logical-would-help-too dept.
coondoggie writes "A security company is willing to fork over $500,000 in prize money to the person or company that comes up with an innovative technology to speed airport security lines. The company making the offer, Clear, says the winning technology must meet a number of criteria including TSA approval and it must reduce inconvenience by, for example, allowing for no divesting of shoes or outer garments."
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$500,000 Prize for Faster Airport Security Checks

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  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:38PM (#21971702) Homepage
    A company which is trying to rake in millions by providing a "You paid more so you can skip the line" service, which promised shoe scanners etc, has to resort to trying to give a (rather small, given the need to get TSA approval) prize purse to make their business model work?
    • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:43PM (#21971780)

      Like most government million-dollar prizes (such as for the next-generation of battery technology), the prize is a bonus. The government, or in this case the security company, also agrees to purchase X units at whatever it costs you to build (including start-up costs, and usually a profit margin of 6-10%). So, if you have a good idea, and invest your time in making it work, the company will end up giving you millions, but you know that $500,000 will be upfront as an interim reward.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jftitan (736933)
        I have a better idea than Z.... Let everyone on the plane carry a gun. DONE, no one will fuck with anyone if everyone has a gun. (say that 10 times fast)

        Thank you, I'll be waiting for my check. you may mail it to... wait this is the internet. contact me directly please.

        • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:19PM (#21973634)

          Let everyone on the plane carry a gun. DONE, no one will fuck with anyone if everyone has a gun. (say that 10 times fast)

          So your point of view is that suicidal terrorists will somehow dislike the idea of getting into a pitched gunfight on a crowded airliner?

        • by LucidBeast (601749) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:28PM (#21973824)
          Would the screener be more gentle if he first felt my gun before going for my nuts.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Arthur B. (806360)
          Before anyone mentions it, some bullets do not pierce the fuselage of the plane. Let the company offer those to the passengers.

          Now a bombing remains possible.

    • Easy as Pie (Score:3, Insightful)

      Lock the God-D@mn Cabin door, and shoot the first co-pilot stupid enough to open it.

      please send check to AIK
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:38PM (#21971708)
    I suggest...

    Do Nothing.

    It will be just as effective, and much cheaper.

    When do I get my money?
    • Dear Sir/Madam

      There are many people after this prize and you need to stand in line. To expedite processing please remove your shoes and place your keys and watch in the basket.

    • by Hatta (162192)
      I have a rock that keeps tigers away. Maybe they could adapt this technology for terrorists instead.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:25PM (#21973766)
        Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm!
        Lisa: That's specious reasoning, dad.
        Homer: Why thank you, honey.
        Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
        Homer: Hmm. How does it work?
        Lisa: It doesn't work; it's just a stupid rock!
        Homer: Uh-huh.
        Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
        Homer: Hmm... Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
        Much Apu About Nothing [wikiquote.org]
    • by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:12PM (#21972268)
      How about make the security so tight that very few people actually want to fly anymore... brilliant!

      Or you always do more profiling, I hear thats popular these days when you don't want people to fly.

      You can also put the terror alert level up to code Magma Hot Super Extreme Red. Red means bad, so people will avoid flying for sure then.
  • by loshwomp (468955) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:39PM (#21971724)
    Anywhere in Europe or Asia ought to work. No "divesting of shoes" anywhere I've traveled outside the USA.
    • by Sanity (1431) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:42PM (#21971766) Homepage Journal
      I don't recall if I had to remove my shoes, but I do recall security procedures in the UK being at least as inconvenient as those in the US. One of the most rediculous was only being able to bring one piece of carry-on including your laptop (ie. you must choose between a laptop and a carry-on bag).
      • what if you had a laptop in a carry-on bag?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You have to take the laptop out to go through the X-ray machine separately.

          The whole thing is a farce- I know (hypothetically of course) of many cases when the scanners haven't spotted knives, lights, liquids, even bullets. Maybe they only spot those sorts of things with the "Evil bit" set??

          A simple way to speed up the security queues is by giving more space for taking off coats/shoes/whatever and putting it back on again on the other side.

          Then by abolishing the daft rule of "if a man is being searched, th
      • These limitations were lifted on January 7th [bbc.co.uk]. I flew from London Heathrow to Hong Kong (LHR-HKG) that day and had no problems getting my laptop and hand luggage on board.
      • Liquids etc. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mutube (981006) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:13PM (#21973518) Homepage
        As another poster mentioned the restrictions on hand luggage have recently been lifted (at all bar a few airports) but there are still restrictions on carrying liquids onto a plane. Even water. This is particularly ridiculous when you discover that only applies to flights leaving UK airports, but can take what you want on coming home.

        It also applies to medicines:

        My mum has multiple sclerosis and the Rebif medication she takes is temperature/pressure sensitive meaning it must be taken on board the plane along with ice packs to keep it cool. The whole thing comes in a pack with quite long needles.When traveling before the liquid restriction she was only required to take a letter from a doctor to confirm that it was essential to carry the medicines on board, although from experience nobody bothered to read it. After the restriction on liquids was put in place she was refused the right to take it on board unless she "tasted" the substance in the ice packs to prove it was not dangerous. Which it is, but only for consumption.

        Tastability, to my knowledge, is not an established indicator of a substances ability to combust.

        Thankfully, being aware that the substance was toxic, she point blank refused. Eventually they relented and let her through making the whole unpleasant experience rather pointless. I'd have to question the sense - and legality - of coercing people to consume toxic substances as a means of "security".
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:05PM (#21972126)
      is to make the whole process inconvenient. Why would they do that? Well perception is the more important than reality and this is a great way to show:
      a) We take this seriously.
      b) The terrorists are nasty people and they're doing this to you, not us.
      c)Keep the whole War On Terror in your face. A scared citizen is a controllable citizen.

      If they had the space and could get away with it, they would make everyone strip and get the Rubber Glove.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:23PM (#21972446)

        We should all be very very thankful that no terrorists have been caught with explosives in their rectums.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amRadioHed (463061)
        That's interesting, my perception when taking my shoes off for TSA is that the government is run by clueless, reactionary amateurs.
      • by slashname3 (739398) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:43PM (#21972898)
        You missed the whole point. It is all security theater. Things that they can do that if you don't look to closely MIGHT make things more secure. But upon closer inspection don't really provide any additional level of security. It is a theater act to make people say "By golly they are doing something proactive about this terrorist thing."

        Face it, a terrorist is not likely to try to walk through a security check point with something that screams "this is a dangerous weapon, I must be a terrorist, arrest me." If they want to plug holes in security then they need to start with the support crew that have access to the aircraft on the tarmac and the luggage handlers.

        Of course they can't do anything about that, they can't even prevent the luggage handlers from stealing whatever they want from the bags they handle. But nobody says much about that anymore. And they seem to think that occasionally catching ground crew smuggling guns and drugs in airplanes is going to make that problem go away.

        The best option to improve security is to let people get training and a permit that allows them to carry a weapon anywhere. If you have a significant portion of the population armed at all times then the chance of terrorist getting much further than "I have a bom..." before someone drops them would reduce the chances of such act to virtually zero.

        It would probably make most people a lot more polite as well.
        • by hibiki_r (649814) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:56PM (#21973180)

          The best option to improve security is to let people get training and a permit that allows them to carry a weapon anywhere. If you have a significant portion of the population armed at all times then the chance of terrorist getting much further than "I have a bom..." before someone drops them would reduce the chances of such act to virtually zero.

          Then all the terrorist will try to do is to try to take down the plane, taking everyone else with him. It won't hit buildings, but if it'd be legal to get a loaded gun on the plane, so there's not much planning involved.

          The key to terrorism is that there's no way to stop any determined person from doing a very significant amount of damage. Stop one method, and another one will replace it. It's unavoidable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by sharperguy (1065162)
          You'd have to kill someone pretty fast to stop them pronouncing a silent letter.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by JavaRob (28971)

          If you have a significant portion of the population armed at all times then the chance of terrorist getting much further than "I have a bom..." before someone drops them would reduce the chances of such act to virtually zero.
          Thank Jeebus Cripes I don't live in such a world. Why, just yesterday I was affronted by the temerity of a fellow plane passenger, and I stood up immediately, shrilling "I have a bombastic style of poetry! And I am prepared quote at will!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by attonitus (533238)
        In 2002, I flew out of La Guardia wearing sandals and no socks. I get pulled aside by a security bloke for some kind of random screening (which happened every time I flew one-way anywhere - very random). I was asked to sit down whilst he wanded my feet. The wand beeped, so he asked me to take off my sandals. He proceeded to ignore my sandals and wand my bare feet.
        Incidentally, the lesson for terrorists everywhere is to do what Jesus would do: Wear sandals and make sure that everyone thinks that you'v
    • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:05PM (#21972146)
      Bah. My plan was going to involve divesting of all clothing altogether. Show up at the airport naked, and you won't have to waste time taking off your shoes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cousin Scuzzy (754180)
        Not wearing pants will get you put on the no fly list. I'm not sure how the TSA handles sweatpants, or other garments which have no fly though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smooth wombat (796938)
        Show up at the airport naked


        You joke, but my parents know someone who heads a polka band (no jokes please), who, when he goes to Europe, takes nothing with him but the clothes on his back and his ticket. He buys everything he needs in Europe and leaves it all behind when he comes back.

  • by tgd (2822) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:40PM (#21971738)
    Stop taking token (and largely meaningless) security actions as a way to both justify jobs at the TSA and to keep the American people in fear.

    There ya go, no need to take shoes off or all that other ridiculousness.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ScottyKUtah (716120)
      How about for starters we quit inspecting the 80 year old grandmas, 5 year old kids, pilots in uniform with ID, and go back to the common sense inspections? Middle Eastern males between the ages of 18-40?

      I noticed a trend in the kind of person that attacked on 9/11.

      Oh wait, that's racial profiling, and we can't do that. We have to waste EVERYBODY's time to make sure some people's feelings aren't hurt.

      Or even easier would be to just arm everybody.
  • How about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Not treating paying customers like criminals and removing the reasons the American government gives other peoples to hate us? Nobody's going to attack you if they like you, right?
    • Well, yes and no.

      I'm not a fan of show-business as security, and I do believe that the USA could clean up its act... a lot. So far from me to speak against that idea.

      That said, believing that just because you're nice, everyone will treat you nicely... is a bit naive.

      - Some people will hate you just because they're crazy and suffering from various delusions, and in their deranged mind you're the Antichrist. Sad to say, paranoid schiophrenia is very real.

      - Some people are simply sociopaths and simply don't gi
  • Heck, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:40PM (#21971744)
    I'll kick in a few bucks to the pot myself if it results in some actual time-saving.

    Maybe if we get it up to $500,007 dollars, they'll get it here sooner.
  • Easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:42PM (#21971764) Homepage
    Drop the current checks. No more stupid liquid rules, no shoe removals, no taking the laptop out of the bag. Go back to metal detector and X-ray machines if you like, but acknowledge that you cannot protect against EVERY POSSIBLE THREAT and focus on the most likely.

    Over 50,000 die each year in the US on the highways. If the same "zero tolerance" rule was applied to cars, then all cars would be required by law to remain at speeds below 15mph, would be covered in big foam bumpers, and would require five point safety harnesses and helmets. To maintain the effectiveness of automobiles, we don't do this. As part of acknowledging that risk exists and that we're responsible for our lives, we make tradeoffs.

    Absolute security is impossible. It also makes people complacent.

    Nobody will ever succesfully hijack a plane the way those were in 2001, because we've all seen a possible outcome. The TSA is the embodiment of the old saying that generals always "plan for previous war".

    Where do I collect my check? Or is the painfully obvious exempt?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rdeml (867986)
      Require all adults to carry a knife. If the TSA is worried about hijacks, this will deter all but the insane. And the insane will die in their attempt.
      • by prelelat (201821)
        Thats an interesting idea, except if they get an explosive on board set to a trigger or timer. But this would defiantly stop what happened on September 11th(barring everyone on the plane would prefer to take their chances with a loony who could want to crash it, I'm not the bravest soul but I know if it came to dying one way or another I would want to fight). Also that the cockpit is able to be sealed tight and locked. On flight security being tighter is what really needs to be resolved. Preflight I thi
    • Re:Easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rodness (168429) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:00PM (#21973296)
      Absolutely correct.

      And as Bruce Schneier [schneier.com] likes to point out, if we can't keep weapons (improvised or otherwise) out of prisons, how can we have any possible expectation of keeping them out of airports and off of airplanes?

    • Re:Easy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pig_man1899 (1143237) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:10PM (#21973480)
      The liquid check is a huge time waste. If the TSA really thinks my 6oz bottle of shampoo is so dangerous why do they chuck it into a 50 gallon garbage can full of other bottles of "dangerous" liquid. Very competent handling of potential explosive/poisonous/dangerous material. I'm sure all of these confiscated bottles are analyzed by experts at a later date, right?

      Compare this to when someone reports a bag of garbage sitting on an overpass and the police close the road for hours so they can blow it up. Hasn't anyone told the police that there are garbage cans full of potential explosives sitting right at the security terminal?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fahrbot-bot (874524)
      ...acknowledge that you cannot protect against EVERY POSSIBLE THREAT and focus on the most likely.

      Of course, the *real* purpose of the security checks is NOT to protect the passengers. It's to protect the airplane, airline, and things onto which the airplane might crash. Still, you have a valid point.

      Perhaps passengers should simply be warned that any plane that gets hijacked, gets shot down without negotiation and we, as a society live with that. Problem solved.

  • Ooh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:43PM (#21971776) Homepage Journal
    Time to dust off my plans for the automated-anal-probulator(tm)! Coming soon to an airport near you...
  • Easy.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:43PM (#21971778)
    Easy. Nationwide concealed carry licenses with no restrictions on where to carry. Background check thru NCIC, then fingerprint check as well. People who have carry permits already (38 states have some provision IIRC) are involved in less crimes by percent than sworn police officers...

    In fact, I think I'll use my Florida permit next time I fly as my "state issued picture ID". :)
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      I think there are a lot of people in the world that would not agree with you, but I think your idea has merit. I'd like to see 4 guys who hardly speak good English trying to tell 83 angry people with guns to sit down while they hijack anything, never mind a plane they can't jump out of.

      Sure, the decompression thing is kind of mythically scary, but a .38 round doesn't have too much velocity after penetrating, and mushrooming inside of a human skull.

      Still, I can't see many people going for that kind of thing,
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by i.r.id10t (595143)
        Actually, not so much thinkging of carrying on-board. I can accept that it wouldn't be good to have N number of armed folks, etc. with different levels of training. However, the background check and fingerprints that you go thru for a permit (currently, at least in Fl) would probably help a lot - after all, its sorta like the government pre-approving you.

        Also, having 2 armed, armored, and properly trained air marshals (or similar) at the front of the plane facing backwards in jump seat with 5 point harnes
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by timothy (36799)
      "In fact, I think I'll use my Florida permit next time I fly as my "state issued picture ID". :)"

      Though there are some who argue that concealed carry permit holders should be ultra-secretive about the fact that they have this permit, I think it's an excellent thing to use anytime someone demands a "state-issued ID" or "government ID." a) it's confusing to people who don't realize they exist, which (sadly) is a pretty big group b) it's informative to those same people, might get some of them thinking about i
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:43PM (#21971786)
    I have this new invention called freedom and peace of mind. It allows people to travel without being paranoid or fascist. It's amazing. It's costs nothing to implement and only requires everyone to pull that giant corncob out of their asses.
    • I have this new invention called freedom and peace of mind.
      Security measures are a funny thing. Once you lift them the hole is wide open for widespread abuse. You can bet your ass if they stopped checking liquids now that you'd get poisons and explosives on the plane in liquid containers.

      • by Foofoobar (318279)
        The funny thing it's a psychological problem. If you act like a victim, people treat you like one. Stop actng like a victim and people stop treating you like one.

        Unfortunately, because we have already portrayed ourselves AS a victim, even if we did this, we would still have issues. You can't stop every scenario.

        My brother used to say that you can put bars on your windows and security cameras on your house and an electric fence and everything but if a thief truly wants in, they will ALWAYS find a way and

  • Naked (Score:3, Funny)

    by mrtroy (640746) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:43PM (#21971790)
    Naked airlines. No carry-on.

    Where can I claim my prize?
    • Naked airlines. No carry-on.

      Won't your face be red the first time someone sneaks [insert weapon] on a plane up their bum.

    • by chiph (523845)
      Dude, have you paid attention to the people you have to sit next to?
      There's *no way* I want to see those folks naked.

      Chip H.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:44PM (#21971794)
    Apparently, Aperture Science (my favorite science company) has technology which can facilitate the speedy transferal of people and objects from point a to point b. You can read more about it during their next "Bring your daughter to work" day!

    http://aperturescience.com/ [aperturescience.com]
  • by fmobus (831767) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:44PM (#21971814)

    I mean, they are paying for someone's idea or someone's implementation (equipment design and the like)? If the former, $500K sounds good; if the latter, $500K is pocket change: research ain't cheap.

    Anyway, I have one idea: how about reverting back to the pre 9/11 era modus operandi? I mean, c'mon, it is not like a "hijack-and-ram-into-building" stunt is going to work again anyway... The only real worries should be bombs and guns on board, which we managed in an acceptable way back in the 90's.

    Another idea is to stop messing with the political affairs in other countries. But that doesn't sound appealing to their prospective neocon customers, does it?

    fp?

  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:45PM (#21971818)
    Institute a nude only polcy at the airport, and no carry on luggage allowed. Your ticket is duct taped to your chest, if you set the metal detector off they tazer you and throw you into a wood chipper.
    • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:53PM (#21971962)
      > if you set the metal detector off they tazer you and throw you into a wood chipper.

      My colleague who has a bolt holding his knee together would be strongly opposed to this plan, methinks. ;)

      Then again, I suppose he _could_ be a Terminator.
    • by no_pets (881013)
      That's pretty darn thorough. But still not 100%. Terrorists just get on the plane, kung-fu everybody, take over. 9/11 over again. Or they just smell really bad - no shower in weeks - people pass out, then they take over. Now we are back where we started.
  • But the inner garments are fair game? Interesting. Very interesting.
  • by microcars (708223) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:45PM (#21971828) Homepage
    (see attached diagram)

    The travelers arrive in the entrance hall here, and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort and past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives.
    The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed.
    The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these...
  • by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:45PM (#21971830) Homepage Journal
    How about we end the Security Theater [wikipedia.org]?

    If containers of fluids are dangerous, why are they just thrown away next to the security lines? When the hell is a knife going to help you against a group of 50 angry people in a small enclosed space?

    If you search the people getting on the plane, what about the luggage? If luggage handlers can steal stuff from luggage and sneak it out of the airport, what is to prevent that same person from sneaking a bomb into the plane, in place of the stuff they stole? If we are going to search the pilot, why not search the mechanic, and make sure he didn't sabotage the plane?

    If you have a security check, then the line to get thorough the check becomes a target. It doesn't matter where you move that check, since it takes time to go through, you have a bunch of people there, and thus a suicide bomber would just blow themselves up there.

    Why do Americans not care about their 4th amendment [wikipedia.org] rights to not be searched, and why is simply wanting transportation sufficient cause or not unreasonable?
    • by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:56PM (#21972004)
      If you have a security check, then the line to get thorough the check becomes a target. It doesn't matter where you move that check, since it takes time to go through, you have a bunch of people there, and thus a suicide bomber would just blow themselves up there.

      That very thought struck me the first time I flew after 9/11. There were upwards of five hundred people piled up behind the security gates, and there were lines with even more people snaking across the area in front of the ticket counters. How much security do you have to pass through to get up to the security check? None, of course. All they did was make planes less desirable as targets and provided an even higher-value target entirely outside of all the new protections.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by poetmatt (793785)
      I just wanted to clarify a small part of this issue that you don't realize. Some places have notices that say you consent to search by coming through their line. However, the difference with the 4th amendment rights is people are stupid enough to GIVE them up, which is what is happening. Someone can say "I want to search you" but you can reply "I am not giving up my 4th amendment rights/where is your warrant" and if they do any form of searching/even touch you for any reason other than arrest, they just vio
  • Next to nothing, it's the best solution. But someone else has already suggested nothing, so I claim second prize.
  • Two Step Plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thomas.galvin (551471) <slashdot&thomas-galvin,com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:49PM (#21971896) Homepage
    1. Replace TSA administration wit people who will approve step 2
    2. Eliminate the facade that is security the check.
  • by Golgafrinchan (777313) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:50PM (#21971902)
    I traveled extensively around Christmas/New Year a couple of weeks ago, and it was the first time in years that I -DIDN'T- have to remove my shoes as I went through the security x-ray. This was true at both US airports I went through - Las Vegas & LAX. In fact, at both airports I took off my shoes, and both times the security person who saw me told me to put them back on, as it wasn't necessary.

    Are people in other regions of the US seeing this recent development? For what it's worth, I was traveling with United.

  • Hmm, too bad.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Idaho (12907) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:52PM (#21971940)
    It's probably insufficient money to buy you a congressman or two to introduce the necessary changes to the laws concerned.

    Because changing the laws or TSA guidelines to drop these required checks would probably be the best way - or at least the way that makes the most sense. The checks at airports don't provide much real security - mostly, they are there to provide a (false) sense of security. According to several [schneier.com] reports [schneier.com], the checks don't actually catch most real threats at all (and even very low-tech threats like knives slip through a lot of the time), and are just costing everyone involved a lot of time/money. Also see snake oil security [schneier.com].

    Not that the EU is much better in this regard btw - the ridiculous bans on liquids on planes are still in place, even though the European Parliament wants to lift those (at some point).
  • I flew out of Newark on January 2 (which I'd assume is a pretty busy day), and I think I was in line for... maybe two minutes. Over maybe half a dozen flights in the past year, I think 10 minutes is probably my longest wait (excluding customs lines on international flights).

    Yeah, taking your shoes off sucks, and they can stop being paranoid about deodorant any time now as far as I'm concerned, but the actual waiting period seems very tolerable. A shoe-scanner and some Prozak for the TFA guys would take care
  • by OutOnARock (935713) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:53PM (#21971952)

    1. Walk through detector for both metal/explosives. Appendages like those found on drive through car washes "lick" the shoes.
    2. Carry on scanned same way, with automated "tongues" sampling the residue on the bags.
    3. KEY: Everyone, and I mean everyone, on board gets their own Taser. Its clipped into the seat in front of you, right next to the phone! Locked of course until released by the captain (or head flight attendant (the one with the dirty knees?? (had too))). These would be the newly developed "Taser in a shotgun shell" where the entire electronics package is delivered to the target, rather than the wires running from the gun to the target.
    4. Profit!!!!

    So you breeze through the detectors, which should catch 99% of the nasties coming through, and for the 1% they miss, you've got enough non-deadly force, non-going through the skin of the airplane causing explosive decompression, armed passengers to quell any threat.

    Worst case scenario would be a Taser battle in coach!

    I guess this is more of "an innovative use of existing technology" rather than "an innovative technology" other than the new "Taser in a shotgun shell", but it meets the criteria.

    Where's my half mil?

  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:54PM (#21971972) Homepage Journal
    Transfer responsibility from the feds to the individual airlines. That's it.

    Let the airlines make whatever policies they wish, implement them as they wish. Anything from 'Come on aboard, no questions asked!' to strip searching and anal cavity inspections. The customers will reward the airline whose policy makes the most sense with lots of money.

    The other side of the coin is that the airlines' insurers would work to make sure that the policies were effective. If your plane gets hijack, and flown into a building, your premiums go WAY up.
  • easy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Srsen (413456) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:58PM (#21972022)
    1. Tell TSA whiteshirts to "work faster"
    2. Add more lanes
    3. Actually use all the lanes you already have
    Boom. Where's my $500,000 ?
  • Do the checks at each gate before people board planes, rather than corralling everyone up at a few detectors. Costs more? yes. Goes faster? yes, because everyone already has to wait at the gate once you get past the "screening". Applies to current TSA rules? yes... people still wouldn't be able to get on the actual planes.

    Please send me my $500k check, thanks!
  • is soon a problem that's no more if the fuel prices starts going up as they have.

    And anyway - the majority of people boarding an airplane aren't going to blow it up.

    The metal detectors in use are a relatively good way of detecting weapons. Use of other detectors to sniff out nitrate compounds is the best option. Of course - there are explosives that aren't based on nitrogen compounds - but they are rarer. Removal of any lighters and matches will also be a good step - but it's harder to detect.

    And hand

  • by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:03PM (#21972106) Homepage

    the winning technology must meet a number of criteria including TSA approval and it must reduce inconvenience

    Isnt that the problem? That those two conditions are mutually exclusive? If you have one, you automatically do not have the other.

  • If we attach the front of the line to the back of the line - which won't need too many more of those tape barriers, the line can go round and round as fast as people can walk.

    As people tired, you would pull them out of line and send them onto planes so that they would not be slowing down the line. We already have separate lines for people with disabilities so that's not a problem.

  • by GroeFaZ (850443)
    I'll graciously assume you want the same or better level of security. Another advantage of this proposal: Increased utilization of the airplane. Here you go. [mwctoys.com]
  • Everyone get on the baggage belt and run through a bunch of X-Rays, Dogs, and a charged particle space that should trigger any bombs on your person.

    Or have everyone travel naked. Ramsey and Trojan would benefit the most with the dire need of seat condoms using this method.
  • by choongiri (840652) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:08PM (#21972194) Homepage Journal
    Don't make me chug my coffee in the line waiting to go through the metal detector, thereby holding everyone else up.

    Repeat after me:

    My beverage is not a national security threat.
  • Mod up a fleet a Roombas to carry minature bomb-sniffers or even spectral-analysis units (beam that data to a central CPU for the intense processing needed). Let Roombas approach shoes, sniff them and move on. Central CPU directs them back for another whiff if need be.

    Load those Roombas with floor wax and you have the cleanest, safest airport in the county.

    You may donate my winnings to the NASA program dedicated to robotic missions on Mars.
  • Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrankSchwab (675585) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:12PM (#21972272) Journal
    1. Take all the money spent buying security theatre (TSA salaries, machinery, Airport reconstruction) and place it into a fund. There's $5,000,000,000 to start with each and every year. 2. Use minimally invasive metal and bomb detectors to deter the obvious threats. 2. Should an aircraft go down as the result of Terrorist actions, pay everyone on board $1,000,000 from the fund. From just the TSA's budget, we could handle 5,000 deaths a year from terrorist actions on airplanes. How much are we willing to pay for each life saved? Ask an inner-city hospital. /frank
    • by ragefan (267937) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:14PM (#21973536)

      Should an aircraft go down as the result of Terrorist actions, pay everyone on board $1,000,000 from the fund.
      How do you plan to pay $1,000,000 to the people on board a plane that crashes? I will gladly accept any non-collected payouts, just to keep the accounting straight, of course.

      Thanks.
  • by KiltedKnight (171132) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:13PM (#21972276) Homepage Journal
    The airline industry is one of the few that can tell you how many people will be passing through its doors during a given time frame. Why is it such rocket science to have the airlines coordinate with the local office of the TSA in order to get a sufficient number of screeners in place for those times when there will be more people flying? And it's not like they'll come in that morning and suddenly discover, "Oh crap! We've got 3500 more people going through today at 2pm than we originally thought!" The airlines all want you to book seven or more days in advance, which is what happens most of the time anyway.

    Use the knowledge you already have. It's not that tricky.

  • Lock the cabin door (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @02:23PM (#21972466)
    Mythbusters recently tested the myth that a person with no prior flight experience could be talked into landing a plane by themselves. It was tense (even though they were using a highly realistic simulator), but they finally proved that the myth was plausible (even though the situation has never come up in real life). One interesting point with this, though, was that their expert told them that all modern planes have such sophisticated computers that they can land themselves without any human help.

    Assuming this is true (or so nearly true that a little R&D could make it true very soon), the best solution would be to strongly lock the pilot's cabin prior to boarding. Then, if a hijacker tried to take over the plane, the pilot could just press a "We've been hijacked" button and the plane would 1) send out an automated signal informing control towers of this fact, 2) divert course for the nearest airport, and 3) land the plane with no further assistance from the pilot.

    This way, even if the hijackers managed to force their way into the cabin, they would be powerless to disable the "We've been hijacked" controls and the plane would land anyway.

    This doesn't take into account a plane bomber, but it eliminates the possibility of another 9-11.
  • Private Companies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mulhollandj (807571) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:21PM (#21973704)
    Let the private companies do what they feel is necessary to secure the safety of their passengers without the great inconvenience. They have investments to protect like their plans and customers but they realize that if they annoy their passengers too much they will choose another airline.
  • by Aeonite (263338) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @04:44PM (#21975148) Homepage
    I don't travel that much but every time I've done so in the past five years, it has taken a maximum of 15 minutes to get through security. On the contrary, the boarding and deboarding process always takes at least 20 minutes because people are shuffling in the aisles, taking their coats off/putting them on, stowing gigantic carry-ons, standing up after the plane lands and blocking the aisle before the doors are open...

    I think the $500,000 should go to someone who speeds up the amount of time it takes to get on and off a plane. That's where the most time is wasted.
  • by ghettoimp (876408) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @09:22PM (#21978784)
    Modern trains are apparently quite fast, and they can't be flown into buildings.
  • Gimme my $500k! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeuroManson (214835) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @03:38AM (#21981214) Homepage
    Simply put? Put security checks back where they were before 9/11. Everyone, not just Americans, but people everywhere, have learned from history in the most basic sense; that when someone whips out a knife or a gun, jump them and beat the shit out of them. Pilots, in the meanwhile, have sturdier doors, and at least in the US, Air Marshalls are flying on random flights (which isn't really much more than they did before). So in essense, we don't NEED those checks anymore.

    Hell, someone could walk into the lobby area with a bomb vest and kill far more than could board a plane by simply being there, without aircraft ever being involved.

    Or crap, just get everyone in the US hooked on PCP, that does away with natural senses of fear altogether, and when there's no fear, there's no terror, let alone terrorism.

Did you know that for the price of a 280-Z you can buy two Z-80's? -- P.J. Plauger

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