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Transportation Security

TSA To Allow Laptops In Approved Bags 571

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the security-theater dept.
mnovotny writes "TIME is reporting that TSA will be allowing laptops in approved bags through security checkpoints. 'The new rules, announced Tuesday and set to take effect Aug. 16, are intended to help streamline the X-ray inspection lines. To qualify as "checkpoint friendly," a bag must have a designated laptop-only section that unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray machine belt and contains no metal snaps, zippers or buckles and no pockets.'" Don't you feel safer? I wish an independent 3rd-party group could get together and see what they could get through security without being arrested for the experiment. So little of what the TSA is doing is any more than illusion.
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TSA To Allow Laptops In Approved Bags

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:23AM (#24497217) Homepage

    It's all black leather covered in studs, spikes and chains.

    gotta love a Vampire goth laptop bag to get you wierd looks when wearing a 3 piece suit.

    • Targus lobbyist (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xzvf (924443) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:38AM (#24497545)
      Look for the Targus lobbyist that pretty much eliminated every existing laptop bag requiring new bags to be purchased for everyone that wants to take advantage of this rule. Right after Xmas he may be looking for a new revenue stream and TSA approved goth might be hot.
      • Re:Targus lobbyist (Score:4, Insightful)

        by electrictroy (912290) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:38PM (#24498757)

        THESE SEARCHES are why I drive everywhere. I haven't flown a plane since the year 1999. When you drive, you have everything you need in your trunk.... and really, driving is not that much longer than flying. Last time I went from Oklahoma to Minneapolis:

        - my coworkers left their homes at 5 a.m. and did not get into their hotel until 3 p.m.
        - I drove from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.

        So yeah it took me an hour longer, but I didn't have to deal with nosy security, rude passengers, squeezing all my stuff into a tiny suitcase, et cetera, et cetera. I had a nice scenic drive across the prairie, through beautiful Kansas City, and with pleasing music/sports/comedy routines coming out of my XM radio. (And I got paid for it! 50 cents a mile plus my regular salary.)

        I'd rather drive.

        • Re:Targus lobbyist (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JerkBoB (7130) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:50PM (#24498993)

          Good luck driving to Germany (from the US). Or New England to California (or Colorado). Maybe you can go across the ocean by tramp steamer... Very romantic.

          • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @01:02PM (#24499243) Journal

            Maybe you can go across the ocean by tramp steamer... Very romantic.

            Yeah but if you do that as opposed to flying you have a pretty decent chance of stealing Kate Winslet from some rich asshole that doesn't appreciate her ;) Now that global warming has arrived you don't even have to worry about icebergs ruining your trip ;)

        • Re:Targus lobbyist (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RickRussellTX (755670) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @01:05PM (#24499275)

          And as we well know, the terrorists [wikipedia.org] would [wikipedia.org] never [wikipedia.org] think [cnn.com] of [usatoday.com] driving [iht.com].

          Threat averted! It's Miller Time, people!

  • by Ferzerp (83619) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:25AM (#24497263)

    It would make a point, but I fear that the reaction would be the opposite of what many of us would like. If we showed holes in the security theater that has been built, stricter measures would be put in place and all travellers would be inconvenienced even more.

    I'm actually really surprised that the summary suggests that.

    • by Kamots (321174) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:27AM (#24497307)

      I'm failing to see the downside?

      But then I see the general populace being greatly inconvenienced as a good thing... as it might wake them from their current stupor.

      • by crovira (10242) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:39AM (#24497581) Homepage

        The TSA's mainly bull shit and bluster by little tin-pot tyrants.

        If I was so inclined (and not crippled,) I'd high jack a FedEx or a UPS plane.

        Why mess with security if you don't have to.

        A fully fueled and loaded plane will go into a large federally owned building regardless of whether there are a hundred passengers plotting a coup on your ass, or a crew lying quietly dead in the back of the plane.

        Private aviation is a lot more vulnerable than the cash strapped public carriers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by poetmatt (793785)

          Ahh but you see, if they did anything to private aviation, it'd affect their own flights. So no more bush just walking up to the private jet with no security checks.

        • by lukas84 (912874) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:47AM (#24497735) Homepage

          A fully fueled and loaded plane will go into a large federally owned building regardless of whether there are a hundred passengers plotting a coup on your ass, or a crew lying quietly dead in the back of the plane.

          Which could easily be shot down.

          When you hijack a plane with enough people on board, shooting the plane down can still give a huge image hit on the ones that did the shooting, even if it was the right thing to do.

          On a plane with only terrorists onboard, it would be very easy to give order to have it shot down.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by HTH NE1 (675604)

            Are you sure you know what is in those packages on that FedEx or UPS plane? They could be highly valuable and/or highly dangerous, or they could have brought on board a valuable political hostage snatched earlier.

            To beat the Jack Bauers in the world you need contingencies on top of contingencies nigh ad infinitum.

          • by electrictroy (912290) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:22PM (#24498445)

            If I were president.....

            given the choice between saving several thousand people in a skyscraper,
            and saving a hundred-or-so in an airplane,
            I'd save the skyscraper filled with people... ...the airplane would be shot-down. It's one of those situations where people WILL die no matter what happens, and it's better that a hundred die than several thousand. If the american people are too pussy to deal with death, well then, they can fire me as president and elect a different guy who would do nothing & let the skyscraper be destroyed.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:40PM (#24498801)
              Actually the choice is "save several thousand people in a skyscraper" and "save nobody". The people in the airplane can't be saved.
            • by ghoti (60903) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:44PM (#24498877) Homepage

              But that's assuming you know what will happen, which you don't. All you know is that radio contact has been lost with a plane and it's veering off course. It could be some failure on board and the crew is trying to do find a suitable spot for an emergency landing.

              Are you going to give the order to kill several hundred people? Do you still think it's such an easy decision? You know what they say about hindsight?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Firehed (942385)

              Ok, your spouse/child/relative is on the plane. What now?

            • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:09PM (#24501103)

              > If I were president.....
              > given the choice between saving several thousand people in a skyscraper,
              > and saving a hundred-or-so in an airplane,

              Politicians don't think like us. For example, what if they see it as a choice between killing a planeload of people and not getting re-elected, or gaining unprecedented political power after the terrorists kill several thousand people in a skyscaper?

              c.

          • by rtilghman (736281) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:41PM (#24498825)

            Taking down a large jet aircraft... say a 747, or even a 737, 727, etc., is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.

            1) You wouldn't know it was rogue until it was already WELL on the way to it's target (if you knew at all before it got there).

            2) Even when you identified it, you would still need to actually CATCH it. Scrambling planes takes time, airfields aren't everywhere and, unlike BSG, I'm afraid we don't have an "Air Cap" to guard our sorry asses ($$$$$).

            3) Now you have to shoot it down. You may not realize this, but a passenger jet is FREAKING HUGE. One missile isn't going to take out a jet with 2, 3, or 4 engines. You're going to have to really go to work on that bad boy... and now it's just an out of control ball of metal and fire... braaaavoooo.

            Give whatever order you want, but until you can vaporize the stupid thing in mid-flight it's all a pipe dream. Me, I'm not big on confrontation and dying. If I wanted to send a message I'd just get an old stinger, head to an international third level airport (St. Louis, Cincinnati, etc), drive to the end of the runway, and blow the wing off a plane as it took off.

            The point here is that the entire concept of airline security is a joke on an American public too pathetic to face the truth by a government too ready to cede to their fears. Freedom isn't free, it's expensive, and the cost is blood and tears. If you don't like it then call Kim Jong and ask how much condo's in downtown PyongYang are going for. You can be sure you won't have to worry about terrorists in North Korea.

            -rt

            • by loraksus (171574) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @01:29PM (#24499677) Homepage

              3) Now you have to shoot it down. You may not realize this, but a passenger jet is FREAKING HUGE. One missile isn't going to take out a jet with 2, 3, or 4 engines. You're going to have to really go to work on that bad boy... and now it's just an out of control ball of metal and fire... braaaavoooo.

              Right, and it's a good thing that the engines that get hit by missiles w/ 10 kilograms of HE (sidewinder) or 23 kilos of HE (amraam) aren't anywhere near the giant fuel tanks in the wings. Explosive decompression shouldn't be a big deal - 10 PSI isn't a huge difference.
              And "drag" created by gunshot / explosive impacts shouldn't be a worry, as the plane is only traveling at ~900km/h.

          • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @01:13PM (#24499429) Journal

            Which could easily be shot down.

            Yeah, if you knew it had been hijacked. Didn't we discover the hijackings on 9/11 because the passengers alerted authorities on the ground?

            Reagan National Airport is under 7 kilometers (as the crow flies) from the White House and Capitol. That works out to just about two minutes of flying time at landing speed (approx 200km/h for a 747). Do you really think our esteemed Government could react that fast if the hijacking was successfully kept a secret up until the plane was actually scheduled to land? The same Government that couldn't even manage to locate (let alone shoot-down) Flight 93 before it crashed or defend the headquarters of our entire military from attack on that fateful day?

            You have much more faith in the Government than I do.

            • by TheSync (5291) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:36PM (#24501549) Journal

              Reagan National Airport is under 7 kilometers (as the crow flies) from the White House and Capitol. That works out to just about two minutes of flying time at landing speed (approx 200km/h for a 747). Do you really think our esteemed Government could react that fast if the hijacking was successfully kept a secret up until the plane was actually scheduled to land?

              There are now specific areas around DC which are manned by ground-to-air missile batteries during "high risk" periods, in position that I think they could shoot down a plane flying over the Potomac towards the Capitol, but it would end up crashing on innocent people in Foggy Bottom office buildings or the State Department. I'll leave it to the readers discretion to determine the relative worth of "innocent people", "State Department workers", and "Members of Congress".

        • by digitizit (836711) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:16PM (#24498305)
          I think the whole notion that terrorists will even try to hijack a plane again is absurd. Even if they get on board and were strapped with explosives, I think people on board would still act. They might blow up, or they might get to kick the shit out of a terrorist. Either way, I don't think we will have a repeat of 9/11. No, the next act of terror would be a car bomb or something similar. If the terrorists really want to strike fear into the heart of Americans, they would send a dozen of their people with machine guns into a shopping mall and cut loose. It's low tech and a lot easier to do than hijacking a plane.
        • by thewiz (24994) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:31PM (#24498611)

          I'd high jack a FedEx or a UPS plane.

          Only if you wanted to be there overnight.

    • Not only that. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:32AM (#24497413)

      But anyone who showed that it could be done would be arrested and spend serious jail time.

      This is all theatre. It's so the TSA can justify their budget. It's all a joke. If a terrorist wanted to make a point now, he'd drive a car bomb into an airport terminal during a major holiday rush.

      We could go back to the "pre-9/11" screenings IF we made sure that every plane had a flight deck door that was secured against anyone in the passenger section getting through it for long enough for the pilot to make an emergency landing.

      Instead we live in fear of 4 oz of toothpaste.

    • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:35AM (#24497485) Homepage Journal

      It would make a point, but I fear that the reaction would be the opposite of what many of us would like. If we showed holes in the security theater that has been built, stricter measures would be put in place and all travellers would be inconvenienced even more.

      I'm actually really surprised that the summary suggests that.

      The result would be that most travellers would realize how ineffective and useless the current TSA security is, then things might change for the better.
      Right now, you can't test them without commiting a crime, and if you do see that they have a weak spot, and speak about it, you have also probably commited a crime. If you photograph them, you have commited a crime.
      Basically, criticizing the TSA - except for in the vauges of terms - or investigating it has become a crime.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BitterOldGUy (1330491)

      ...all travellers would be inconvenienced even more.

      It's not just you, so please don't take this personally, but being searched, patted down like a common criminal for just trying to use mass transportation is an "inconvenience" and not an assault on our civil liberties?

      When we lose time, productivity, increase the stress in our busy lives, and just hassled, it's now an inconvenience. Well, I'm tired of it and I fly only once a year now, if that, and if more of us do that, then the airlines are going to be

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ferzerp (83619)

        I purposefully didn't mention civil liberties since we seem to have already given those up without a fight. :(

  • Security theatre (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:25AM (#24497265) Homepage Journal

    Yes, much of this is security theatre, but allowing me to carry my laptop on and attempting to stream-line the current cluster fuck is an improvement none the less.

    • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@dal. n e t> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:34AM (#24497465)

      Its more than that. Its about making money. For private corporations.

      Why else would the TSA allow you to get special ID for a few hundred dollars to bypass security.. designed and maintained by a private company? Specially designed TSA approved bags.. designed by private companies. Not to mention the billions of dollars filtered through to private corporations for those expensive x-ray and other fancy security devices.

      And they do shit all. I've flown twice in the last two years with a swiss army knife in my pocket without realizing it.

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:35AM (#24497481) Journal

      yes... and NO.

      Once you are trained to buy new 'stuff' to put your other 'stuff' inside for traveling, you will have been trained for the next measures. None of what the TSA does is about real security. It's all about getting citizens to do as they are told and with no more reason than that it is required for security according to some obtuse DHS ruling.

      At the rate that this is going, the next plane based terrorism will probably be a bomb planted by TSA in a traveler's luggage while being screened routinely. This will allow for further restrictions and meticulous searches.

      Yesterday we hear of a company whose business model is based on TSA bs security and they lost a laptop... then found it again in the same room? I bet the NSA borrowed it but forgot where to put it back? Now this little trick to sell you more American Tourister luggage. You know the model? The one with a DHS approved RFID tag built right into the handle of it. It starts with laptops, but will move on to any carry on luggage only being permitted in the 'new' DHS approved TSA sponsored RFID luggage/bag.

      Soon, you won't even have to go to the airport to be blamed for causing bomb scares. Oh, sorry, just an RFID mixup. Still, we need you to come down to the station with us.

      Land of the Free.... to be searched.

  • I should use to take a Clear laptop out of the airport?
  • Are these TSA-approved laptop bags going to protect my laptop as well as TSA-approved locks keep people out of my luggage?
  • by Inglix the Mad (576601) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:27AM (#24497317)
    Yes I said worthless.

    I have 22 screws, couple of plates, and pins. I should light up a metal detector like a christmas tree. Yet when I fly, I often get waved right through without any apparent reaction. This has happened at multiple busy airports in larger cities. Yet when I go through my local airport (where, oddly enough, they know me) I get the beep and separate pat down.

    People meekly accept this BS (along with the liquids ban, et al) as "security" when it's really BS.

    Poor, false security is worse than none at all. The only explanation is that when it is busy, they turn down the sensitivity to a ridiculously low level.
    • by bcmm (768152)
      Before 911 and massive official paranoia, Heathrow worked like this: while your baggage is in the scanner, you go through the detector, get a pat-down if it beeps, and keep going without one if it doesn't.

      That was before everyone went crazy. On one flight I was on, everyone went through the detector, and everyone got a pat down. Whether the machine beeped or not made no difference to anything. I still wonder why the machines were powered on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pzs (857406)

      When you say "accept this BS" what exactly do you expect us to do?

      Complain to the security people? Oh yeh, that will help. I saw some guy threatened with getting booted from his flight because he showed a tiny bit of attitude and used the word "terrorist". These security people love the power that's fallen in their laps.

      Complain to the airlines? They'll just say it's the fault of government. Complain to government? "It's for your safety". I wrote to my MP about complaining about the proposal to put safety b

      • by jackchance (947926) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:21PM (#24498411) Homepage
        I was at the Utah airport when the TSA guy made me throw out a tube of toothpaste that had maybe 2 or 3 brushes worth of toothpaste left because when the tube was full it was over 3 Oz. I became visibly irritated and he said "talk to my supervisor"

        i tried to but he just shook his head.

        i looked at him and asked "when is this insanity going to end", he just shrugged.

        I think a bit part of our problem is that life has become so convenient that very very few of us are willing to risk arrest by protesting.

        One the things that upsets me most about this 'war on terror' is that car accidents kill many many many more people every year. Are totally random and tragic. If we spend a tiny fraction of the resources that is spend on 'security' on education and technology to prevent people falling asleep at the wheel and drunk driving we would save many many more lives.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I think a bit part of our problem is that life has become so convenient that very very few of us are willing to risk arrest by protesting.

          Kind of the whole point, don't you think?

          Protesters make a government look bad or, as in the TSA's shining example, monumentally foolish. What better way to silence your critics than to threaten arrest for voicing that opinion? This is a prime example of the "chilling effect". In spite of the bumper stickers on the backs of our SUVs, there are very few "patriots" in

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Deagol (323173)
      People meekly accept this BS (along with the liquids ban, et al) as "security" when it's really BS.

      If you're so annoyed with the whole thing, why not stop flying?

      I haven't been on a plane since 9/11. I decided right then that I'd never fly again, and have in fact taken several cross-country drives and Greyhound trips to support that stance. The only reason my kids have been on a plane since 9/11 is because my dad has paid the bill because he wanted to see his grandkids so bad. The only reason my wife

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oyenstikker (536040)

      I have 22 screws, couple of plates, and pins.

      I've got 9 screws and a plate. I have never set off a detector. I asked my doctor about this, and he said that the alloy they have been using for the last decade or so does not set off detectors like the old surgical steel does.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        and he said that the alloy they have been using for the last decade or so does not set off detectors like the old surgical steel does

        Hmm.... wonder why nobody has thought to use that same alloy to make weapons with?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:27AM (#24497321)

    Next year, TSA plans to allow people wearing clear body bags through security faster. While you do give up some privacy, think of the minutes you'll save.

  • Qualifications (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:28AM (#24497329)

    To qualify as "checkpoint friendly," a bag must have a designated laptop-only section that unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray machine belt and contains no metal snaps, zippers or buckles and no pockets.

    So... the only thing keeping my laptop from falling out of my bag as I carry it (or someone bump-and-grabbing it) is going to be a strip of lint-encrusted velcro?

  • Oh yay (Score:2, Interesting)

    I haven't flown since 1999.

    This isn't enough to make me even consider flying ever again.

    How can I get myself put on the no-fly list? I want to make it official.

  • I'm looking at a trip in December, the first time I've flown in several years, and already my teeth are starting to grind. Our transportation system is a fucking joke. Between the TSA bullshit and our airlines acting as if their brains were replaced by tapioca pudding, I just know I'm in for a miserable flight.

  • by pokeyburro (472024) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:34AM (#24497463) Homepage

    It's getting closer and closer to the point where I'll say a two-day drive is preferable to eight hours of dealing with the airport.

  • I noticed yesterday that I left one of my knives in my backpack; I flew with that bag last week and definitely didn't get pulled aside when I went through security. :\

    So, the moral I guess is that TSA probably needs more than just laptops to be laid flat on the scanner, or that they should just take the Walter Sobchak approach and say "Fuck it, Dude, let's go bowling."
  • by duranaki (776224) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:37AM (#24497517)
    What exactly can you hide behind a zipper or snap? And why can't it have a pocket? I know it's all silly, but it seems like a ton of bags would be compliant if it weren't for those three things. Is this some secret plan to advance the economy by making travelers all buy new laptop bags?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jddj (1085169)

      They're concerned you might have a copy of the Constitution in there...

      Interested in where my Higher Ground Laptrap bag fits - seems like it'd be pretty close, but there is a zip-pocket on the outside of the laptop compartment, and you can tuck CDs in pouches in the laptop section.

      Nice bag, btw. No, I don't work for 'em. Also available in leather from Shaun Jackson design.

  • > So little of what the TSA is doing is any more than illusion.

    "Any more"?

  • by Palshife (60519) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:41AM (#24497613) Homepage

    And so one of the many restrictions of post-9/11 flight security goes the way of the dodo in the name of convenience. I predict that we'll see more and more of this in the coming years. Soon, we'll not be required to X-ray our shoes when people forget why we started in the first place.

    This is an illustration of how a knee-jerk reaction to tightening security instead of innovating causes us to be less secure than we were before. If we had rethought airplane security from the ground up as opposed to ramping current practices up, we might have actually learned something from 9/11 in terms of air security. As it stands, I don't think we learned very much at all.

  • In July, 2008 (Score:2, Informative)

    by nani popoki (594111)
    I went through airport security (twice -- once in BOS and once in OGG) with a 90mm Schmitt-Cassegrain telescope in my carry-on. Now this thing is essentially an aluminum cylinder 4 inches in diameter and 10 inches long. It was never even questioned. This was in addition to my usual assortment of DSLR gear and electronics. And an XO-1 laptop.

    I was expecting a strip-search. :)
  • TSA Anecdote (Score:5, Informative)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:48AM (#24497763)

    A friend of mine flew a commuter airline out of SeaTac a couple of years ago (after 9/11, well into the TSA era). He started out on a cross-state drive to a family reunion, but blew his transmission a few miles out of Seattle. After a rush to get towed back home, he booked a last minute flight, called a cab and made a dash to the airport. He caught the flight at the last minute and flew to Spokane. Upon arrival (with no other hassles) he discovered that he had overlooked the fact that he was carrying two handguns (one in his jacket and one in what ended p as carry-on luggage) plus ammo. He has a permit to carry concealed weapons and is so used to doing so that he simply didn't notice.

    Neither did the TSA. There's one data point for your experiment.

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:49AM (#24497785)

    Anybody who (like me) is feeling cynical about the whole idea of buying a new $100 laptop bag with the special TSA-approved laptop zone, the solution is pretty straightforward - just continue to put your laptop in the plastic bin.

    The laptop, keys, and pocket change thing take up maybe 10 seconds of my time - 5 seconds to take out and 5 seconds to put back where they belong (but that's because I have my shit together unlike the guy in front of me who inevitably manages to spend the better part of 5 minutes putting his stuff on the conveyor belt). Laptop is no big deal, really ... it's the shoes thing that pisses me off and makes me feel like every last vestige of my dignity has been removed ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arkhan_jg (618674)

      The reason you have to take the laptop out in the first place is because it's so big and dense it blocks the x-ray machine from scanning the rest of the bag behind it effectively.

      A flip out laptop bag that allows it to be scanned, and the other half to be scanned, while not having any pockets in that section that could conceal other items easily does make sense. Whether it's worth $100 for the few seconds effort is another question.

      You can thank Richard Reid filling his shoes with explosives and trying to s

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:51AM (#24497815)

    The TSA is George W. Bush's patrionage mill. It does NOTHING to improve air safety. It does PLENTY to slow down air travellers. Yesterday I was at the airport in Burbank, CA. It took me TEN MINUTES to get through the ID line-and there were EIGHT of us in line! The stupid TSA person seemed to be going in slow motion. First she read the name on the ticket (taking 30 seconds to do so)-then she spent another 30 seconds looking at my driver's license...THEN she spent another 30 seconds looking over everything and stamping my boarding pass. Move another TEN FEET to the metal detector and ANOTHER TSA guy who asks for the IDs all over again Why? because you're afraid I might have changed identies in the TEN FOOT OPEN WALK from her to you?

    There was a woman who had an obviously sealed bottle of commerical drinking water. They made her throw it away! WHY? All it did was make her small child cry-and her have to spend another 3 bucks when she got to the other side of the checkpoint.

    Has it occurred to anyone that under today's new hijacking policies, 9/11 would not have happened? Today's rules do not allow either pilot to leave the cockpit if the plane if hijacked-instead they are to IMMEDIATELY land the aircraft! Not to mention that the cockpit doors are now heavily reinforced and today's passengers would make MINCEMEAT of anyone dumb enough to TRY hijackng an aircraft!

    The TSA is an expensive joke! It needs to be abolished immediately!

  • Frankly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gfxguy (98788) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:52AM (#24497829)

    IMO, the existence of the TSA is one of those "the terrorists have already won" things. Most of the changes that have taken place in the U.S. are not that bad singularly, but when taken as a whole and the magnitude of the number of people affected, it's had a serious negative impact on our society and I'd argue our productiveness as well.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't be careful, but it's quite obvious to anyone here that none of these measures, the ones that merely inconvenience us at best, are disguised forms of monitoring for things besides potential acts of terrorism. How easy it is to violate the fourth amendment by just indefinitely taking away someone's laptop without cause.

    The last time I traveled out of country with my wife and kids, we got the "random star" on our boarding passes... which singled us out for special scrutiny. Right. Because a family of four, including a two year old and a five year old are prime suspects. I don't think they do this anymore, but the absurdity of all the restrictions is just incredible.

    And how about the recent "clear pass" article? What kind of extortion is that? We'll make you wait on line for hours unless you pay us $100/year! That's effectively how I see it, since the security measures are a joke.

    Ok, rant off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shados (741919)

      I agree with you except for the "random star" thing. The best deterrant, and most efficient one, isn't to check everyone, or to check no one, its to check random people, just enough to get a "I may get caught" out of the bad guys. Its far, far from perfect, but its about as good as its going to get.

      If you single out a certain demographic as "prime targets" for the random checks (which they do, but it make things worse, not better), you're nullifying one of the main benefits of that method. If having a famil

    • Re:Frankly... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheCarp (96830) * <`ten.tenaprac' `ta' `cjs'> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:43PM (#24498867) Homepage

      Agreed. I have even posted on the TSA blog occasionally in the comments about this: We absolutely need to consider that in the economics of airplane safety, it is not the decrease in supply of soft targets that has been thwarting terrorism, its actually the utter lack of demand for blowing up planes, airport terminals, etc.

      There just are not that many people out there with the real desire (you know, as in enough motivation to build bombs and do test runs, not just say "hey what if we....") and real ability to pull it off. In fact, when you look at the number of deaths "pre-post 9/11" (so including all of the deaths on 9/11), the chances of death in a terrorist attack on an airplane, even when reduced to just the risk to fairly frequent air travellers, is so small, that you couldn't justify a single cent of the new "security" spending on it.

      Which is why they never talk of the real risk, only the "worst case scenarios" which are so astronomically unlikely, that I would bet dollars to donuts that the money would be better spent, and help more people, if it were spent on preventing deaths from heart attack on flights.

      The type of attack used on 9/11 is not the move of a power, its the move of the weak. Its a move of desperation by a small group looking to make big headlines the only way they can. It was in their power to plan 1 of these attacks and execute it.

      The simple fact is, on 9/11 an ant happened to find himself in the right place and gave us a bite on the face. Maybe its just me, but I think forgetting about your day job to go around trying to eradicate the world of ants is an overreaction.

      In the words of coaches all over the world, your not the first person to take a hit, go take a lap and stop whining about it.

  • by Timo_UK (762705) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:56AM (#24497915) Homepage
    Why exactly are we not allowed to carry screwdrivers etc on board and then (I did this last week at DTW, Detroit) you receive a sharp metal knife and fork in the restaurant after security?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by michaelhood (667393)

      Why exactly are we not allowed to carry screwdrivers etc on board and then (I did this last week at DTW, Detroit) you receive a sharp metal knife and fork in the restaurant after security?

      Obviously with a scary screwdriver, one could disassemble the conveyance mid-flight.

    • Reminds me of when I flew from ORD to LAX about 60 days after 9/11.

      After getting through security and checking out all the army guys with huge guns, I get to the ORD snack/food area for my terminal. I assume that before 9/11 they were handing out plastic utensils, because that's what they were handing out post-9/11...except for the plastic knives.

      Yep, they had decided that plastic knives were a threat, but plastic forks or spoons were OK. All of which can be made into a stabby plastic weapon in a few seco

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:04PM (#24498051)

    Airport security will get a lot more uncomfortable when they catch somebody trying to light a bomb hidden up their ass.

  • by TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:18PM (#24498357) Journal
    Flew into Chicago this weekend, and the return trip was FANTASTIC. I held up 1 of the 2 operating X-Ray lines because the security dolt had me remove EVERYTHING suspicious from my carry on to run it through the scanner separately.

    6 buckets later (2 laptops, the laptop bag, my carryon, my shoes, and the Xbox 360) they scanned EVERY ONE of my common household items to determine that I was not a terr-o-ist, only to discover that 1. Their xray could not actually scan the laptops or 360 accurately and that 2. Due to the design of the chutes, the line was help up even more as I repacked the carryon.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:29PM (#24498563) Journal

    Simply put.

    Most people are incapable of thinking outside their own little world. They are selfish and self centered.

  • by michaelhood (667393) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:30PM (#24498587)

    I have a Canon brand backpack that I carry a DSLR and 8 lenses in.. one of which is a 300mm fixed length lens, it's metal and about 10-12" long.

    I've flown with this bag as my carryon and taken it through security 40+ times. Once, on a month long trip, I accidentally left a large (4" blade) pocketknife IN THE BAG for 6 different legs of my trip. That's right. A lens that could conceal a small cannon (and looks like one on the x-ray), and a knife big enough to carve it, in my carryon.

    Theatre. God help us if someone with ill intent actually does decide to purposely board a plane with a weapon.

  • by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:46PM (#24498945) Homepage

    Just grab your shit and get on board. Period. No fuss. No muss. No toothpaste shampoo bullshit. No uniformed fuckers with attitudes. Polite train staff and a nice relaxing experience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      yeah, the train. That's viable.

      Plane from LA :Leave Monday morning, arrive in Chicago that day, meetings Tuesday weds, fly back Thursday. Write meeting report on Friday, home for the week end.

      train:Leave LA Monday, arrive Chicago Thursday, miss meeting, lose client, lose job, get home Monday. Miss the weekend and get to look for new job.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cro Magnon (467622)

        Plane from LA :Leave Monday morning, get delayed by TSA goon. Get laptop confiscated, luggage stolen, shoes & toothpaste missing. Show up late for meeting barefoot with yellow teeth and no PowerPoint notes. Lose client, lose job.

  • by eck011219 (851729) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @01:51PM (#24500031)

    contains no metal snaps, zippers or buckles and no pockets.

    Coming soon: the Targus Burlap Sack 2000.

  • by RembrandtX (240864) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:41PM (#24501639) Homepage Journal

    SO .. in a recent trip to a caribian island this past week I managed to carry the following through TSA and onto a plane :

    10 Cuban Cigars
    1 Torch Lighter
    1 'regular' lighter
    1 cigar cutter

    My bag was opened and searched. my cigar case (which contained everything) was opened, the lighters were examined (but not lit .. the torch was a zippo with a torch insert ..) and then re-closed.

    On the trip BACK from the same caribian island, I managed to bring four of the above cigars and the normal lighter into the plane and through customs. [The torch lighter was either lost or stolen on our trip]

    On previous trips, we have brought both cigars, and bottles of absinthe back with us, occasionally being searched.

    Personally, I'm grateful that the TSA is so fixated on electronic equipment now, as it lets me
    support my exotic cigar habit :P

  • Accidental knife... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MikeD83 (529104) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @05:19PM (#24503101)
    Just a couple months ago I was traveling cross country. I had returned home and couldn't find my Leatherman tool in my luggage. A week later I found my Leatherman- in my laptop bag, my carry-on... they didn't see it when it was in the whiz bang x-ray machine?
  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:30PM (#24503903) Homepage

    ...it's the other people. I've been flying rather regularly the last years and I got the routine down to a pat. My laptop goes on top of the bag, in the line I put all the junk in my pockets in my jacket and remove my belt so I got it in my hand. So when I'm at the checkpoint, I put the suitcase on, take out the laptop, put my jacket, belt and shoes (you don't have to take them off here but mine have metal that beep) and head on through. Then slip the laptop back on top of my bag, put on belt, shoes and jacket. The whole operation takes me just a few seconds and getting everything out of my jacket I can do at the next queue, usually waiting for the plane to board.

    Whatever goes on the conveyor belt I've never or extremely rarely been stopped for. The downtime is due to the people that inevitably seem to take 2-5 minutes each to get their act together and get everything on the belt, beep so they have to pass through again or be manually scanned. Or they still haven't figured out the limitation on liquids and that airport security just got told the rules, don't bother arguing with them. Some of you are IT admins - would you let people have access in direct violation of company security policy on the spot because they're sweet talkers? Didn't think so. Even when I have all my electronics like laptop, external disk, video camera, wii and accessories and whatnot on the belt it'll pass through. To be honest, I'd like my own line - not with less security controls but a frequent flyer line - it'd take so much less time.

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