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Transportation Government United States

TSA Wants You To Keep Your Seat, and Your Hands In Sight 888

An anonymous reader excerpts from an AP story as carried by Yahoo News about changes stemming from yesterday's foiled bombing attempt of a Northwest Airlines flight: "Some airlines were telling passengers on Saturday that new government security regulations prohibit them from leaving their seats beginning an hour before landing. The regulations are a response to a suspected terrorism incident on Christmas Day. Air Canada said in a statement that new rules imposed by the Transportation Security Administration limit on-board activities by passengers and crew in US airspace. ... Flight attendants on some domestic flights are informing passengers of similar rules. Passengers on a flight from New York to Tampa Saturday morning were also told they must remain in their seats and couldn't have items in their laps, including laptops and pillows." The TSA's list of prohibited items doesn't seem to have changed in the last day, though.
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TSA Wants You To Keep Your Seat, and Your Hands In Sight

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  • Oh, look! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:33AM (#30561362)

    Another reason for me not to fly. And another Al Qaeda success in disrupting the US economy and society beyond their wildest dreams.

    • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:42AM (#30561402) Journal

      Indeed. It's the streisand effect of terrorism... 9/11 could have been at most a minor annoyance but instead it became the rallying cry for numerous restrictions on freedom with questionable results at best.

      • Re:Oh, look! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:08AM (#30561546) Homepage Journal

        As much as I agree that the response to terrorism is often irrational, try to maintain some perspective. Thousands of people dying cannot reasonably be described as a "minor annoyance."

        • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:16AM (#30561606)
          Most people regard the annual road toll as a "minor annoyance".
        • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:24AM (#30561652)

          I agree, lets maintain some perspective.

          almost 2 people die every second in the world.

          over 100 people die every minute in the world.

          That's 6000 every hour. 144000 every day. 1008000 every week. 52416000 every year.

          9/11 didn't even have the power to change the average for a year.

          lets continue to put things in 'perspective'

          over 4 babies are born each second. 5760 born per day.

          by the time it was 9/12, every person who died there, was replaced.

          you are a drop of water in an ocean. you are insignificant.

          no matter how much you tell yourself that 'thousands' of dead is important, it simply isn't.

          • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by pspahn ( 1175617 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:43AM (#30561742)
            2 people die per second... 144000 per day.

            4 babies born per second... 5760 per day.

            I don't understand this math.
          • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:39AM (#30562386)

            9/11 had such a profound impact on the U.S. because it was spectacular, it was unprecedented, and it happened here. And, thanks to the 24/7 cable news cycle, we watched it unfolding, live, from our living rooms.

            Anytime you have a large number of fatalities occurring from a single spectacular event, it will have a stronger emotional impact than a much higher cumulative tally of deaths over time. That's why airliner crashes, for example, are newsworthy and annual statistics are not -- those 100, 200, 300 deaths may be statistically a drop in the bucket compared to the annual deaths from car crashes, cancer, or whatever, but they occurred in a single, dramatic event.

            The notion of using airplanes, and civilian airliners at that, as flying bombs was also not a possibility that was in the popular consciousness, not even as a plot element in an action movie. (How many people commented, on 9/11 and in the days following, that it all seemed unreal, like watching a movie and not reality?) And crash those planes into three of the most well-known, high-profile buildings in the world (the two WTC towers and the Pentagon), with a fourth crash into the White House or the Capitol (depending on who you believe) prematurely thwarted, and you have the ingredients for a real-life spectacular that will have a profound impact, regardless of how the numbers stack up statistically.

            And it happened on U.S. soil. Prior to 9/11, with the possible exception of the OKC bombing, large scale terrorist attacks were something that happened in those "other" countries around the world. And with the perpetrators being "foreigners" (as opposed to a domestic malcontent like McVeigh and whatever conspirators he may or may not have had, depending on what you believe), and it's not hard to fathom the almost immediate adoption of the "America is under attack" and "we are at war" memes that were so adroitly exploited by the government.

            Finally, the smug xenophobia and self-centeredness of Americans played a role. Why do you think a domestic plane crash, even a smaller commuter plane with fewer than 100 souls on board, gets hours of constant, live coverage on CNN while a jumbo jet with hundreds aboard crashing halfway around the world merits but a sentence or two at the hourly update? Think of the impact Hurricane Katrina had while killing fewer than 2000, compared to the Asian tsunami that killed 250,000 five years ago. Now consider how much attention, concern, and TV time were devoted to both. Sure, the Pacific tsunami did get some screen time, especially now that the ubiquitous presence of video cameras in average people's hands gave us some shaky, dramatic, horrifying footage to see. (Though I strongly suspect that if there had been no video at all, the event would have been even more marginalized on U.S. media.) But with the exception of a handful of Western tourists caught up in the disaster, those quarter million souls are "other" people..."fer'iners" know, them people that dress weird and talk funny and don't look like us. On the scale of emotional involvement, a couple thousand American lives merits an "OMG, this is horrible, something must be done" while 250,000 Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Thais, et. al. elicits an almost Seinfeldesque "Ah, that's a shame....wonder what's on HBO right now..."

            So, it's not sheer numbers that determine what impact death has on a culture; it's all about context. Who got killed, where, how and why.

          • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:20AM (#30562524)

            by the time it was 9/12, every person who died there, was replaced.
            no matter how much you tell yourself that 'thousands' of dead is important, it simply isn't.

            The 2500 who died at the WTC weren't infants or elders. They were firemen.

            They were men and women in their most productive years. In the rarefied business of investment banking and world trade.

            Death is universal. But Death is also particular.

            Hit hard enough, your city, your world, can be wounded beyond all hope of recovery.

        • Re:Oh, look! (Score:4, Informative)

          by WGFCrafty ( 1062506 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:38AM (#30561718)
          I think he means "minor annoyance," as in an attempt to change our everyday life (flying isn't every day for most people). A perspective on the stability of government, not a humanist perspective.

          Kinda like the quote which is often misattributed to Stalin:

          The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.

          I don't know who actually said the above phrase, according to wikiquotes: "Mustering Most Memorable Quips" by Julia Solovyova, in The Moscow Times (28 October 1997) states: Russian historians have no record of the lines, "Death of one man is a tragedy. Death of a million is a statistic," commonly attributed by English-language dictionaries to Josef Stalin. Discussing the book by Konstantin Dushenko ( ) Dictionary of Modern Quotations ( : 4300 , , , ).

        • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nossie ( 753694 ) <IanHarvie@@@4Development...Net> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:02AM (#30561802)

          Thousands of thousands of people die each day outside the US in wars that appear to be a 'minor' annoyance to the US. 4000 people died under the terror campaign by the IRA in Ireland - supported by most in the US.

          Every year 15 million children die of hunger alone.

          Perspective - it's a great thing. I also don't believe most democratic elections are won via terrorist attacks at home or abroad. And we still have not really made up our mind whether the US/UK invasion of Iraq was legal.

          The 9/11 attacks were a tragedy. However by turning such a tragedy into an excuse to attack and govern another nation or not even disclose the full details on the attacks of that day then the event was not a 'minor annoyance' to the US at all - it was a convenient opportunity!

          • Re:Oh, look! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:17AM (#30562514) Journal

            4000 people died under the terror campaign by the IRA in Ireland - supported by most in the US.

            And funded, to a large degree, by the good people of New York City. One of the benefits of the 9/11 attacks was that Giuliani suddenly decided terrorism wasn't cool anymore and the IRA, seeing its major source of funds dry up, became a lot more willing to negotiate.

            • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Informative)

              by Faluzeer ( 583626 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:47AM (#30562584)

              the IRA, seeing its major source of funds dry up, became a lot more willing to negotiate.


              Credit where credit is due, the republican movement had shown they were willing to negotiate several years before 9/11. The good friday peace agreement occurred in april 1998, negotiations had started under the previous conservative government led by John Major.

        • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:40AM (#30561968)
          It should be. I know it's tragic but it shouldn't have been turned into the media extravaganza it was. Hell, there even was an official song. The proper response to terrorism is to non-hastily look into measures that allow that particular attack to be prevented in the future (such as, in this case, making the cockpit inaccessible from the passenger room during the flight) and nothing else.

          The exact point of terrorism is to disrupt the target country. Now look at the situation - not only have the USA ruined their image over two wars, they (and everyone else) spend lots of money on harrassing innocent travellers in a way that doesn't even do anything, breeding contempt all the while. A few thousand deaths in an act that is extremely unlikely to ever be successfully repeated again should not be enough to let the most well-armed country in the world tumble head-first into raging paranoia against anyone and everyone, including its own citizens.

          Regardless of the "if we don't X the terrorists have already won" rhethoric, the government of the States has done exactly what the terrorists wanted and it's still continuing to do so. The terrorists have already won and they keep wining because at the moment they and the government are working in the same direction: Away form the citizens towards ever greater surveillance and power concentration at the top. They're essentially using each other as PR agencies.
        • Re:Oh, look! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by KahabutDieDrake ( 1515139 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @06:14AM (#30562106)
          Respectfully, you are the one that needs some perspective. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people die EVERY DAY. A few thousand in one place at one time is a tragedy. However its hardly a big deal on the scale of the entire planet. We make it out as a big deal because for the most part, people in western "civilized" cultures are largely unaware of the reality around them. Especially outside their own country.
      • Re:Oh, look! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:39AM (#30561726) Journal

        Indeed. It's the streisand effect of terrorism... 9/11 could have been at most a minor annoyance but instead it became the rallying cry for numerous restrictions on freedom with questionable results at best.

        Not only that, but it's become a rather strong rallying cry in support of General Aviation - you know, private planes and all?

        As a member of a flight club, I can fly a private Cessna 182 at 150 MPH (pretty much) anytime I want, at a cost that's perhaps 25% higher than driving. Typically, private planes get me there in somewhere between 25% and 33% the time to drive, and for trips between 100 and 750 miles is a very competitive way to go.

        1) I don't land at big airports, I land at small ones that exist in nearly every community over 5,000 to 10,000 people or so. At these airports, delays really don't exist. There are usually not more than 2 or 3 other planes active at any given time, often none.

        2) Small airports almost inevitably put me very close to where I want to go, anyway! Rather than drive 1.5 hours after landing, I get a taxi for the 3-5 mile ride.

        3) Stupid security restrictions? Naw - back the car up to the side of the plane and throw your bags aboard! At larger airports, there are often security fences and the like, but even these are easily navigated, certainly without the stupid wands, shoes, and security theater.

        The only real limit in going this way is weather - as a visual-only pilot, I'm grounded when the clouds get too low. (But even that won't be a limit for much longer)

        • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds[ ] ['hom' in gap]> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @07:18AM (#30562316) Homepage

          As a member of a flight club, [ ... ]

          But isn't the first rule of flight club that you don't...
          Oh, wait, never mind.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:35AM (#30561366)

    How ridiculous can flying become? Just say "F**K YOU" to terrorists, and fly as if nothing had happened. Otherwise they've won.

  • by Travelsonic ( 870859 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:35AM (#30561368) Journal
    With all due respect on the aisle thing, if I'm on a long-ish flight, fall asleep after eating whatever, and I have to pee badly enough, stand aside and let me use the lav, or I'll just piss in my paints in the aisle and let the cleaning crew on the ground deal with it... not my fault you guys tied to keep me from using the bathroom despite pointing out how badly I needed it a dozen++ times. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. The TSA has gone beyond asinine now.
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:38AM (#30561376) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. Make every passenger from Nigeria go out through security in Amsterdam, then back in. And while you are at it if some guy in Nigeria goes to the US embassy and says look out for my son here is his name then bloody look out for that name in visa requests and think twice before granting it.

    Oh and another thing. US security seems to focus on detaining the bad guys after they have landed in the US. We have heard of this happening to plenty of people. How about recognising that they can get up to bad stuff while still in the air over Detroit, and trying to keep the bad guys from even getting on the plane.

    • by David Jao ( 2759 ) <> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:02AM (#30561804) Homepage

      Make every passenger from Nigeria go out through security in Amsterdam, then back in.

      Amsterdam already does this, not just for Nigeria, but for every passenger arriving from every country.

      You have clearly never been to the Amsterdam airport. The security checkpoints in Amsterdam are at the departure gates, not at the terminal entrance. Every single departure gate has an individual security checkpoint, with metal detector and x-ray machine. Every passenger boarding the flight is screened, regardless of their point of origin.

      My first reaction upon seeing this setup was that it was a waste of resources for every gate to have a separate checkpoint. But it makes sense in a lot of ways. It prevents long lines from building up in any single checkpoint (important if you're concerned about terrorists setting off bombs while waiting in a densely packed line). Also, unlike US airports, if a passenger escapes through the checkpoint, it's very easy to find him afterward, since there's nowhere to go beyond the checkpoint except onto the plane. Hence you never see the entire airport closing down because one passenger ran through the checkpoint the wrong way. My guess is that the cost saved by avoiding 2-3 security related airport closures in this way makes up for the cost of the extra hardware.

  • Prohibited Items (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:38AM (#30561382)

    The TSA's list of prohibited items doesn't seem to have changed in the last day, though.

    Explosive devices aren't already listed?

    • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:53AM (#30561472) Homepage Journal

      Fireworks in specific are banned too! And he was in his seat.

      Basically there should be no rules because of this, because everything he did was already sufficiently covered.

      Any policy changes because of this are 100% "Looking like your doing something" and/or fear.

    • by nametaken ( 610866 ) * on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:06AM (#30561538)

      Well duh. If you're already hopelessly worthless at enforcing the rules you've always had, well just make more rules!

    • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:20AM (#30561862) Journal

      Scroll down -- there's a clearly-labeled section detailing which kinds of explosive are allowed and which aren't.

      But see, this is one truly moronic result of security theater -- first, the explicit list of specific stuff you can't bring is also an implicit list of stuff you can. If I were an aspiring terrorist, I'd be reading through that thinking, "Hmm, a golf club would be really useful, but they're banned... I'll just bring a stick of rebar instead." That's the problem with security theater in general -- you're preparing for specific attacks, and by publicly preparing for those, you guarantee that the terrorists won't use that attack -- they'll use something else.

      The second problem is that the list in itself is a list of ideas if you can manage to sneak that stuff past security. "Hmm, a spillable battery -- that's a good idea. I just have to put it in a wheelchair and pretend to be disabled..."

  • My Theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rev. DeFiLEZ ( 203323 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:42AM (#30561408) Homepage

    I am starting to think the airlines want this.

    If government rules make it impossible to have comfortable flight, why should an airline even try to make the flight comfortable?
    (fedex can ship 200 pounds of meat cheaper than american airlines)*

    *might not actually be true, but I am sure some bean counter is thinking it

  • by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:47AM (#30561440)

    Because apparently the only possible time to detonate something and bring down an airplane is in the last hour before landing. So THAT is why the shoe bomber failed....he did it too early!

    How about we have a reasoned response to this instead of just blindly making shit up based on the last attack?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:33AM (#30561928)
      I work in Aviation Security Management (Not in the US, please don't murder me, I'm not responsible for that sack of shit) and I devise, operate and review various Transport Security Programs for various Industry Participants such as Regular Public Transport and Freight Operations and I absolutely agree within this. Once a prohibited item, such as explosives, gets past screening the battle is lost, that said even an explosion during screening would also be just as damaging for the purposes of terrorism. The TSA is one of the most ineffective Transport Security Agencies in the world, I've seen more risks managed better in Vietnam than I have anywhere else in the US when it comes to flight operations. They fail to identify risks and vulnerabilities before a threat exploits them and apply risk treatments after the fact where they are the least effective. Communication between Security Staff and Security Management is atrocious with a lack of proper reporting and review mechanisms for policy failures and issues. These issues have steadily degraded effective and consistent security awareness amongst security staff and created a poor security culture in general which extends far outside of security operations.

      Elsewhere in the world the focus is steadily shifting to protecting of IT resources both in the air and on the ground for flight operations and administration, ensuring Business Continuity and Recovery Plans are up to code and auditing processes are proper and functioning and yet in the US they can't even handle the basic preventative measures during the screening process and even terminal logistics. I went to LAX last year and I saw regular breaches of baggage quarantine, lack of functioning access control mechanisms allowing access to restricted airside operations and various other absurdities. Now I'm sure some fool here is going to yell "Don't give the terrorists ideas!", unless these terrorists are blind in both eyes these problems are immediately apparent and those in charge of devising policy consistently ignore the experts advising them not only about these issues but what treatments are available. What are people like me to do? In the US people like me are ignored when we take the proper routes and if we go public we are immediately shunned and treated like criminals for "exposing weaknesses and threatening national security". The whole thing is a joke and in my experience the current state of the saga which is called "aviation security" originates in the US.
  • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:50AM (#30561454)
    The last one sounded like some guy successfully set off a charge that was barely large enough to set his pants on fire, then some guy jumped him afterwards. How, exactly, is that foiled?
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:51AM (#30561462) Journal

    Just like the shoe bomber fracas a couple of years ago, is that to thwart a perp attacking an aircraft, what you need are passengers who are ready to go berserk on his ass. No TSA or air marshalls needed.

    The spurt of rule-making that follows an incident like this is nothing but a demand for more docility from the public. The TSA is useless.


  • by straponego ( 521991 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @03:53AM (#30561470)
    I've canceled my vacation. Not because I'm afraid of terrorists-- I'm not, at all. We're talking at about 1 death per 4 million passengers.

    No, it's that in response to this sliver of a threat, you're guaranteeing that I'll spend twice the time in line, and the flight will be as miserable as you can make it. This will cost literally billions of dollars (at 300 million hours, about 450 lifetimes) of productive passenger time per year. And all because some twat might set his crotch on fire-- good thing you don't allow us to have water anymore.

    Alright. Fine. Let the airlines go out of business; this nation of cowards deserves it. I suppose we'll need another bailout, to pay the airlines to leave their aircraft on the tarmac.

    Those who would sacrifice essential liberty for imaginary security are assholes.
    • by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:56AM (#30561780) Homepage Journal

      I flew from Las Vegas to LA today so I have yet to see these tightened up rules. At LAS I couldn't detect anything different and it was as though nothing unusual had happened yesterday. The only unusual thing I experienced was a family so dense--in line ahead of me--that they couldn't get it together enough to get through the security scan in under 10 minutes while everyone waited behind them. And oddly enough the TSA folks were unflinchingly polite about it all. It took so long that I finally gathered up my bins and went to another line.

      So, despite all the talk here it's not like it's instant crackdown in TSA land.

      • by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @10:36AM (#30563048)

        I flew from Las Vegas to LA today so I have yet to see these tightened up rules.

        The reason you have yet to see these tightened up rules is because they only appear to apply to international flights entering the US. Missing that detail is a forgivable mistake though, seeing as it makes no fucking sense.

    • by Antony-Kyre ( 807195 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:39AM (#30562566)

      Or in other words, the terrorists have won. If their goal was to make the lives of Americans more miserable, it seems they succeeded.

      But worse yet, if air travel gets much worse, perhaps the airlines will need a bailout? We've seen how 'well' it worked for the financial institutions.

      The question is, is the solution to this problem more security, or is it trying to find the root cause of why things like this happens?

  • I'm all for security but now this all nonsensical. Instead of actually making actual changes they just impose extremely annoying rules that have no actual security improvement. What does it matter whether or not it is the last hour...can't the terrorist just set off a bomb...I dunno before the last hour. I don't understand what the actual point of this rule is.

    So if I want to pee, read a book, put something away, or so much as even flinch I'm gonna be threatened with an arrest. Simply inconveniencing people isn't gonna make security any better...

  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:03AM (#30561522)
    Number of people dead from an airplane incident this year: 0
    Number of people dead from car accidents this year: tens of thousands
    Number of people dead from cancer this year: hundreds of thousands
    Number of people inconvenienced because of stupid airline regulations: millions
    Number of people losing their livelihood due to reduced tourism to the USA: probably tens of thousands
    Number of people dieing as an indirect cause of airline regulations: probably more than the victims of terrorism this year
    Number of people failing to comprehend basic statistics: hundreds of millions

    Seriously, enough of this madness. It was a foiled bombing attempt that came with the usual Al Quaeda franchise branding. I certainly don't care about the original news more than a few brief lines about it on some buried page on the BBC's website, however it's pissing me off in a major way that a lot of people seem to think this is a big deal. It's not!
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:04AM (#30561528)

    You beat terrorists by raising a middle finger in their direction, mocking them mercilessly and accepting casualties once in a while. You kiss terrorist arse when you pull this kind of crap. What's next, handcuff passengers to their seats and have police strutting up and down the aisles during flights? Give me an effin' break!

    • by GryMor ( 88799 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:24AM (#30561880)

      Whats next? Mandatory sedation. Sure a few people won't wake up, but thats a small* price to pay to stop someone from trying to blow up the plane they are on.

      * For point of reference, a medical report I found rates anesthesia to result in 10 to 100 times more deaths than air travel per hour of exposure. So the small price is 10 to 100 flights worth of passengers killed per fractional flight loss prevented, fractional since the vast majority of flight loss are not from internal terrorism.

  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DTemp ( 1086779 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:14AM (#30561590)

    So, during this time when you aren't allowed to get out of your seat, aren't allowed to use the bathroom (explicitly mentioned in an article I read):

    What happens if you have to crap? Like really have to? I have a feeling if someone started yelling about how they were gonna shit their pants, a flight attendant would let them to the bathroom, although I think if you're at the point where passengers are having to yell about needing to take a crap (in front of dozens of passengers), you are opening yourself up to a lawsuit.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:17AM (#30561610) Journal

    I have trouble keeping my son in his high chair with his hands in plain site in a high chair. Good luck getting infants to sit still.

    I don't know who's stupider: The idiots at the TSA who come up with the rules, the politicians that give them this power, or the dickheads that allow the politicians to be elected.

    I'll stay well out of your country. I only wish your fucked up rules didn't get copied by our own government and idiotic organisations. We just had some ridiculous security restrictions lifted in Australia. What's the bet that all gets reversed thanks to you crazy as fuck yanks?

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @04:36AM (#30561708) Journal

    It's stupid not because it's exaggerated, but because it's ineffective. It's BS. I went to a conference in the US at the end of November, and was reminded just how bad it is to fly to and from the US. I have also flown to and from Israel, a country very much in the crosshairs of terrorists, and the security procedure was MUCH more humane, both on the flights and at boarding. (in fact, I didn't even need a visa for Israel, while I need to go through an incredibly complicated and expensive procedure to get a US visa... but this is a different story (or is it?)) The Israelis do have some security processes in place, but they are mostly stealth and unobtrusive. Well, in any case, they must be doing something right, because there has not been a hijacked or otherwise terror-affected flight to or from Israel in decades now.

    • by timothy ( 36799 ) * Works for Slashdot on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:48AM (#30562018) Journal

      I've been to Israel only once -- earlier this year; beautiful and interesting place to visit! -- and while I agree with you that their procedures seemed more humane, I wouldn't say that they (speaking only of the visible parts) were any less visible / overt than in the U.S., but rather the opposite.

      My demographic (perhaps the same as yours, I don't know) I'm sure contributed to the scrutiny I received on both sides of my 3-week trip -- I didn't *notice* any extra attention paid to me during my actual time in the country, which doesn't prove there wasn't any. (That is, as male under 40, traveling alone with no checked baggage, and no strong connections to Israel in the form of family, culture, previous visits, etc.)

      I was approached and questioned (not unpleasant -- agent was cute) even on arrival, right on the stairs leading from the plane to the hallway to the main terminal, who called me out by name. Was it partly because I was taking the stairs (two at a time) instead of the escalator, or blind chance? I dunno. All visitors (there are separate lines for Israeli passport holders, and I'm not sure how they're treated) on arrival must clear passport control with a small interview about the purpose of the visit, schedule, etc. I have visited a handful of countries overall (8, I think), but it was by far the most thoroughly and frankly I ever remember being examined. Very different from most of my experiences with TSA in the US, and seemed to be more thoughtful / alert even than what I found in German and American airports when I flew to Berlin from the U.S. in October, 2001 -- a pretty tense time to fly.

      On departure from Israel, was engaged in pointed conversation by three different security people in the initial line at the airport, too, before even checking in for my flight, and that's before I reached the two X-ray stations, pat-down station, and chemical sniffer. Asked to spell the names, and give the address, of the friends with whom I had stayed in Jerusalem, to name and describe the place I'd stayed in Haifa, to describe in detail (more than once) the purpose of my trip, my itinerary, etc, and prompted to agree -- again, more than once -- that perhaps someone had supplied me with a package to carry on my flight, etc. "No, this is all my own luggage, and I have had control of it the whole time. Yes, I packed it. Correct, this is my luggage for the entire trip. Yes, I visited Jordan for one day, to visit Petra. No, I don't know anyone in Jordan. Yes, I met some interesting people while I've been in Israel, but No, none of them asked me to carry anything in my luggage. I was in Haifa to give a small talk and to see the city." (etc.) Thought it was a bit much even given my expectations of hard-nosed vigilance, it was all fairly polite and respectful* -- just insistent. It also buoyed my confidence that people who seemed competent and thoughtful were visibly involved, and actually enjoyed it as an interesting cultural experience. If I flew there every month, I might feel a lot differently about it.

      This is not to say that I am aware of all the security stuff going on in the background, there or in the U.S. -- I figure (and hope) that there's more to it than what I see ;)



      * This is certainly not my experience with TSA, though I'm sure some of their agents are competent, polite, and alert. I've just seen, or at least taken note of, more of the other kind. My horror stories aren't even campfire ghost stories compared to the people who've really gotten screwed over by TSA, and so aren't worth recounting at this time of night, so I'll just leave it at that.

  • by flajann ( 658201 ) <[ed.xmg] [ta] [llehctim.derf]> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:17AM (#30561848) Homepage Journal
    All a would-be "terrorist" have to do is go, "BOO", to get the US to spend billions of dollars to fight against the next "BOO".

    Go "BOO" enough times and the US will spend itself into financial ruin. Wait -- that's happening NOW!

  • by andi75 ( 84413 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:45AM (#30562002) Homepage

    After this rule more people will die from blood clots.

    Sane airlines actually encourage people to get up from their seats at regular intervals.

    E.g. Edelweiss Air used to show a video explaining the issue (I haven't flown with them in a while so I don't know about the current situation), Emirates has some pictures on how to keep circulation intact etc.

  • ok, @#$% this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @05:51AM (#30562032)
    Some jagoff lights a firecracker.

    The TSA losers failed to prevent him from getting on the plane with a firecracker.

    Now they are saying "well we need to treat you all like prisoners now."

    You know what, the terrorists just won, with a @#$%ing firecracker.

  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Sunday December 27, 2009 @08:07AM (#30562470)

    We all make grandiose statements about "security theater," how worthless new rules are going to be, vowing never to fly again, etc. etc etc...but how many of us take our comments beyond a Slashdot post? How many comments about knee-jerk reactions are knee-jerk posts? I'll admit to the same, having sworn off flying if at all possible and driving to my desired destinations.

    I'm not saying "quit whining." Far from it--what is being said needs to be said, but it needs to be said in the proper forum. Contact the TSA, the airlines, and your Congressional representation. Tell them the same things (with a dash of proper grammar and spelling and a certain amount of decor, of course) that, as the flying (or former flying) public, you object to tax dollars being wasted on what is perceived to be ineffective security measures. Make it a voting issue when the next election comes rolling around. Let those who make the rules know that they are having an effect--a negative effect. Tell the airline about that road trip you took and how much more enjoyable it was without having to submit to a bunch of BS screening.

    I'll grant you that the most you can hope for, as an individual, is some sort of form-letter response from your Congressional representation. The airlines won't care because, frankly, if you don't buy the ticket, somebody else will. The TSA won't care because, well, they don't have to care. (Yes, I'm a little cynical.) En masse, however, somebody, somewhere, might start to pay attention.

    I'll take my own advice right now, and after reading up on the actual event and the ensuing rules changes, make it clear to my representation my position, and what I expect to be done about it. I ask direct questions, in hopes of getting something other than a form-letter response. That way if I get a canned response that doesn't address the question, I have a reason to ask it again.

    My deep thought for the day.

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Sunday December 27, 2009 @09:11AM (#30562648) Homepage

    DOCTOROW, Schneier, Sunday — After the Detroit Christmas firecracker incident, the Transport Security Administration now requires all US airline passengers to be strapped into their seats naked with catheters fitted, for their comfort and convenience [].

    "It's the most efficient way to keep the country moving and let the TERRORISTS know they haven't won," said TSA head Gale Rossides. "We're just trying to work out what to do when the TERRORISTS work out how to set off bombs by clenching their butt cheeks together."

    Passengers are advised not to bother with laptops ("You could explode the batteries with your urine!"), iPods or the vile containers of sedition such as "books." "Carriage of any carryon item will result in lengthy security delays for the customer," said a TSA advisory, "but, in response to customer concerns, the TSA officer with the latex glove will give you a box of chocolates and promises to respect you in the morning, and will definitely call you later in the week. Honestly."

    US tourism offices have finally given up and shut up shop. "I hear Afghanistan is pretty nice this time of year. Iran's pretty good too."

    Officials at Amtrak did not give a comment on the phone, just the sound of dancing around their offices singing "We're In The Money."

    The passenger who allegedly set off the firecracker has mounted a stern defense, showing his paycheck from the Department of Homeland Security's Subdepartment of Job Preservation.

APL hackers do it in the quad.