Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Transportation United Kingdom

British Airways Chief Slams US Security Requests 335

Posted by samzenpus
from the security-theater-amateur-night dept.
Ponca City writes "Reflecting a growing frustration among airport and airline owners with the steady build-up of rules covering everything from footwear to liquids, Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, has launched a scathing attack on the 'completely redundant' airport checks requested by the TSA and urged the UK to stop 'kowtowing' to American demands for ever more security. Speaking at the annual conference of the UK Airport Operators Association, Broughton lambasted the TSA for demanding that foreign airports increase checks on US-bound planes, while not applying those regulations to their own domestic services. 'America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do,' says Broughton. 'We shouldn't stand for that. We should say, "We'll only do things which we consider to be essential and that you Americans also consider essential.''' For example, Broughton noted that cutting-edge technology recently installed at airports can scan laptops inside hand luggage for explosives but despite this breakthrough the British government still demands computers be examined separately. 'It's just completely ridiculous,' says Broughton."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

British Airways Chief Slams US Security Requests

Comments Filter:
  • by DesertNomad (885798) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:06PM (#34045372)

    Looks like Mr B has just bought himself a lifetime ticket to that line...

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1123034-tantric-tsa-art-foreplay.html [flyertalk.com]

  • YES YES YES! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrix007 (200091) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:12PM (#34045414)

    Finally, a voice with power pointing out the obvious.

    Will anyone get on the bandwagon, will it go any further?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mywhitewolf (1923488)
      i hope this is the beginning of rationalizing security threats. people are starting to realize that the knee jerk reaction from 9/11 may have been a bad idea.
      • Re:YES YES YES! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by causality (777677) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:12PM (#34045722)

        i hope this is the beginning of rationalizing security threats. people are starting to realize that the knee jerk reaction from 9/11 may have been a bad idea.

        Unfortunately all of the hindsight in the world is no substitute for having the wisdom and the courage to cherish freedom more than security.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by causality (777677)

      Finally, a voice with power pointing out the obvious.

      Will anyone get on the bandwagon, will it go any further?

      That's no progress. We won't have made progress and risen out of (what future historians will call) the Dark Age of Unenlightenment under which we currently live until we listen to what is obvious, reasonable, and demonstrably true no matter who points it out. Until then, it's money and power against money and power, or specifically in this case nation arguing against nation, same as it's always been.

      • Re:YES YES YES! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Miseph (979059) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:41PM (#34045878) Journal

        Earlier today Obama said the sky is blue. Clearly he is a lying Socialist, and the sky is not blue.

        Then I heard Glen Beck say that grass is green, which just proves he is a racist and a fascist, and now I can be sure that grass is not green.

        In this brave new world, we determine reality by excluding the views of those whom we predetermine to be wrong. Welcome, and enjoy the stay... just don't plan on leaving any time soon.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Of course not. Where is the money coming from to fund these bureaucracies? Us, in very small amounts per person. Who is the money going to? Probably several levels of politicians and labor leaders, but altogether much fewer people for this specific little redistribution of wealth. That means the ones getting the money have much more incentive(their whole paycheck depends on it at the bottom level) vs a few dollars(or euros I guess) spread across the rest of the society.

      Which group is going to fight harder t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mr100percent (57156)

      No, you'll get John Bolton on Fox News saying how the US is being insulted by the UK and how they don't understand terrorism the way the US does and how the US deserves 'exceptional' rights and powers.

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Cue Die Hard character by Alan Rickman.

        I must have missed something.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mr100percent (57156)

          Oh I don't think everyone quite got what I meant.
          Under Bush, his appointee for UN ambassador John Bolton would always toe the most hardline view possible and try to find ways to avoid the US from falling under its own rules and treaties.

          When the UN complained that their 50-year old NY building had an asbestos problem and needed renovation, Bolton replied that the UN official was insulting the US by making such a claim. He's tried to use the claim that the US was above the rules it tried to set, including Bi

      • Re:YES YES YES! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rufty_tufty (888596) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @09:42AM (#34048838) Homepage

        Yeah because it's not like the UK has any experience with terrorism, I mean there was that whole pesky IRA thing, but it's not like it lasted for 8 decades or anything...

  • by Kittenman (971447) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:17PM (#34045434)
    Brave thing to say from where he's sitting. This is going to cost him money, friends and influence. I mean, just saying that all that US Security isn't necessary. Imagine what someone will be saying next.
    • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:30PM (#34045522)
      So Martin Broughton went to the Wizard of Oz and got courage, the TSA could go get brains and a heart and air-travelers could wish to go home without being extensively cavity searched?
      • by agendi (684385)
        +1 Literary
      • by grcumb (781340)

        So Martin Broughton went to the Wizard of Oz and got courage, the TSA could go get brains and a heart and air-travelers could wish to go home without being extensively cavity searched?

        Oh! OH! OH! I so want to be the Tin Man, so the TSA can kiss my shiny metal ass.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hedwards (940851)
      It's a completely pointless thing to say. Whether or not the UK wants to go along or not, any plane entering American airspace has to follow our rules, or risk being taken down. Same goes for other nations as well, if you want your plane to go through their airspace you have to follow their rules. The French wouldn't allow us to fly our military planes through their airspace en route to Iraq for the first gulf war so we kind of had to route elsewhere.
  • Guess who's next on the don't fly list!
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:20PM (#34045452) Homepage
    Countries like the UK and Israel have experience with terrorism, and they've developed reasonably sane ways of handling it. Just to be clear, I'm not praising the fact that they stole land from the Irish and the Palestinians -- but at least they don't act like total idiots when someone sets off a bomb. The US, on the other hand, responded to 9/11 by running around like a chicken with its head cut off. We shot ourselves in the foot in ways that were far worse than any of the damage done by the 9/11 hijackers, including two wars and an all-out assault on our own civil liberties. Compared to that kind of national self-mutilation, I can't really take it too seriously when I'm not allowed to bring a full-size shampoo bottle on an airplane -- but it certainly is an example of the same idiocy, just on a smaller scale.
    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:37PM (#34045850) Homepage

      The funny thing is, having flown EL AL from Canada to Israel, and to Europe, and then back to Israel. I didn't really notice the security(which is the mark of a good system). Not to mention they actually profile people who are probably going to be a threat, instead of the 87 year old grandmother with oxygen tanks.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Profiling decreases security, by design. Profiling means to increase security for certain groups of people, and decrease it for others -- but the effects are public, and therefore visible to any terrorists, so any terrorists with any intelligence will simply focus on the weaker areas, and gain benefit from profiling.

        It is only people who are unfamiliar with game theory and simple logic who do not realize this -- of course, this includes all politicians, contractors, and bureaucrats.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Profiling doesn't work. Anybody who says otherwise is either delusional or abusing it in some fashion.
        • by dlgeek (1065796) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @01:37AM (#34046386)
          RACIAL profiling doesn't work. BEHAVIORAL profiling (what the Israelis do) is extremely effective. If you fly to Israel, before you can even check into your flight, you get interrogated by one of their security officers. They'll ask you about where you're going, where you've been in Israel, etc, then they ask follow up questions to try to trip you up. While they're doing this, someone else is watching by camera for nervous ticks and all the involuntary reactions that are inevitable in someone planning malfeasance. It's extremely effective, but not scalable in terms of cost.
          • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @05:34AM (#34047236)

            I should point out that those "nervous ticks and involuntary reactions", if you're referring to so-called microexpressions, are currently well in the realm of pseudoscience. They're no more revealing than general nervousness or erratic behavior. (Perhaps unsurprisingly the TSA is very enthusiastic about adopting the technique.)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by delinear (991444)
              Indeed, while there's no proof that the techniques work, and almost certainly if they did they'd be useless in anything other than a closed interview room with cameras to monitor and replay actions, they do have the benefit to the authorities of pretty much being able to drag anyone out of line for interview with zero real reason ("Oh, I saw a micro-expression that looked like guilt").
      • by isorox (205688)

        The funny thing is, having flown EL AL from Canada to Israel, and to Europe, and then back to Israel. I didn't really notice the securit

        Really? You didn't notice the checkpoint before you get to the airport, the line for the first bag/mtal detector screening, the check of the passport and the questions, the island in the middle while they unpack your dirty underwear, and only then are you allowed to check in!

        Checking in at JFK T7 was no different to Heathrow.

        I've flown from Tel Aviv and JFK this year, Tel A

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        Not to mention they actually profile people who are probably going to be a threat, instead of the 87 year old grandmother with oxygen tanks.

        Because one of those oxygen tanks isn't a freaking ideal piece of equipment to conceal a really large explosive. Grandma probably wouldn't even notice it either.

      • by Splab (574204) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @02:40AM (#34046614)

        Really?

        My sister was withheld for 4 hours at an Israeli check point for questioning; her skin tone is slightly dark and could easily be mistaken for northern Muslim - even though she has a Danish passport, born by Danish parents and lived most of her life here. Her travelling companion however, was let right through the gates, milky white complexion and carrying drugs.

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:40PM (#34045868) Homepage

      You made a fatal error. You assumed (at least I assumed you assumed) that these decisions are from a lack of experience and working knowledge. Incorrect. This is BY DESIGN. It's a total feel-good measure to protect against a political backlash of "not doing enough" spearheaded by the opposing political party.

      If you want to be serious about this, just place an armed air marshal on-board every flight. The weapon of choice doesn't have to involve shooting bullets. IMHO, this would be far more effective and far cheaper. If something gets out of hand, deadly force may be used accordingly. Case closed.

      KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid

  • not very efficient (Score:2, Interesting)

    by submain (856941)
    I accidentally left a silver knife and a silver fork that I use to lunch at work in my backpack when I made a trip to Brazil. Passed through 4 domestic flights and 2 international ones and none of the security check points noticed a thing. I was surprised when I got home and found those in my bag.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jbcarpen (883850)
      They just thought you were hunting werewolves.
  • Argh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:21PM (#34045468)

    When I was in Tokyo/Narita, they had these nifty little tubes with a microwave emitter and antenna in them. Send a pulse of 2.4GHz microwaves into a drink bottle, same stuff as your microwave oven uses, and check if it resonates strongly. I bet the things cost under a hundred bucks to make.

    All the "liquid explosives" people are worried about are not mostly water. All of the crap people take on planes to drink is mostly water. Yet the TSA won't let me take a bit of juice or water through security? What a crock.

    I asked a TSA guy about this, and he said that "we're developing new x-ray scanning technology that can check drinks, but it won't be ready until 2012, and it is very expensive."

    Huh? The Japanese have solved this problem with a fucking microwave oven, and we're wanking about with this ridiculous security theater?

    • I guess they still aren't up to snuff with European security requirements then. Not too long ago I flew NRT->HEL->FRA and at Helsinki they made us go through another security check and they actually ended up finding lots of stuff that was banned, including a couple knives.

      And offtopic but Finish women wearing security uniforms with white leather gloves on = HAWT!
      • by richlv (778496)

        they actually ended up finding lots of stuff that was banned, including a couple knives.

        ...and nothing has happened in approximately a million flights where people accidentally have brought through the "security" knives, water bottles and other items that are prohibited.

        when you (general public) see that big part of the measures is useless and a waste of time & money, you assume that _everything_ in the security are is like that. same as me seeing how passengers get 0.5 water bottles confiscated, only to have some airport shop employee go through the security checkpoint with a palette full

    • Re:Argh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdot@ga[ ]lson.org ['ryo' in gap]> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:30PM (#34045520) Journal
      Apparently the Japanese use engineers and scientists to solve technical problems. In the US, lawyers and nanny-state politicians define the problems, define what tools can be used to solve the problems, then require the engineers and scientists use the wrong tool because they won't pay for the right tool. Of course we can't solve the problem; the problem has been distorted beyond reasonable solution.
    • by jonwil (467024)

      Can the Japanese system properly tell the difference between liquid explosive and, say, shampoo or toothpaste or makeup? Or any of the things that are not dangerous but which dont contain mostly water?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tacvek (948259)

        Shampoo is mostly water (as in more than any other single ingredient) . The first ingredient on virtually every bottle of shampoo I have ever seen is "Aqua", which is water.

        Granted that it often does contain a whole lot of other ingredients, but certainly enough that it should set off the water detector.

        The idea should be that anything that has enough water that it is almost certainly not a bomb making chemical can be immidately ruled safe, letting them examine the others more closely.

        Of course high water c

        • Re:Argh... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by IICV (652597) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:25AM (#34046066)

          My wife took a vial of mercury on a flight once (it was for science, and the destination lab was in a third world country with no way of getting any). Mercury does this [youtube.com] to aluminum, over the course of a long enough period of time (and this was a very long flight). TSA didn't find it.

          The worst part? TSA actually went through the case she'd checked (it was a suspicious one, I have to admit) and opened some of the flasks in there. What was in those flasks? Nothing - literally. They contained high-quality vacuum, to be used for taking samples at the destination (again, lab in a third world country, not equipped to pump down those flasks). Despite opening the case, searching through the contents, and actually going in to some of the flasks the TSA actively missed something that would have been dangerous to the plane in the hands of the wrong person.

          Why? Well, the vacuum flasks looked like bomb components you'd see on TV (to the point where my wife even in a nice little note saying "please don't open these, they're just vacuum flasks, we're poor scientists, here's a number to call at the university if you don't believe me"), while the vial of mercury was tightly packed in a Nalgene, the sort of hard shelled water bottle hikers use sometimes.

    • Or, you could have women with explosive breast implants...

      I really wanted to leave that as a joke, but it's a non-laughing matter when these people plan on packing explosives in their body. Who cares about infection or discomfort. They'll blow themselves up and causing as much mayhem as possible anyways.

      We are not simply fighting terrorism. To call it that is pure political correctness bullshit. We are fighting an ideology where by the members are praised for doing Gods work in his name. Focus on the root c

  • by deviator (92787) <bdp@amn[ ]a.org ['esi' in gap]> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:26PM (#34045490) Homepage

    It's an insult to perfectly secure modern foreign airports that the US requires these ridiculous redundant security checks. Just last week I flew from Shanghai (China) to Seoul (Korea) and then to Seattle. When we got to Seoul we disembarked the plane in a secure area, went to the transfer area (still secure) and had to go through screening all over again. This seems silly; any transfer from any flight inside of the US doesn't require this step as long as you are still in a secured area. Does this mean the TSA doesn't think Korea can secure their airport? That seems like an insult.

    But to make matters worse, there was a *separate* security check after we got our ticket checked but before we entered the Jetway to the plane to Seattle. But it wasn't so much a security check as it was a line of checkers making people open bags (where they dug around a bit, but not a lot) and each checker asked if we had any lighters. When asked about the two extra levels of security checks, the answer was always "US Flight."

    a) Why is there a security check in a secured area?
    b) What is the point of the *second* security check before you get on the plane that doesn't really accomplish anything anyways?

    I don't get it; it's insulting to other countries and costs way too much money. And I'm convinced we are paying for it with US tax dollars.

      A single proper security check is be sufficient. Then, you're either in a secured area or you aren't. Maybe there are a handful of airports in the world that can't guarantee security of their "secured area," but the shiny modern airport in Seoul (Incheon) is not one of them (especially considering it also serves as a military airport!)

    • by jrumney (197329) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:48PM (#34045592) Homepage

      When we got to Seoul we disembarked the plane in a secure area, went to the transfer area (still secure) and had to go through screening all over again. This seems silly;

      Maybe there are a handful of airports in the world that can't guarantee security of their "secured area," but the shiny modern airport in Seoul (Incheon) is not one of them

      But if the flight is arriving into Incheon's secure area from one of those airports that cannot guarantee the security of their secure area, then Incheon's security has been breached. So the extra check to transit between the arrival lounge and departure lounge is not silly. The second extra check on the other hand is just there to appease the TSA, and that is silly/

    • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:55PM (#34045634) Homepage

      Actually, that's exactly how it should be... Let the US bound passengers deal with the idiotic extra checks, and make us other go through the useful ones.

      Only thing you're going to get from me taking of my shoes is a biological weapon going off.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:10PM (#34045712)

      Mmmm ...

      It's strange really. On one hand a cash strapped US is trying to promote tourism and overseas visitors for the cash that can bring in, and on the other the security industry (which failed so spectacularly in the first place) is promoting this gung ho, demeaning and impossibly aggravating set of procedures for the same said tourists.

      I used to visit the US fairly regularly .... once every two years or so. Nowadays it's about last on my list, simply because of the aggravation involved in setting up the trip, getting the necessary documentation, undergoing the various intrusive security procedures and the like. It's simply not worth the trouble.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's an insult to perfectly secure modern foreign airports that the US requires these ridiculous redundant security checks. Just last week I flew from Shanghai (China) to Seoul (Korea) and then to Seattle. When we got to Seoul we disembarked the plane in a secure area, went to the transfer area (still secure) and had to go through screening all over again. Does this mean the TSA doesn't think Korea can secure their airport? That seems like an insult.

      If I understand you correctly, you weren't screened in

      • by iammani (1392285)

        You say as if there are no direct planes from China to US.

        • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:34AM (#34046108)

          You say as if there are no direct planes from China to US.

          It occurred to me, but I decided it's easily explainable. For a direct flight from China, the US will meddle in the security in China as they did with Korea in this instance. They won't meddle with a flight from China to Korea. In other words, the US will concern themselves with the last leg into the US in all cases, and won't trust whatever security you went through to get to the last leg.

          It's not completely insane. If we posed this in terms of computer security - let's say somebody passed you a cert signed by some guy you don't know. Are you going to trust it? Not likely.

    • The US doesn't just pay for it with tax dollars, it also pays for it in tourism and business.

      Cavity searches are a notoriously unpopular way to begin a vacation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tftp (111690)

        Cavity searches are a notoriously unpopular way to begin a vacation.

        Don't worry, these are done only if you and your family refuse to be seen in the nude.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        And the business includes flight transfers. In a couple of weeks I'm going from London to Mexico. The cheapest routes involve US airlines and a tranfer in the US, but I'm willing to pay extra to fly Iberia via Madrid and avoid US airports.

    • by S.O.B. (136083)

      It's not just the TSA. I had the same experience during a Tokyo stopover on an Air Canada flight from Hong Kong to Toronto.

    • by deblau (68023)

      TSA is security theater, complete with uniforms for the actors and Uncle Sam as the librettist. If the TSA disappeared tomorrow, the SAME DAY there would be airline-hired security guards in their place, because what airline wants to be sued by 300 angry widows/widowers when a plane gets blown up? And the airline guards would have to actually follow all the privacy laws, unlike the TSA (whom otherwise rational people seem to think should be exempt for some reason).

      [sarcasm] And in this recession, how dare

    • by isorox (205688)

      Just last week I flew from Shanghai (China) to Seoul (Korea) and then to Seattle. When we got to Seoul we disembarked the plane in a secure area, went to the transfer area (still secure) and had to go through screening all over again.

      Same happens in Dubai, for all flights I believe, but certainly for a transfer from London to Islamabad

      A single proper security check is be sufficient. Then, you're either in a secured area or you aren't.

      Do you trust security in some random airport in somewhere like Zimbabwe?

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:30PM (#34045516)

    When I travel to the USA, and I am packing,I tend to just grab any device I might fathom that I would need, and toss it into the suitcase. PCMCIA Token Ring cards, ISDN cards, cables, chargers, just keep going. Do I need all that crap? No. But when I arrive, there is a nice white paper in the suitcase explaining that it was opened for "Security Reasons."

    The poor security checker was probably thinking, "What the hell is he going to do with this garbage .... Token Ring, indeed!"

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:50PM (#34045608) Journal

      I haven't done it yet, but I've always thought it would be fun to cut aluminum foil out in the shape of a hand gun and put it in a friends book just before they were going on a trip.

      Come on, it's not a good practical joke unless it breaks up a life long friendship or marriage or someone ends up in the hospital or jail.

    • The poor security checker was probably thinking, "What the hell is he going to do with this garbage .... Token Ring, indeed!"

      Eh? Teal'c is now a security checker in an airport? After all these years saving the Earth, I did not see this coming. I guess times are tough even for the Air Force, but this is ridiculous!

      • by isorox (205688)

        Teal'c is now a security checker in an airport?

        Just put him on the check-in desk, any terrorist would run a mile from one glance

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:32PM (#34045530)

    I have cancled my travel plans to the USA post 911 due to thier increased security checks and invasive tests. There is no way I will allow myself to be entered into thier databases as there is no garentee this information will be correctly entered and maintained, and for it to remain private.

  • by balsy2001 (941953) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @10:38PM (#34045552)
    I hate what TSA has done to the airport/airplane experience. So much so that I am on personal boycott of all commercial flying (unless forced to for work). I know it won't do anything but I do it on principle.

    If British airways is still flying here, there is still money to be made. If the profit margin gets to small on flights here they will stop.
    • by baKanale (830108)

      If British airways is still flying here, there is still money to be made. If the profit margin gets to small on flights here they will stop.

      And when they stop these ridiculous regulations will change. Or we're going to have to get used to doing less business overseas.

    • If you:

      1) Keep it up.

      2) Let the airlines know.

      3) Work on convincing others to do the same.

      As people may have noticed from the bailout some time back, the government considers the airlines important. They want to keep them happy. This is not only because they are important economically to the US, but because they have heavy political influence.

      Well, if the airlines start to find out that the security theater is cutting in to their bottom lines, they aren't going to be happy at all. They can verify it too. If

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Redundant is an understatement. A few days ago I took a direct flight from Ireland to the US. I was required to stop and hand over my passport eight times! As a US citizen I've felt more welcome entering the former USSR than my own country.

  • If they don't make it a farce, it could become a tragedy.
  • It's been worse... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Constantin (765902) on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:36PM (#34045846)

    ... under the previous administration, the TSA actually asked multiple high-volume airports to set aside certain gates for US-bound flights, reclassify those areas as sovereign US-soil (!!!), and allow the US to post armed US TSA officers there (!!!!!). That was rebuffed, ranging from the Germans refusing outright, Canadians politely offering an additional Mountie, to the Japanese asking for more time to 'study' the issue. The arrogance of the US authorities to make the request in the first place is only eclipsed by the current treatment of foreigners coming to the US (online $$$ VISA, photographs and fingerprints on arrival, etc.) - to what end? Thanks to this lovely attitude, multiple nations have started to retaliate against US citizens by charging them reciprocal rates and also treating foreigners like criminals. Well, great, it's the little people as usual getting the short end of the stick when the elephants start dancing.

    I wish more folk in the transportation business - consumers as well as providers would start speaking up more about the very costs of security theater versus the benefits. AFAIK, the TSA has yet to nab a single potential terrorist prior to them doing something naughty on the plane. Similarly, FAA red teams continue to enjoy great success penetrating US airports at will while over 300 TSA employees have been fired for being caught stealing passenger items (makes you wonder how many weren't caught, but I digress). The TSA continues to throw technological solutions at a very complex problem in a completely reactionary manner instead of being honest and admitting that stopping all crime in the air is inherently impossible.

    Bruce Schneier has written at length about this, noting that the best way to ensure that only the folk who are supposed to be on the plane is to check them for security, ID, and ticket validity at the gate, just before they get on the plane. Having big choke points at the entry to airports only ensures one thing: a big fat target for terrorists. Worse, the current push for backscatter and microwave machines significantly reduces throughput since the TSA has not allocated any additional floor space or parallel paths into the airport to accommodate the 5x slower scan rate of a backscatter machine vs. a magnetometer. And, should you be silly enough to opt out of a machine scan and ask for a manual pat-down, you can expect the TSA staff to retaliate. In my case, my carry-on luggage was subjected to a comprehensive search even though the pat-down did not uncover anything suspicious (TSA headquarters later stated that this should not have been done)

    Bottom line is, some common-sense approaches like upgrading cockpit doors were good ideas. But until Congress and the president grow a backbone and stop the madness, the TSA will continue to grow and whatever privacy and convenience passengers used to enjoy simply will continue to evaporate. It's a pity considering how much fun travel can be. But who am I kidding? There is simply too much money in the business of providing 'security' these days, too many fiscal interests that would be hurt.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      The only problem with that is that the gutless cowards still outnumber the people with more reasonable views and the paranoid combined. Remember Democracy is the greatest tool ever devised to ensure that the people are governed no better than they deserve, to paraphrase things a bit.
    • Thanks to this lovely attitude, multiple nations have started to retaliate against US citizens by charging them reciprocal rates and also treating foreigners like criminals.

      Ahahaha! Show the Americans that their system is fucktarded by making your system just as fucktarded, and not showing them a proper example!

  • by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Wednesday October 27, 2010 @11:50PM (#34045912) Homepage
    I now take the ferry to England to avoid this carry on. Yeah it takes a big longer but that is the only disadvantage

    *Take as much crap as I can carry
    *Nobody cares how many screw drivers, nail clippers, 8p8c crimpers, LED bulbs, gas soldering irons, unusual electronic items, bottles of water I take with me and use on the ferry. *Queues short or nonexistent
    *Use up expensive satellite bandwidth for free
    *Decent quality air for the entire journey
    *Nobody blasting on the loudspeakers trying to sell me shite while I try to sleep
    *Decent food
    *If a bomb does go off there is a good chance of you surviving
    *Fixed fair - no cancellation,change fee, come back when you like
    *Good scenery along the way

    Airport security seems like an exercise in compliance - "oh we dont see too many of these around, we're going to scan it seperately and ask you why exactly you're taking it with you, and if we dont like your answer you'll be waterboarded". Anyone taking stuff besides clothes and a Kindle full of DRM can expect a fair bit of hassle

    Airlines seem to make and change rules just to catch people out. They charge administration fees when it doesnt cost them anything. Airports and airlines get away with it because people just accept their shit and don't stop flying. Even when you go to look for the people responsible for bringing in the rules you are given the run-around.

    The worst has to be the recent rules against liquids specifying the exact type of plastic bag and container they must be in and sending people back to buy an overpriced plastic bag if its slightly too big. Things are so bad now, the odd plane getting blown to pieces almost seems worth it now.
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      The worst has to be the recent rules against liquids specifying the exact type of plastic bag and container they must be in and sending people back to buy an overpriced plastic bag if its slightly too big.

      I never bother with plastic bags and the screeners have never stopped me taking things like toothpaste in my carry-on bag. What's the point of the bags?

    • by isorox (205688)

      I now take the ferry to England to avoid this carry on. Yeah it takes a big longer but that is the only disadvantage

      From where? Ireland? France? Norway? Belgium? Holland? Denmark? New York on the QM2?

      *Nobody cares how many screw drivers, nail clippers, 8p8c crimpers, LED bulbs, gas soldering irons, unusual electronic items, bottles of water I take with me and use on the ferry.

      Sadly Eurostar isn't like this, they have the pointless xray machine (although I've no idea what they're looking for, as my leatherma

  • Solution (Score:5, Funny)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:06AM (#34045982) Homepage
    This was discusssed on the Guardian comments the other day, and this solution was put forward which, if implemented, would sweep it all away at a stroke. I don't claim this came from me, but I can't find the attribution.

    Solution: Invent a device that causes any concealed explosive to detonate instantly, and have this within a sealed containment room. Ordinary passengers pass right through, but real security risks are immediately removed from the situation. Extra bonus: muffled bangs would be shortly followed by an announcement that a seat upgrade is now available...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swilver (617741)

      Assuming that:

      1) Such a device cannot be fooled. Human ingenuity seems to be underestimated.
      2) The "explosives" are actually in an "explosive" configuration during this scan.
      3) There are no other means of causing havoc on a plane -- acids, poisons, bio-weapons.. but I guess if only all passengers are killed and the plane survives it doesn't really "count", after all there was no monetary loss.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shilly (142940)

      Erm. Bags are already checked for depressurisation triggers, and I think other triggers too.

  • by PerformanceDude (1798324) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @02:43AM (#34046624)
    As a very frequent traveller all over the world, I can not agree more with the BA boss. The whole US imposed security mess is inconsitent, abusive and humiliating. I normally get around it by being docile and act like the sheep I'm supposed to be - but when something goes wrong all hell breaks lose. My story is about being "picked out" for an additional check (the infamous SSSS boarding pass). The TSA officer at Raleigh NC airport picked me out in the line before the x-ray scan and told me to step aside for a pat-down. I told him I'd accidentially left my boarding pass on the x-ray belt and just wanted to grab it before it got sucked into oblivion. That resulted in a "SIR, YOU ARE DISREGARDING MY INSTRUCTIONS - STEP THIS WAY OR I WILL ARREST YOU!!!". What a great way to treat people - especially those from foreign countries who are the greatest US supporters in the war on terrorism (in my case Australia). TSA officers (of all people) should understand that sometimes the people in the security line are jet-lagged, tired and not completely focussed. Especially after an 18 hour transit. Maybe I should also mention the insitence from US immigration on finger-printing my 18 month old child in 2004. Thankfully they have since given up on that stupid idea. To all my US friends: Try travelling to New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium or any other country with a sensible democratic government and reasonable security and immigration checks. You will be surprised at the way that you are treated like a human and not a terrorist by default.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ledow (319597)

      Even better - go to any non-UK European country and watch as you can drive top-speed through 7 or 8 international borders and not even realise until your mobile phone says "Welcome to Germany!" or whatever.

      It's only the UK that has stupid enough politicians that we just blindly follow what the US says: wars, terrorism, whatever. We've been dealing with bombings and terrorists for decades before 9/11, from nearly blowing up a hotel with the prime minister in it, to downing a plane over Scotland, to putting

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

Working...