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Schneier Talks to the Head of TSA

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the go-to-the-source dept.

News 342

Bruce Schneier recently had the chance to sit down with Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and discuss some of the frustrations travelers experience head-on. "In April, Kip Hawley, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), invited me to Washington for a meeting. Despite some serious trepidation, I accepted. And it was a good meeting. Most of it was off the record, but he asked me how the TSA could overcome its negative image. I told him to be more transparent, and stop ducking the hard questions. He said that he wanted to do that. He did enjoy writing a guest blog post for Aviation Daily, but having a blog himself didn't work within the bureaucracy."

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342 comments

Ask him... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044455)

Ask him the procedure for getting yourself off the no-fly list.

I'd ask myself, but I'd rather stay off that list, and since no one can say how you get on, this post might put me on that list, but I wouldn't know it until I couldn't fly next week.

P.S. Ask him if he admires Kafka and is trying to emulate his writings...

Re:Ask him... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044621)

Vote for my girlfriend :)

[URL]http://www.thegiantdream.com/Profile.php?ID=2 1[/URL]

*nsfw? (bikini .. might be sfw .. idk)

Re:Ask him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044729)

It's safe for work, but she's pretty ugly. Perhaps offer her a paper bag, next time.

Not an idiot, but still evil (2, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044679)

Ok, perhaps in person Kip Hawley is not an idiot [kiphawleyisanidiot.com] . But he's still running an organization that's offensive, dishonest, unconstitutional, and a bunch of thugs, and the fact that he does have a grip on reality doesn't change that.

Re:Ask him... (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045177)

Ask him the procedure for getting yourself off the no-fly list.

1. Become a card carrying Republican.
2. Attend Church every Sunday.
3. Report UnAmericanism in friends and neighbors.
4. Watch FOX NEWS exclusively and echo its opinions.
5. Most Importantly of all.... Donate bucketloads of cash to the GOP!!

Anything less and you're siding with the terrorists.

Re:Ask him... (4, Informative)

yaphadam097 (670358) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045203)

The TSA is not responsible for the no-fly list. They only enforce it. Your question should be directed to the FBI. Specifically, a little known office called the TSC. http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_02 46.shtm [dhs.gov]

Not the TSA, it's the airlines I have issues with! (5, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044467)

Bruce Schneier recently had the chance to sit down with Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and discuss some of the frustrations travelers experience head-on.

I have flown quite a bit this past year and visited airports across the country (for pleasure, never for business) and have never once had a run in with the TSA. My issues are solely with the airlines and their "customer service".

Last night was a prime example. Flying from SAV to ATL and on to MSP. My flight out of SAV was delayed from 19:42 to 22:15 and then in ATL we were originally delayed out until 01:20 then moved back to 22:10 (which I would have missed the connection) and then back to 00:10 (which was actually 00:30). We arrived at MSP 45 minutes late (which isn't that bad overall).

The flight from ATL to MSP has a TERRIBLE track record according to Flight Stats [flightstats.com] (0.9 out of 5 stars).

Then with Northwest's pilots calling in sick and them dropping ~9% of their flights for the weekend (170 to 200 flights) is just a joke.

The TSA hasn't exactly been friendly or courteous but at least they are doing their job. The airlines, OTOH, aren't doing anything except making a big hole and getting bailed out by the taxpayers while paying their CEO's millions.

Doing their job? (0, Flamebait)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044619)

The TSA is doing their job about as well as the airlines are doing THEIR jobs! The TSA is totally funded by the public, and if you don't like one of the low-buck airlines you were dissing, you are welcome to pay a little more you cheap bastard and get good service.

We can't opt-out of the TSA.

Re:Doing their job? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045043)

Speaking of the constant drive towards cheapo flights. I'd be willing to pay a some more for bigger seats and more legroom. I wish they could do that without having to charge through the roof 1st class prices. Maybe make some flights all first-class style seating and then charge only a small amount more? I don't need the other frills, just the space.

Re:Doing their job? (1)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045181)

But I think it's the space that makes first-class seats so expensive. Surely the food isn't THAT much better. What other "frills" are you thinking of?

Re:Doing their job? (2, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045523)

It could be just the seat. I have been bumped to first class a few times and they do fuss over you and give lots of free drinks, among other things. I'd think though that if the whole plane had better seating the cost of the missing seats could be averaged out and wouldn't be a huge price increase. Then again maybe it would. INAAE (I'm Not An Airline Executive).

Re:Doing their job? (4, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045247)

I'd be willing to pay a some more for bigger seats and more legroom.

They're not first-class seats per se, but you can already do this on United and a number of other carriers. For more see:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44 2986 [flyertalk.com]

Re:Doing their job? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045451)

Thanks for the link. Any idea what the average extra cost is vs economy? (roughly)

Re:Doing their job? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045423)

Fly Midwest Airlines when you can. You get first classish seating and very good customer service. Let's hope that Airtran doesn't end up buying them out like they are trying to.

Legroom (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045481)

I'd be willing to pay a some more for bigger seats and more legroom
Check out Jet Blue: 34 inch seat pitch in the forward section at coach prices.

Re:Doing their job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045189)

I've flown on at least half a dozen airlines, some of them "low-buck" and most of them standard. I've never noticed any sort of correlation between price and service. Worst service I've received was on Delta, with British Airways a close second. The best service has been on Southwest.

Anecdotal I know, but the numbers I've seen for on-time departures and baggage loss rates bear this out.

Re:Doing their job? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045475)

if you don't like one of the low-buck airlines you were dissing, you are welcome to pay a little more you cheap bastard and get good service.

I also noted that Northwest (who I refuse to fly because of their absolutely shitty customer service, horrible track record, and awful unionized staff) had major issues this weekend.

As far as being a "cheap bastard", that's not true at all. I didn't say any cash by flying Airtran, they were just the airline that had the schedule that was acceptable for my trip. I couldn't leave at 6 AM on Friday and I didn't want to return at 6 AM on Sunday the following weekend. I wanted to fly out mid-afternoon on Friday and return late on Sunday (we were staying in Edisto Beach, SC and flying into Savannah and I needed time to drive -- a 6 AM flight would have required me leaving at ~2:30 AM)

Re:Not the TSA, it's the airlines I have issues wi (2, Insightful)

edsyc (1088833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044767)

And the worst part of it all... you can't complain for fear of the airline throwing your ass off the flight.

Re:Not the TSA, it's the airlines I have issues wi (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044803)

Airlines have problems because travel gets bigger every year, but airports (generally) do not. There's a bit they could do to resolve problems like yours (for instance, keep more pilots in reserve so pilots calling in sick doesn't affect flight schedules), but a lot of those delays are simply too many planes and too few runways/gates.

Re:Not the TSA, it's the airlines I have issues wi (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045535)

Let me add to your list of things they could do to help:

  • Stop overbooking. Just stop. No conditions, exceptions, nothing.
  • Allow tickets to be transferable. That would allow people's plans to be more flexible (but prevent some of the ways they price gouge).

    Re:Not the TSA, it's the airlines I have issues wi (2, Interesting)

    plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045319)

    Every time I fly, there's some screwup due to the TSA. More than once in the last two years I've been picked out for "special screening". The last time I flew was out of McCarron in Las Vegas, and the security lines were 90 minutes long. Even having Penn and Teller record a stupid video to "entertain" us while waiting didn't help.

    More people are beginning to understand that security theater is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. But not enough to end this lunacy any time soon, I'm afraid. Some people are still convinced that this hoax somehow makes them "safer". Frankly, I'd rather have travelers scared crapless -- if the cowards would stay home, there'd be less congestion at the airports (and maybe fewer people bringing three-year-old kids to kick the back of my seat for five fscking hours!)

    Re:Not the TSA, it's the airlines I have issues wi (2, Interesting)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045449)

    Last night was a prime example. Flying from SAV to ATL and on to MSP. My flight out of SAV was delayed from 19:42 to 22:15 and then in ATL we were originally delayed out until 01:20 then moved back to 22:10 (which I would have missed the connection) and then back to 00:10 (which was actually 00:30). We arrived at MSP 45 minutes late (which isn't that bad overall).
    I have found the problem with your flight already. You were going through ATL. It is almost a necessity at times, sadly, but this is one of the nations busiest airports, which makes travel into and out of ATL a royal pain. I try to avoid it whenever possible and usually do.

    The TSA hasn't exactly been friendly or courteous but at least they are doing their job. The airlines, OTOH, aren't doing anything except making a big hole and getting bailed out by the taxpayers while paying their CEO's millions.
    I am not going to completely absolve airlines, but some of them have been willing to pay for TSA screw ups. Let me give you my one example (that actually led to me flying a lot less). If you have ever flown through IAD, you know that the security check point setup is a joke. Never enough security screeners for the passengers. One X-Mas season, I was flying home and was stuck in a security line for almost 2.5 hrs. The funny thing is, I just missed my flight because I was expecting this sort of trouble and arrived VERY early. United Airlines wasn't going to penalize me because of the TSA, and the customer representative actually refunded my ticket fully. I drove home (almost 11 hrs) but I still beat when the next flight would've gotten me in. This problem was solely created by TSA, but in my case, the airline took the punishment for it. Hopefully this mythical renovation of IAD will actually improve the poor service and transit between gates.

    He seems to have a sense of humor (3, Interesting)

    Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044471)

    Bruce Schneier: By today's rules, I can carry on liquids in quantities of three ounces or less, unless they're in larger bottles. But I can carry on multiple three-ounce bottles. Or a single larger bottle with a non-prescription medicine label, like contact lens fluid. It all has to fit inside a one-quart plastic bag, except for that large bottle of contact lens fluid. And if you confiscate my liquids, you're going to toss them into a large pile right next to the screening station -- which you would never do if anyone thought they were actually dangerous.

    Can you please convince me there's not an Office for Annoying Air Travelers making this sort of stuff up?

    Kip Hawley: Screening ideas are indeed thought up by the Office for Annoying Air Travelers and vetted through the Directorate for Confusion and Complexity, and then we review them to insure that there are sufficient unintended irritating consequences so that the blogosphere is constantly fueled. ...


    And they really seem to get into the details of airport security. Certainly doesn't seem like PR fluff, could be an interesting read.

    His answers are PR fluff. (3, Insightful)

    khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044779)

    That's just the "disarming joke" that you're supposed to tell to let everyone know that you're going to be talking with them like a regular guy and not some PR flak.

    It's an attempt to confuse the when you do follow the scripted PR.

    I often read blog posts about how someone could just take all their three-ounce bottles -- or take bottles from others on the plane -- and combine them into a larger container to make a bomb. I can't get into the specifics, but our explosives research shows this is not a viable option.

    Right ..........

    That seems completely illogical to me. And the attempt at evading the specifics just illustrates how much of a PR flak he is.

    Re:He seems to have a sense of humor (1)

    Guil Rarey (306566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045291)

    He's at least got enough sense to know what kind of an audience Bruce Schneier has. There are still gaping holes in security and there are still questions he dodged, but at least the man had enough wit to attempt to be humanly funny about it.

    And then he waved the bright shiny object for slashdot - how would YOU do it - how would you prevent the smuggling of liquid explosives onto an airplane given that you don't necessarily know the chemical signature(s) of the explosives...or their constituents?

    Re:He seems to have a sense of humor (1, Insightful)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045583)

    i WOULDN'T because no one has ever come up with any compelling reason to show that we SHOULD.

    it's not like there's some magical explosive formula terrorists have come up with that no one has ever thought of before. so we in fact DO know the chemical makeup of any stand-alone liquid explosive, and mixing some otherwise innocent consituent chemicals together into a bomb just isn't going to work [theregister.co.uk]

    Define Bureaucracy (5, Insightful)

    4solarisinfo (941037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044493)

    Most of it was off the record... I told him to be more transparent, and stop ducking the hard questions. He said that he wanted to do that.

    Hey buddy, if you want to be more transparent, hold less of your meeting 'off the record'.

    Re:Define Bureaucracy (1)

    furball (2853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044871)

    Let me give you a preview of an "on the record" interview.

    No comments.
    No comments.
    No comments.
    We're not ready to make a comment at this time.
    No comments.

    Ha! (5, Insightful)

    iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044543)

    Based on the scientific findings...

    Since this 3oz liquid horse shit has been going on, Hawley has been saying it's based on "scientific findings" like a broken record. But he has yet to show these "scientific findings".

    So what would the justification be for prohibiting lip gloss, nasal spray, etc? There was none, other than for our own convenience and the sake of a simple explanation.

    There you have it folks, Hawley freely admits that he's stupid and lazy.

    Oh, I'll report if I get on the "No-fly" list for this. Because, obviously, I'm a "threat" for pointing out Government stupidity.

    Re:Ha! (1, Interesting)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044739)

    Don't forget, after banning fingernail clippers, the TSA never banned matches and is looking at unbanning lighters because while only terrorists want to look good for their interview, there are perfectly legitimate reasons to have a source of fire on board a plane, like smoking or setting your shoe on fire.

    Definitely stupid and lazy.

    Re:Ha! (1)

    harrkev (623093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045243)

    Well, in general, lighters and matches are banned on carry-on luggage, for the obvious unintentional fire hazard. Matches can activate due to friction, and lighters can explode when in an unpressurized compartment. Those compartments are also not manned, so any fires will have a while to burn before they are discovered. This rule makes perfect sense.

    Assuming that the smokers might not want to have to constantly re-purchase lighters when they fly, allowing a ligher on-board makes sense. There is only so much that you can do with a lighter, as long as any other explosive materials are not allowed.

    Re:Ha! (1)

    Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044867)


    Hawley has been saying it's based on "scientific findings" like a broken record. But he has yet to show these "scientific findings".

    That's because most of the public will just blindly accept anything that claims to be based on "science, or research". They might be a little suspicious, but people haven't been taught to think critically about how science is done. (Or on the other hand have to accept the conclusions of well done science even when it challenges what they believe). Science is too often presented as the finished product printed in textbooks, and not a process at arriving at the product.

    Anyone familiar with how actual science is produced will look at this statement by the TSA and immediately question it for lack of any evidence (or even ANY details).

    Re:Ha! (1)

    Thrip (994947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045031)

    That's because most of the public will just blindly accept anything that claims to be based on "science, or research".
    Except global warming, evolution, etc., etc.

    The public only know three types of things: those that smack them in the face; those they care enough to look up; and those that someone can make a profit by shouting in their ears. And very little except sports and sex falls under category two.

    They don't want to address the real issues. (1)

    khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044959)

    Look at the possible threats involving airplanes. And then consider how much damage is possible and how to best reduce the threat or eliminate it.

    #1. Flying planes into buildings. Lots of people die. Lots of damage. Lots of expense. So you fit the flight deck with a secure door. One that can keep out the terrorists long enough for the pilot to land somewhere.

    #2. Blowing up a plane. About 200+ people die. You lose a plane. It might hit something on the way down. So you check passengers AND crew AND support staff for bombs. You COMPLETELY redesign the airports to restrict ALL traffic and you have MULTIPLE checks on the path to the planes. Right now a terrorist can get a job as a janitor and leave a bomb in the bathroom for a traveler to pick up and carry onto a plane.

    And so forth. But we won't be doing anything for one reason.

    It costs the government too much money.

    But forcing you to toss out excess liquids costs them almost nothing.

    The reason the ban on lighters was lifted is because it cost the government MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to dispose of them. Not because they were suddenly determined to be "safe".

    Re:They don't want to address the real issues. (1)

    Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045279)

    Why even bother blowing up the plane? With airports congested as they are with huge lines of passengers it makes more sense to wheel in a big piece of luggage packed with explosives and blow up a hundred people during a holiday crush. You wouldn't even have to go with it, you could leave it in line while you nicely ask the person behind you to "Please watch it while I go to the bathroom?" then dissapear. You could even trigger a jam in the lines by creating a security event somewhere else ahead of time.

    I agree. (1)

    khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045635)

    Once you've secured the planes, the next problem spot would be the terminal itself. And you didn't go far enough with your scenario. Imagine doing that at 5 different airports at once. ALL air traffic would be shut down, again.

    You can mitigate that by moving the vehicles away from the terminal. The passengers would need to unload and move to an initial screening point.

    And so on and so forth. You'd have to have enough redundancy to handle the holiday rush so that you'd have no more than 20 - 50 people stuck at any one location.

    It would be expensive. Very expensive.

    Bureaucracy is a force multiplier for idiocy. (4, Insightful)

    Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045071)

    > Since this 3oz liquid horse shit has been going on, Hawley has been saying it's based on "scientific findings" like a broken record. But he has yet to show these "scientific findings".

    I can partially sympathize with him. The TATP plot wouldn't have worked, but there are probably other things that could be smuggled onboard and used to bring down a plane. By limiting quantities and the sizes of things that could be used as mixing/pressure vessels, some risk may have been mitigated.

    > Hawley has been saying it's based on "scientific findings" like a broken record. But he has yet to show these "scientific findings".

    And I can even go so far as to say I agree with him on his lack of specifics. There's no need to censor recipes, but there's no need to publicize them. Better to let the bad guys Google it themselves, wind up with something copied out of a 60s-era cookbook, and Darwinize themselves out of the gene pool without hurting anybody.

    > Oh, I'll report if I get on the "No-fly" list for this. Because, obviously, I'm a "threat" for pointing out Government stupidity.

    And therein is the root cause: bureaucracy. Kip Hawley may not be an idiot [kiphawleyisanidiot.com] , but he's a bureaucrat. It doesn't matter how smart you are if the system you're working with is fundamentally flawed. That applies from Kip all the way down to the goon who barks at you for failing to remove your shoes soon enough, or the goon who barks at you even louder for removing your shoes before you were ordered to.

    Since the typical TSA Goon is too poorly-educated to understand chemistry, and the typical civilian is too poorly-educated to understand either chemistry or risk, that neither audience needs to know.

    There's the first idiocy: A bureaucracy is happy to tell you "what" (three ounce containers, one Freedom Baggie) to do, but never "why". The TSA goon enforces the policy with mindless efficiency; he is trained to be mindless. His civilian subjects see the policy as wholly arbitrary unfounded in reason or logic, because no reason or logic has ever been supplied, and treat him as the goon he is -- and he likewise learns to regard the cilivian subjects as idiots, because they're too stupid to follow a rule as simple as "3 oz containers in a 1-liter baggie".

    And here's the second level of idiocy: Since nobody has a "need to know" the reason, nobody's allowed to know, and it's not too big a step before you get is afraid to know and is afraid to even think.

    Some guy ahead of me was raising a fuss about the 3/1/1 rule, and I would have loved to have explained to him the reasoning behind the rule. Of course, I didn't. If I'd said "Dude, it's about limiting the size of reaction/pressure vessels and the amount of reagents that can be smuggled in without having more than a certain number of people buying airline tickets within a certain timeframe, just chill out and toss the toothpaste", I'd probably still be in some black hole somewhere.

    It's this second level of idiocy that's the real problem: the notion that, in a bureaucracy, anyone who does think through the reasoning behind a policy, must be a threat.

    More than however many years since (a plot that's mentioned in TFA that I no longer want to type on a web form), more than 5 years since 9/11, two years since the bogus liquid plot, and only now, on an obscure web forum, does the bureaucracy actually come out and admit why the rules are what they are.

    The original policy isn't a great idea, but it isn't exactly a dumb idea either. But it's taught arbitrarily to the goons, it's enforced arbitrarily against the goons' victims, and ends up with all three sides (Policymaker, Goon, and Civilian alike) regarding each other with nothing but contempt and suspicion. To the point that I (like you) am more scared about winding up on a no-fly list for questioning the implementation of policy than I am about being blown to smithereens at 30000 feet.

    Bureaucracy is a force multiplier for idiocy.

    Re:Bureaucracy is a force multiplier for idiocy. (1)

    Troed (102527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045223)

    there are probably other things that could be smuggled onboard and used to bring down a plane

    Name one - really - with an unbiased scientific source, that was possible to bring on before but not now.

    Re:Bureaucracy is a force multiplier for idiocy. (1)

    profplump (309017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045327)

    By limiting quantities and the sizes of things that could be used as mixing/pressure vessels, some risk may have been mitigated.

    But they didn't do that. I'm still allowed to bring a hard-side plastic or metal case and as many plastic bags or other small containers as I like on to the plane, so long as none of them have liquid in them when I do it.

    Don't make excuses for stupid rules -- someone might believe you.

    Good Intentions + $2.00 (2, Insightful)

    mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044555)

    told him to be more transparent, and stop ducking the hard questions. He said that he wanted to do that

    There's a million reasons why there will be practically no transparency. While it's easy to point fingers at the current administration and break out the tin foil hat, most blame goes right back to non-voters and voters alike.

    It's nice that the TSA head honcho knows how to play Good Cop but that's about all one can expect.

    Re:Good Intentions + $2.00 (1, Interesting)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044771)

    He might also truly want to be transparent but the administration could be preventing him from doing so. Not everyone under the Bush Administration is as stupid as Bush. Some just have to keep their heads down to continue doing the fine job they have been. Don't forget what happened to US Attorneys in the DOJ. Gonzales has nearly admitted in some of the testimony I had been wathching there was politcal firings. I can also imagine the commitee wanted to strangle him because he couldn't answer a simple yes or no question. I watched a good portion of the hearing and wanted to stragle the guy. This just illustrates that people might keep their heads down to avoid the current situation with the DOJ.

    Dignity (5, Insightful)

    mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044565)

    Treat passengers with dignity. That, in my opinion, is the most important part. It does not cost very much — hardly anything at all.

    For example, if you force people to remove their shoes (and I always refused to do that, when it was still optional — until a year or so ago), do keep the floor sparkling clean in the area — and make sure, TSA employees are bare-feet too as a reassurance. Thousands of people cross those spots daily — it is not only undignifying, but also unsanitary to be walking there without footware.

    For crying out loud — a Ukrainian airport provides travelers boarding a JFK-bound flight with disposable footwear. Can JFK not do the same?

    When I made myself a pair out of paper-towels, the TSA-thugs at JFK (both the drone and his supervisor) insisted, I take them off too...

    Of course, my calling them names (as I just did) only further alienates them and contributes to the problems, which Mr. Hawley is trying to solve...

    Re:Dignity (1, Interesting)

    alienw (585907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044933)

    I think you just have major OCD. There is nothing unsanitary about walking a few feet without shoes, especially on a dry, hard surface. You can't spread any diseases that way. If you are so concerned, wear socks or something. People walk barefoot all the time at the beach, which is far more unsanitary -- you could step on something sharp, for instance. And I've never been at an airport where the screening area was not perfectly clean.

    As far as having the TSA employees barefoot: that's just an incredibly stupid idea. I don't think more needs to be said.

    Re:Dignity (2, Informative)

    kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045093)

    I think you just have major OCD. There is nothing unsanitary about walking a few feet without shoes, especially on a dry, hard surface. You can't spread any diseases that way. If you are so concerned, wear socks or something. People walk barefoot all the time at the beach, which is far more unsanitary -- you could step on something sharp, for instance. And I've never been at an airport where the screening area was not perfectly clean.

    Are you serious?

    Hard, flat surfaces are a breeding ground for athletes foot, plantar warts and other lovely fungii that would love to accompany you on your destination. The likelihood of contracting one these issues is magnified when the surface is wet which happens when your feet are sweat or someone elses were

    Re:Dignity (1)

    Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045117)

    I've actually survived eating food I've dropped while camping, not to mention on clean rugs. I'm more troubled by the leg and back pain I've suffered from being crammed into a tiny airplane seat for hours on end.

    Re:Dignity (2, Informative)

    mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045281)

    There is nothing unsanitary about walking a few feet without shoes, especially on a dry, hard surface. You can't spread any diseases that way.

    Viruses can survive on the dry, hard door knobs for 24 hours [google.com] . If whoever walked through the gates 5 minutes before me had a viral foot illness of some sort (such as HFHF [cdc.gov] ), the subsequent passengers can pick it up — even through the socks — a wonderful thing to bring with you to vacation or a business trip.

    If you are so concerned, wear socks or something.

    I do — and I throw them out after the fact, leading to rather undignifying looks from the TSA people.

    As far as having the TSA employees barefoot: that's just an incredibly stupid idea. I don't think more needs to be said.

    Of course, there needs to be. You can't just call something stupid (credibly or otherwise) without substantiating. What's wrong with the idea? If the place is good enough for us to walk, certainly it is fine for the TSA folks.

    Re:Dignity (1)

    kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045607)

    Of course, there needs to be. You can't just call something stupid (credibly or otherwise) without substantiating. What's wrong with the idea? If the place is good enough for us to walk, certainly it is fine for the TSA folks.

    First, it would be downright uncomfortable to have them stand around with no support for 8 hours a day. Second, it limits their ability as a security officer. Imagine them having to give chase to someone while in your bare feet.

    Re:Dignity (3, Funny)

    Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045113)

    >> When I made myself a pair out of paper-towels... insisted, I take them off too...

    Yeah, well, they won't let me wear my tin-foil shoes either.

    Negative image (2, Insightful)

    mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044573)

    he asked me how the TSA could overcome its negative image.
    How about looking for terrorists/bad guys and not toothpaste, water bottles, mouthwash, etc. I realize all those could hide bad stuff, but several terrorists with sharpened pencils and metal pens can do a lot of damage in a confined area like a plane.

    Re:Negative image (5, Insightful)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044667)

    A terrorist with 5 pounds of C4 surgically implanted in his abdomen can do far more damage than I could with the liter water bottle that TSA just made me throw away.

    But there is no effective screening method for that, so we'll pretend that little problem doesn't exist.

    Re:Negative image (1)

    kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045373)

    A terrorist with 5 pounds of C4 surgically implanted in his abdomen can do far more damage than I could with the liter water bottle that TSA just made me throw away. But there is no effective screening method for that, so we'll pretend that little problem doesn't exist.

    They're not out to stop every single possible threat. Its all about risk vs reward

    Re:Negative image (0)

    R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045567)

    There is an effective defense - it's called racial profiling. Since 9/11, a vast majority of the terrorists involved in any of the activities since 9/11 have been Arab or Near/South Asian. So simply let all the grannies, kids, Caucasians, African Ameicans, Asians go through, and strip search all of the terrorist looking folks, and everything will run a lot smoother.

    Oh, wait - that's a huge violation of a lot of different laws, and makes teh vast majority of the US populace outraged.

    So here are three options: Treat the people who look like terrorists as terrorists, or treat everyone like a terrorist, or wave a magic wand/go back in time and make terrorism not exist.

    Choose.

    Cost vs. Return (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045569)

    A small portion of people will always find a way around detection but that doesn't mean you remove a very low cost method that prevents the dumb or lazy ones (the vast majority) from succeeding.

    "...so we'll pretend that little problem doesn't exist."

    No one pretends it doesn't exist; the cost and feasibility for preventing it is too high.

    Q: Where is my pocket knife? (2, Funny)

    sjonke (457707) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044623)

    n/t

    thanks for saving me the trouble (1)

    conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044677)

    of subjecting myself to air travel (and TSA "probes") to reevaluate my decision to fly as infrequently as possible. Reading that validated my increased drive-radius and train utilization defaults.

    The sad thing is that most likely this person believes the rubbish he emanates in his bureaucracy-vetted statements. The comments on the blog below the entry call out the doublespeak point by point in random order.

    BEGIN EXCERPT

    "If the TSO throws your liquids in the trash, they don't find you a threat."

    If they didn't find (you) a threat, then WHY THROW THE FREAKIN' LIQUIDS IN THE TRASH?!?!?

    Jeez Louise...

    ~EdT.

    Re:thanks for saving me the trouble (4, Insightful)

    Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044787)

    If they didn't find (you) a threat, then WHY THROW THE FREAKIN' LIQUIDS IN THE TRASH?!?!?

    Because they're engaging in some security theater in order to justify the existence of their own jobs, and the bureaucracies that support those jobs.

    If they thought the liquids were really hazardous (as in, 'might be a bomb') then they'd need to put it in some sort of special disposal container. That they don't makes it clear that they know they're just taking people's shampoo.

    It's all for effect. The idea is to make the shee--I mean, taxpayers--feel like they're getting something for their dollars.

    Re:thanks for saving me the trouble (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045089)

    Yep, Security Theatre is exactly right. At the airport when I was told to dispose of my half-consumed clear bottle of water I removed the cap and accidently poured it onto the security checkpoint. Opps! BIOLOGICAL AGENT - EXACUATE! BITCHES!

    Dude, calm down (2, Insightful)

    conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045275)

    That was just an excerpt from the blog comments. I included it to show that there were actual comments of some merit or other on the site. Of course, I know it's theatre. That doesn't make it any less annoying to have your shave cream looted before you get to your business meeting. Or to have your Congressional Medal of Honor paraphanalia stolen from you: http://forums.realpolice.net/archive/index.php?t-2 5284.html [realpolice.net]

    Personally, I think they ought to be forced to take down the posters of stuff they've taken from passengers designed to make them look good and us feel like criminals. Instead, they should put up posters of all of the stuff they had no business taking. It might make us non-criminals feel like someone in that agency is trying to keep the beast in check.

    Of course, this is all stated from the realistic premise that TSA isn't going anywhere. I'd love to have the old America back, you remember: the America where you didn't even have to show id to travel and assemble... But that part of the Constitution isn't relevant anymore.

    Re:thanks for saving me the trouble (1)

    plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045557)

    If they thought the liquids were really hazardous (as in, 'might be a bomb') then they'd need to put it in some sort of special disposal container. That they don't makes it clear that they know they're just taking people's shampoo.
    Actually, this idea does have a bit of science behind it. The supposed threat they're trying to defend against are "binary" bombs -- where one part of stable chemical A plus one part of stable chemical B combine to make an unstable compound. While they're not mixed together, they're safe, but if the terrarist mixes them up on the plane they'll detonate. They're still safe to throw the components individually into the trash bin.

    Re:thanks for saving me the trouble (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045001)

    It's not that they don't find you a threat and therefore throw away your liquids

    It is more like confiscating your liquids allows them to not consider you a threat.

    Re:thanks for saving me the trouble (3, Insightful)

    gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045101)

    '' "If the TSO throws your liquids in the trash, they don't find you a threat."

    If they didn't find (you) a threat, then WHY THROW THE FREAKIN' LIQUIDS IN THE TRASH?!?!?

    Jeez Louise... ''

    Do you people have a brain at all? What he is saying is: Football mum goes in the queue with a bottle of water. They take away the bottle, nobody checked whether she was a threat or not. Terrorist goes in the queue with a bottle of clear liquid that will blow up an aeroplane. They take away the bottle, nobody checked whether he was a threat or not.

    By throwing _any_ bottle of sufficient size in the trash, dangerous explosions are prevented without a costly determination whether someone was a threat or not. On one hand, the danger is avoided. On the other hand, terrorists will go undetected and they can try again. That's what he said, and it sounds very reasonable to me.

    Re:thanks for saving me the trouble (1)

    chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045187)

    Because they realize they are not 100% effective, so if they throw the stuff away they are covering all their bases. A single mistake won't result in a catastrophic failure.

    Was anyone else disturbed by this statement? (2, Insightful)

    amuro98 (461673) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044695)

    KH: "If the TSO throws your liquids in the trash, they don't find you a threat."

    If they really think it's not a threat, why throw it in the trash?

    And I can take larger bottles of saline solution on-board, but not my Venti mocha-decafe Starbucks drink I bought just yards from the checkpoint?!

    Dodging the issues, indeed. I thought his first answer was just in jest and sarcasm, but after reading the article, I'm beginning to wonder if he wasn't being honest.

    Re:Was anyone else disturbed by this statement? (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044801)

    because the TSA is a bunch of FUCKING HORSE COCK

    the increased security they provide is an illusion, and a poor one at that

    pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

    the TSA is a huge piece of shit foisted upon us by the sheeple who feel more secure at the hands of these high school dropout cop-wanna-be's

    make no mention of the fact that you're more likely to die slipping in the shower than at the hands of a terrorist, that more people last year died from the flu than terrorism worldwide, no, we can't have mouthwash and eye drops on planes anymore to be "safe"

    fuck the TSA. I fly as little as possible anymore. Maybe when the rest of this country grows up and grows a set of fucking balls we'll get rid of this shenanigans. Until then, I hope the airline industry goes bankrupt.

    my solution (1)

    HBI (604924) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044697)

    I fly through Canada when possible.

    A customs check is annoying but less annoying than dealing with US airlines.

    I fly a lot (1)

    Cancer_Cures (1000619) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044723)

    I fly internationally (O.K. Canada) for business twice a month. I don't mind the processes at customs or security checks at all. Sure, I've been searched roughly 1 out of every 5 times, and my computer opened and booted up 3 times. No prob.

    The only thing which I find amusing with security at the airport is the amount of people it takes to X-Ray. Often, I will see 9 to 11 individuals on one X-Ray machine, standing shoulder to shoulder. At least three are 'managing' the others. I find it to be wasteful and unnecessary.

    That's my only beef with TSA. This process seems to have a lot of cogs which are really useless. One person reminds us to take off our shoes. One person stacks the dish buses. One person confirms that our pockets are really empty.

    Other than this one particularly inefficient step, I do not find TSA or other TSA-related processes to be annoying or burdening.

    Re:I fly a lot (1)

    Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044851)

    The only thing which I find amusing with security at the airport is the amount of people it takes to X-Ray. Often, I will see 9 to 11 individuals on one X-Ray machine, standing shoulder to shoulder. At least three are 'managing' the others. I find it to be wasteful and unnecessary.

    The only thing less efficient than a union is a government bureaucracy.

    (Just think if we unionized the bureaucrats!)

    Re:I fly a lot (2, Interesting)

    4solarisinfo (941037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045241)

    I actuallly agree with you, when I was flying a lot for work, I got into the routine, standing there with my my shoes and laptop in one hand, the bag in the other, coat off, ticket/passport sticking out of my shirt pocket. One day I was dreading being in the security line behind a large family dreading life. The TSA Agent stoped them, pulled them asside, and waved at me to go past. The Father protested why I got to skip in line when the agent answered "Because he'll be done and gone before you get your shoes off." Sure enough, I was too far away to hear the answer to the father demanding to know why they needed his shoes.

    Not all of the TSA is clueless.

    That was useless (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20044759)

    After RTFA, I was surprised at how much, someone in such a position, could talk about nothing at all.

    His rhetoric gave me nothing more than what is capable from mental abstraction.

    It's not reassuring to know that the TSA is clueless all the way from screeners up to the Heads of Administration.

    NEWSFLASH: Government Fails again.

    /when going through security, I display contempt
    //have yet to be stopped

    Cig lighters: TSA not about security (1)

    michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044783)

    The TSA lost its already-miniscule credibility when it announced [tsa.gov] it would stop confiscating cigarette lighters. It took an act of Congress [tsa.gov] in 2004 to overcome the cigarette lobby. Less than two years later, Congress flip-flopped [akamaitech.net] , and now the TSA has discovered the cost of disposal is too high and is allowing them again.

    Personally, I'd like to see a purely private system of airports open up in the U.S., whereby said system posts a $10 billion bond to cover terrorist attacks. Then we would see practical, market-driven, security.

    Can you imagine what the anti-spam, IDS, and other computer security technology would be like if it were administered by a TLA?

    Re:Cig lighters: TSA not about security (1)

    TheWoozle (984500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045191)

    Then we would see practical, market-driven, security.
    Because private companies have done sooooo well with the security for voting machines, credit cards (and credit information in general), etc.[/sarcasm]

    Re:Cig lighters: TSA not about security (1)

    michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045379)

    voting machines
    The customer is government, so the market cannot work there.

    credit cards (and credit information in general)
    Problems here include immunity provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and that the FBI refuses to pursue fraud for anything less than $100,000 or so (yet the FBI has a monopoly on interstate law enforcement).

    Here is what I think (-1, Offtopic)

    recoil01 (1134963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044789)

    I think you should all go vote for my scantily clad girlfriend in this modeling contest: ahref=http://www.thegiantdream.com/Profile.php?ID= 21rel=url2html-7989 [slashdot.org] http://www.thegiantdream.com/Pr ofile.php?ID=21> Yeah this is shameless spam - but hey .. you get to see her in a bikini... can't be all that bad ~ Peace.

    Get a cluebat/some common sense (5, Insightful)

    SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044815)

    I told him to be more transparent, and stop ducking the hard questions. He said that he wanted to do that.

    Maybe he does (bwahaha, you don't get to a federal government position that high up by being "transparent", Bruce) - but if you think the Bush administration was controlling with scientists and public health officials (see recent stuff from surgeon general), I bet his control of "security" people is even worse.

    Most of it was off the record, but he asked me how the TSA could overcome its negative image.

    First off, why didn't Bruce say, "I'll only come if everything is on the record?" As it stands, this is basically a PR puff piece for nerds.

    Second, to actually answer the question:

    • Don't make mothers drink their own breast milk. When stupid shit like this happens, INVESTIGATE, and criminally charge the officers involved (Color of Law, anyone?) Punishing for "abuse of power" should be your #1 or #2 priority.
    • Don't confiscate ANYTHING without tagging it and giving someone a claims ticket for the trip home, unless storing it does represent a danger. Or, destroy everything instead of forking it over to a well-connected-guy's pawn shop where they make millions selling everything, even items with clear identification. Conflict of interest, anyone?
    • Stop thefts at the screening line by scam artists who employ complex plans such as "wait for the sucker to put his laptop on the belt, then slow the line down with a guy with tons of metal objects on him."
    • Actually screen your employees. Arrest and jail them for falsifying a statement if it turns out they lied. Right now, they just get booted out the door, right?
    • Stop luggage theft. It's pretty embarrassing when baggage handlers walk in and out of an airport with whatever they please. I remember seeing on national TV security camera footage of a woman hauling garbage bags filled with clothing out to her car.
    • Stop harassing the shit out of private aviation pilots. Oh, btw, if you send a blackhawk after some poor guy that wandered into restricted airspace, make sure the civilian-aviation-frequency radios on the blackhawk actually work.

    I'm too disgusted to keep thinking about this. Overall? Don't do something unless/until you can do it competently.

    Re:Get a cluebat/some common sense (1)

    BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045253)

    ^^^THIS^^^

    Having been a TSA screener... (4, Insightful)

    erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044869)

    ...I feel pretty qualified to suggest how to improve things:

    Fire all the dumbasses that think they are either "federal agents" or otherwise "law enforcement."

    They need to focus on customer service and let one or two guys at any given checkpoint be "the bad cop" in that the primary mission and focus for screeners would been to assist passengers in compliance with regulations rather than "getting the cattle through the meat processing plant" mentality that we have now.

    Re:Having been a TSA screener... (1)

    Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045459)

    Start with the airline counter staff, some of whom have a serious superiority attitude and can basically threaten to ruin your day any time they like.

    yes -- attitude is job 1 (4, Insightful)

    schwaang (667808) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045513)

    Many TSA screeners -- not most, but enough to matter -- exhibit an attitude towards the public that should be flat unacceptable. And that makes jumping through the hoops all the more irritating, and hurts TSA's image more than anything.

    This attitude problem isn't unique to TSA. It happens frequently to low-status people who are given more authority than they know how to handle. It happens to cops and to computer systems administrators who forget that they are ONLY working for the benefit of the people they are mistreating.

    If TSA wants to fix it's image, they should look around to law-enforcement and other public-facing agencies and find ones who have been effective training their front-line employees to be both firm and courteous, both vigilant and respectful.

    Honestly... (0)

    ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044931)

    I'd rather be inconvenienced and safe then killed in an avoidable plane crash...

    YES... they go over board but put yourself in the shoes of the person at the gate doing the inspections... FOR ONE THING they're obviously going to be extra careful and stop things that aren't necessarily "dangerous" because honestly would you want to be the person at the gate that let the guy on the plane with the weapon/bomb/whatever. ALSO they're dealing with people who are tired of waiting and bitch for 8 hours (or whatever their shift is) straight... honestly how polite would you be after passenger number 9999999 gives u an attitude for doing your job.

    the 3 oz thing... well it doesn't have to be a bomb.. I imagine a 3 oz container of some sort of chemical or biological substance could do some serious damage.

    one thing I will admit however the shoe things sucks... it's needed but it could be done a little more polite as brought up by "mi" earlier it would be great if they'd just give you disposable shoes so you're not standing their bare foot or even if they had like a little roll of that paper stuff doctors use on their beds so you can stand on it while u wait for them too inspect your shoes then tear it off and pull out a fresh piece for the next person... it wouldn't take too long. and it'd make alot of people more comfortable

    Then don't get on the plane. (1)

    FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045249)

    Right, what about 3oz of talcum powder that has anthrax in it?

    Nobody 'puts themselves in my place' when interacting with me at my job, those TSA goons shoulda known what the customers were going to be like. Don't like it? Quit!

    Tired of people apologizing for the illiterate mumbling goons I've encountered at security checkpoints.

    Re:Honestly... (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045295)

    I'd rather be inconvenienced and safe then killed in an avoidable plane crash...
    Personally, I'd not be killed in a plane crash at all (whether it was avoidable or not.)

    But I'm curious - why does it matter if you're inconvenienced before you're killed? (although personally, if I'm gonna die, I'd rather it be as pleasant as possible - you seem to want it to be unpleasant - are you a masochist?)

    Also, if you were safe, why would you then be killed? I'd think if you were safe, that you wouldn't be killed.. or are you saying that you enjoy being inconvenienced and safe for a little while, as long as you're killed later?

    Re:Honestly... (1)

    ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045413)

    pardon me... I'd rather be inconvenienced and safe THAN killed in an avoidable plane crash... better? geeze

    Re:Honestly... (1)

    stubob (204064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045397)

    But what we're complaining about is the fact that we're inconvenienced and still not safe. TSA is only one aspect of the "I've done nothing, I've got nothing to hide" mentality that is prevalent in this country. Since you feel that way, we know who should be a the front of the line for mandatory rectal screenings, once someone swallows something dangerous and gets it through the "security" line.

    I agree that 3oz of Anthrax is too much to bring on a plane. However, 12oz of hairspray is fine. To throw out 3oz of anything today, and you didn't do it yesterday, because someone arbitrarily decided that 3.1oz is "not safe" is lunacy.

    Here's some news for you: you're going to die. You may live a long life, you may get hit by a car while walking down the street. No one and nothing will ultimately protect you against every bad thing that may happen. I know that, you should too.

    IHBT

    Re:Honestly... (1)

    ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045457)

    agreed... we all die...

    you may get hit by a car today...

    but if you don't look both ways for cars before crossing the street...

    I'd say you highly increase the chance of getting hit by one

    Re:Honestly... (1)

    ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045497)

    and as far as the 12 oz of hairspray thing... It's just too hard to tell the difference if they had something at the gate that could break down the chemical formula of the contents of every container you tried to bring on the plane that'd be great. HOWEVER from my knowledge of chemistry (which is honestly fairly limited) that would be impossible in any sort of reasonable time span.

    The TSA is an embarrasment ... (1)

    TheSoepkip (612477) | more than 6 years ago | (#20044937)

    The TSA has some nice pledges http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/Pledge_v5.pdf [tsa.gov] , which sound good in theory... In practice they seem to serve a guideline for their officers to do exactly the opposite. Effectively it comes down to something like this:
    1. We pledge to briefly look into important issues but pay huge attention to irrelevant trivialities that will result in maximal discomfort. We'll take so much time you won't be boarding your flight in time. We consider this "one-passenger-less-is-one-threat-less-based-secur ity".
    2. You will treat us respectfully. We will huff and puff, you will respect our hand gestures as if you were our female dawg. Failure to comply will give us further reason to "secure" your flight.
    3. We will not explain any of our steps, pro-actively or in a reactive fashion. Try asking us a question, go ahead, make our day.
    4. You may request a private screening. Did you notice you need to request a private screening ? That requires you asking something... make our day, no really...
    5. If you make it to this step, you must be guilty of something, we'll see to securing your flight.
    6. Our trash bin will more gratefully receive your feedback. If we don't like your tone, we'll feed you to our lawyer. Be assured that your next flight will be very safe and secure.
    7. Unless we didn't receive your feedback in the first place, we'll respond in a timely matter
    Living up to the original pledges would be an awesome improvement... Next achievement will be: how to treat other people's property without spilling them all throughout their luggage.

    Due Process? (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045023)

    >> "he asked me how the TSA could overcome its negative image"?

    What about the complete disregard for the constitutional rights of US citizens? What about due process? To me, the TSA is just the German SS of World War II reborn here in the US of A.

    It seems that the problem is the *existence* of the TSA. Heck, they're just doing the unconstitutional work they're told to do. The problem has to be solved in an entirely different manner.

    As a starting point for ideas to solve this differently:

        + Let's empower the passengers and crew more, instead of neutering them.
            Allow us to protect ourselves and other passengers. Give us a bit more room
            to move around on the aircraft and do so.

        + Make the aircraft be a less desirable target - ie, smaller planes carrying 100 people,
            instead of huge 500+ person flying targets. [Yes, there's business challenges, but these
            can be solved]

        + Allow profiling! Heck, stereotypes and prejudices arise for a reason. But don't be stupid
            about it, people still need to be treated as individuals instead of members of a group.
            I'm talking about statistical screening.

        + And heed what Bruce S says - rants - about. Travelers aren't stupid! They know when
            security "practices" are just idiotic and there as feel-good measures. There will be
            much more public support for true, valid security measures, than these idiotic practices
            we see today.

    We CAN solve this problem in a better way! Without trampling our freedoms!

    Re:Due Process? (1)

    ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045173)

    ok so I assume the freedom you're speaking of is protection from illegal search and seizure WHICH would apply if they were smashing in your front door and going through your stuff HOWEVER when you decide to fly just like anyone else you offer to allow them to search you. It honestly can't violate your freedom because you have every right to refuse AKA don't fly... take a car/train/boat. Which you're gonna say BUT I'm going from New York to Hong Kong that would take FOREVER by boat.. and even longer by car :-D ... well then just f'in deal with being searched then... travel sized stuff is cheap... when I fly I don't bring any shampoo/soap/deodorant/other cosmetic products... I just go buy a bunch of little travel sized things when I get there it's under $10 and it avoids a big part of what everyone is complaining about.

    Re:Due Process? (1)

    Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045479)

    Make the aircraft be a less desirable target - ie, smaller planes carrying 100 people, instead of huge 500+ person flying targets. [Yes, there's business challenges, but these can be solved]
    I'd be interested to hear the solutions to the business challenges caused by doing this.

    Bill Maher had it right (4, Insightful)

    christurkel (520220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045077)

    He said, "Can we have another option to fly? We'll call it Fly At Your Own Risk Airlines. We won't screen for anything and you can pay for your tickets five minutes before your flight just like in the old days-1997."

    Re:Bill Maher had it right (3, Funny)

    gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045147)

    '' He said, "Can we have another option to fly? We'll call it Fly At Your Own Risk Airlines. We won't screen for anything and you can pay for your tickets five minutes before your flight just like in the old days-1997." ''

    Can you imagine the hilarity when you find out that the other 199 passengers are carrying bombs as well?

    Re:Bill Maher had it right (2, Insightful)

    chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045387)

    Bill Maher did NOT have it right, he got the premise wrong. They're aren't screening people to protect the others on the plane, which is what his request would address. They're screening people with stuff to physically use the plane itself as a weapon. Are those people in the building they want to crash it into a part of Bill's grand scheme? Did he get waivers from all of them as well?

    Re:Bill Maher had it right (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045545)

    There are likely many, many ways that the money that the TSA costs could
    be more effectively used to prevent planes from being used as weapons.
    Instead, we are funding security theatre.

    This proves the terrorists have won. (3, Insightful)

    MadHungarian (166146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045119)

    "Terrorist - a person who terrorizes or frightens others." http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=terrorist [reference.com] . Looking at all the FUD from the TSA, Homeland Security, and the Airlines. I think the terrorists have accomplished exactly what they want - cause as much disruption in America's (and other countries) as possible.

    Re:This proves the terrorists have won. (1)

    ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045255)

    I can't argue with that... That is absolutely true... however... it raises the question what can we do to fix it? ... just stop searching and act like it never happened just to save pride and say that we didn't lose to the terrorists?

    What I want to know is... (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045143)

    3,000 people have died on American soil this CENTURY from terrorism. Meanwhile, 40,000 people a YEAR die on the highways. Why isn't some of that Homeland Security money going towards safer highways?

    God help you if you're exiting highway I-72 onto 6th street in Springfield in the snow. The speed limit drops from 65 mph to 25 mph on the exit ramp, which is a frightening distance high. God help you if you're on Highway 55 going past that ramp when some drunk goes flying over the embankment on top of your car!

    Do guard rails cost that much?

    Don't get me started on this nation's REAL terrorists - R.J Reynolds [about.com] and Ronald McDonald [womenshear...dation.org] . Ronald kills half a million Americans every single year. Osama must be jealous as hell!

    -a href-"http://www.mcgrew.info

    important transformer question (3, Funny)

    SethJohnson (112166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045205)

    Bruce should have asked him why "Toy Transformer Robots" are included on the Permitted / Banned items list [tsa.gov] , but the threat of actual Trasnformer robots are ignored by the TSA.

    Haven't they seen the documentary [transformersmovie.com] currently playing at theaters across the nation?

    Seth

    3 oz bottles in a 1 quart bag? (0)

    Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20045267)

    Riiight. Like if I wanted to, I couldn't fit some really, REALLY nasty shit that couldn't be mixed from a handful of 3oz bottles that couldn't kill everyone on board an enclosed space of a plane before someone got wise and vented the cabin. Yeah, right.

    Its all for show anyway (2, Interesting)

    PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045455)

    The reason, IMHO, that the TSA isn't "more transparent" is that most of their security measures are just for show and designed to comfort the flying public. I'll admit up front that I'm pissed right now because an airline lost my luggage on a recent flight. But with that aside, this is what I observed:


    Flying from Seattle to Amsterdam on British Airways recently, I watched as their boarding pass barcode scanner went on the fritz. It appeared to be unable to scan about 25% of the E-ticket (printed at home most likely on an empty toner cartridge) passes. They had no backup procedures and simply waved passengers through when their passes didn't scan. I didn't think much of that until they lost my checked bag. Upon filing a claim and attempting to track it through their (practiaclly inoperative) on-line claim system, I realized that they don't have any idea where bags are in ther system. They think they know exactly where it is but seem unable to actually make it appear.


    So, after doing a bit of thinking, I've already come up with several ways of exploiting their systems' flaws to get an unaccompanied suitcase loaded onto an airplane.


    Does anyone care? Nope. As long as we have to take our shoes off (another interesting story there) and subject ourselves to a bunch of pointless searches (yet another story) that make the general public think they are safe, that's all that matters.


    Interesting note: Before the infamous 'shoe bomber' and 'liquid bombers' I purchased a comfortable pair of walking shoes with gel insoles. Since these events, I've worn them (and had them x-rayed) numerous times. Nobody has ever raised an eyebrow.


    Interesting story: A friend of mine was supposed to be across the state to meet some people. Upon attempting to drive, his car quit. Now late and in a panic, he called a local commuter airline and booked a flight at the last minute. After rushing to the airport (SeaTac), he boarded his flight and arrived successfully. Only after all of this he realized that he had just boarded and flown across the state carrying one pistol (he has a carry permit) on his person, plus another and ammunition in his carry-on luggage. Security never noticed anything.

    3 oz liquid (1)

    proadventurer (1071064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20045495)

    1: I worked for DHS (BAO)

    2: I was 18B in the Army

    3: 3 oz of liquid explosives is plenty to make a hole in a airframe (and a lot of other things).

    4: You can see liquid explosives on most of the X-ray machine the TSA uses and all PAX screeners were trained for this since TSA inception. (you can also tell the difference between nail clippers and a knife or gun, but many screeners see metal and immediately call for a bag search)

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