Saturday, December 29, 2007

Security theater: airport liquid dumps

A wonderful example of what Bruce Schneier calls "security theater". I admit, I hadn't realized how ridiculously stupid the liquid disposal bins are:
The Airport Security Follies - New York Times Blog

...At every concourse checkpoint you’ll see a bin or barrel brimming with contraband containers taken from passengers for having exceeded the volume limit. Now, the assumption has to be that the materials in those containers are potentially hazardous. If not, why were they seized in the first place? But if so, why are they dumped unceremoniously into the trash? They are not quarantined or handed over to the bomb squad; they are simply thrown away. The agency seems to be saying that it knows these things are harmless. But it’s going to steal them anyway, and either you accept it or you don’t fly...
My experience is that airport security people act as though the feds "jumped the shark" with the liquid ban. Security staff do their best to ignore the whole thing.

I've never been asked to pull out liquids when I forget and leave them in my toiletry kit. On the other hand there's a 40% interception rate when I forget and leave my tiny swiss army knife in my backpack. In both cases I think the contraband shows up on the scanner, but security staff are smarter than their political bosses. They've decided to spend their resources sensibly.

Incidentally, my question for the next candidate "debate" is: "will you eliminate the meaningless "orange alert" status?". We might as well go to a "normal" and "red" alert status, where red means it's time to evacuate the airport and ground the airplanes.

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