To avoid bag check fees, travelers are routinely opting to carry on their bags, but the TSA says that the cost is just getting shifted to tax payers, to the tune of $260 million a year. That’s because the more bags that don’t get checked, the more bags the TSA has to inspect by hand at security checkpoints. Now the TSA is looking to get a cut of some of the checked baggage fees the airlines collect.
The TSA’s rollout of full-body backscatter scanners at airports hasn’t pleased too many people (other than the manufacturers of said scanners). Now a handful of newly uncovered documents show that the Dept. of Homeland Security has been considering bringing that invasive technology out of the airport and out to the public realm.
A JetBlue flight from JFK Airport to the Dominican Republic was grounded for three hours over the weekend after a flight attendant discovered three boxcutters in the carry-on bag of a passenger — three boxcutters that no one at the security checkpoint seemed to notice.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Security Theatre: An undercover TSA agent was able to slip through the full-body scanners at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a handgun stashed in her undies… And not just once, but five times.
If you’re one of the many travelers who aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of having the intimate details of your anatomy displayed on a monitor at the airport security checkpoint, here’s some promising news. The TSA is testing out an upgrade to some of its full-body scanners that could put an end to incidents like this or this.
Rather than just running a plain ol’ video or audio loop instructing travelers on liquid restrictions and other topics, Manchester Airport in the UK has unveiled a pair of holograms it hopes will speed up the lines at the security checkpoints.
Overzealous airport security prevented a man and his wife from bringing onboard a 3-inch long plastic toy soldier’s gun. They said it was a “firearm” and forced the couple to mail it home before passing through security.
Lists of which airports have installed the controversial backscatter screening devices are one thing, but they’re not actually super-useful. An airport might have the screener on site, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually “backscatting” with it. It could be gathering dust or just for hanging coats on.
American citizen with free time declines both backscatter scan and patdown upon re-entering country, ends up being able to walk through security without doing either even after cops are called. [NO BLASTERS!]
TSA head makes ad explaining why there’s nothing to fear. Message belied by ominous grey background. [YouTube]
Reporter goes through pat-down to show us how easy it is. “He uses the back of his hand to check the front of my groin area.” [KDAF]
An “I’ll be groped for Christmas” holiday jingle. [YouTube]
Man opts for third choice: stripping down to his skivvies. Is then arrested and walked through two terminals in his underwear. [NBC San Diego]
SNL reimagines TSA as a sexy 80’s hookup company. [Hulu]
Man with a bladder bag says a TSA patdown left him humiliated and soaked in urine. [MSNBC]
Video of frustrated father ripping shirt off shy son so TSA can complete search. [YouTube]
Video of 3-year old girl screaming and writhing during TSA patdown. Her teddy being taken away and going through the x-ray seemed to have set her off. [KGTV]
Airport opt-out day is imbecilic. [Slate]
TSA bumper stickers. “It’s not a grope, it’s a freedom pat.” [Althouse]
There has been quite the cubic ton of stories this past week or so written about the TSA security procedures, the backlash to them, and the backlash-backlash. It’s hard to keep up with them all. So, to keep you sounding smart and making up-to-the-minute references, security guru Bruce Schneier has a massive, yet accessible, link roundup. Keep those wingtips up!
CBS says the have a poll that shows Americans overwhelmingly support full body “naked” scanners at airports, despite what some “civil rights groups” have to say about them.
“We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance,” the TSA officer told Atlantic reporter after he declined a back-scatter. “Resistance?” asked the reporter. “Your testicles,” explained the officer.
Fed up with being forced to repeatedly walk through a metal detector even though he wasn’t carrying any bombs, a man decided to find an alternate way to get through airport security.
Like it or not, advanced imaging technology (AIT)–capable of producing highly detailed pics of your naked body–is expanding rapidly throughout U.S. airports. Last month, there were at least 142 AIT units deployed in eleven airports, but by the end of the year that will jump to more than 450 nationwide, spread across at least forty airports (see full list below). The TSA has tried to downplay privacy issues by saying that the units won’t save images, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t. In fact, the U.S. Marshals Service in Florida says they’ve got over 35,000 AIT scans of people saved. They also say that an AIT unit tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse was sent back to the manufacturer with images still stored on it.
If you’ve been wondering how much of your body airport full-body scanners actually do reveal, a recent TSA training session in Miami shows the answer: enough for your co-workers to mock the size of your genitals. The target of the mockery eventually found it unbearable, and police say that he “could not take the jokes anymore and lost his mind,” attacking one of his colleagues in the parking lot. He was arrested for aggravated battery.