Mark Frauenfelder at 3:28 pm Wed, Jul 18, 2012
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Two clippings from an attractive infographic that presents a great deal of damning information about the TSA.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His latest book is Made by Hand: My Adventures in the World of DIY
Yé-Yé Girls of '60s French Pop
Simplifiers and Optimizers, by Dilbert creator Scott Adams
Loathing of the TSA is the one thing all Americans can agree on, left or right.
Oh and look, they also want to rage against Americans getting rich on “Food Stamps”…
Oh boy. They must be Libertarians.
Didn’t you get suspicious when they suggested, towards the end of the infographic, that Ron Paul’s “privatise the TSA” notion was the solution? With a dose of particularly dubious statistics about the private security option, no less.
I gotta say, from a British perspective, whenever I hear “privatisation is cheaper and more effective!”, I think of our public transport (privatised because “it’ll be cheaper and more effective”, now far more expensive and less effective while executives take home huge bonuses), our utilities (likewise), etc etc…
The usual ploy seems to be to lowball your bid for the government contract (as in the aforementioned dodgey stats), then, when you inevitably run out of money, cry “give us more! If you don’t, we’ll go bust, and you’ll have to get someone else in, who’ll do exactly the same thing again!”
Privatization certainly can make things cheaper and more effective, but it has to be real privatization, i.e. with some mechanism for actual competition at the consumer level. Government contracts often amount to government-enforced monopolies owned by private individuals, which is the worst of both worlds.
Okay, I’ll grant you that. I don’t see very many opportunities for that, though — most things for which actual competition for consumers is possible are already operated privately & competetively.
For instance, for my examples of public transport & utilities, we ended up with a bunch of de facto local monopolies (added bonus: privatised profits, socialised losses); and I find it unlikely that the same could be avoided with privatising transport security.
I didn’t see anything against the people on food stamps in that infographic. It’s just statistics. It could be used to indicate that the state of the country has worsened since so many more people are on foodstamps than before.
It could be used to indicate that the state of the country has worsened since so many more people are on foodstamps than before.
I thought so at first too, but it went out of it’s way to focus on *spending* rather than number of impoverished eligible citizens which makes me think of different motives. There are more recipients because more formerly financially stable Americans have slid into real poverty, not because “spending” has increased or because benefits have gotten more generous. Of course this an issue where “liberals” completely lose sight of everything and find themselves acting like right wing fanatics, so who knows…
I think it’s more indicative of the backwards trends. We’re trying to help these people, yet it’s becoming increasingly cost prohibitive to do so. Should things continue, the question must be asked of who shall provide the welfare. Welfare is sustainable so long as enough of a population is employed.
Perhaps if the us didn’t spend as much on offense as the next 26 nations combined, this wouldn’t be such an issue?
”Next 26 nations combined” is a bad way to look at it. We do spend way too much on the military, but the number is more like “twice or three times as much” as most other nations, since per capita or per GDP is a better way to look at it.
After all, similarly if you look at how much we spend on food stamps, it should be looked at on the basis of per capita (and taking food prices into account), not total spending.
There’s plenty enough money for a safety net, you’re manufacturing a problem.
OO-ooooh, pretty pictures of terrible things. I read Jonathan Fetter-Vorm’s “Trinity” yesterday http://www.amazon.com/Trinity-Graphic-History-First-Atomic/dp/0809094681/ and I think the atomic bomb is ahead in the worst things ever category but TSA definitely ranks in the top-1000.
One thing for sure: do not let the TSA get nuclear weapons.
If the terrorists know to hide it on their side, we’ll be fine.
Great infographic, apart from the conclusion at the end. I fail to see how privatising the invasion of privacy makes it any less of an imposition. As far as I can see that would result in big players getting into the market and lobbying government for more security measures and subsidy.
yeah, they had me until the end. ”this thing is invasive, ineffective and expensive” ”Lets make it less expensive.”
That is what I thought as well. It was the private security that got us into this mess in the first place. Turning port security over to the McCops on minimum wage and no training again is NOT the solution.
The biggest problem I saw with the forming of the TSA was that it was unneccessary. It would have been easier to expand the powers of the US Border Patrol or the Coast Guard to include airports – the German Bundesgranzschutz for example always impressed me with their professionalism and efficiency.
What we need is not more toys and more searches, but better training and better pay. Screeners need to feel pride in their job and we need to ensure competence. Quality, not quantity.
Double like this!
We all need a sound retort to the insipid blather about privatizing and yours is spot on.
I guess you didn’t see the TSA pay scale that was on BB a week or so ago. TSA agents are paid quite well, with good benefits. It’s the poor training, lack of transparency in procedures, inconsistency in application of “rules”, and the nature of the work that are impediments to competent screeners.
”the German Bundesgranzschutz for example always impressed me with their professionalism and efficiency.”
Does it affect your conclusion that the German airport security has been outsource to public-private partnerships since 1995 or so?
Well, it was a flirtation during the Kohl years, but the WTC attack in 2001 was a sea change, as well as the revealation that private security was not the cost saver it was lauded as.
I fly out of Munich regularly, and the Bundespolizei (the reformed BGS) are still in control there, using a layered security model with screening, passport control and patrols inside and out of the secure area.
If you had private security then couldn’t you sue when they violated your rights?
Private security companies would get a legal exemption from lawsuits. Haven’t you noticed that every single American in Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iraq has diplomatic immunity?
Here’s an argument against:
If security were run by the airports (and airlines), then it would pay attention primarily to the desires of travelers. Travelers overwhelmingly are more concerned about the impositions of the TSA, and would demand less stringent security. Polls overwhelmingly show that the more people fly, the less that they like the TSA and the more that they think that the security measures are theater. The TSA is as strict as it is because of people who *never fly* supporting tough measures that impose costs on people who do.
If you think that security needs to be as tight as it is, or close to it, and you fear terrorists getting through, then you should support a government security system, so that the (in your mind) short-sighted air travelers won’t be able to insist on less security.
OTOH, if you think that we have too much security, taking the government and the non-flying voters out of the equation should decrease it.
Given that the frontpage of “floorgem.com”, the site hosting the infographic, has nothing to do with civil liberties, isn’t this just SEO greyhat linkbaiting?
Abolish the TSA. Legalize Weed. Everyone’s life will be considerably better.
You obviously don’t live in Kansas.
They smoke weed in Kansas. Hell the stuff grows wild out there.
Wow. The TSA is annoying and stupid, but it’s only “the worst thing ever made by mankind” to extremely privileged people who’ve never suffered anything worse in their lives than inconvenience at an airport.
Step aside, Holocaust!
That was my reaction as well. It certainly doesn’t help that Auschwitz is unusually on my mind since Laszlo Csatary’s arrest earlier, but the particular flippancy of this title leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Yeah, the “worst thing ever made by mankind” is _seriously_ offputting. Take a look outside your happy comfortable living, or grab a history book. How on earth does TSA come even _close_ to “worst thing”? I would put systematic poverty as a “thing” in the US above TSA, if you want something close, or systematic racism. Or to up the ante, how about North Korea? Heck, any dictatorship. Pol Pot? Hitler? People dying in refugee camps due to food and clean water shortages (I count that as a “thing”, too)? But no… TSA is the worst of all????
Sounds like for you guys, Godwin’s Law is the worst thing ever made by humankind.
Humourous hyperbole! Noooooo!
Mark, you’re the bomb.
However, this infographic appears associated with this unpleasant trend:
Just in case you didn’t know. I’m actually investigating them.
Interesting. I hope to hear more, especially since the link you posted doesn’t make clear what the “scam” really is for. Ad revenue? Google pageranks?
(of course, the laughable suggestion that the U.S. outsource the TSA might be scam enough)
from tfa: “So what’s going on is social-sourced link farming,” DL Byron writes. “By putting out a cool graphic that illustrates a popular topic, they’re getting juice from bloggers blogging it and twitter users’ retweets — also the comments you’d expect on their posts. How Google search results are returned is determined, in part, but how many incoming links a site has. If you’re linking to it, you’re getting gamed.”
Which instantly makes me wonder how accurate the figures in the infographic are.
I’ve been retweeting TSA abuses for quite awhile now. Not sure if it helps with fighting back, but I do have NTARC as a Follower *laughs*
Interesting infographic, but the suggestion that the end-all solution is privatization is ludicrous.
Because it’s pretty clear that the end result would be… the TSA with EVEN LESS accountability. Gee, I can’t wait.
Do we get to privatize all of our schools and fire departments, too?!?!
Actually there were. Until the 20th century, both schooling fire service were mostly “privatized” and doing that again would be a step BACKWARDS.
“In the 19th century, the practice of fire brigades refusing to put out fires in buildings that were uninsured led to the demand of central command for fire companies.”
“…the Cranick family watched their house burn to the ground while firefighters refused to put out the flames. The local fire department in question apparently stood firm to their policy that residents must pay $75 if they want protection.”
So if you want to say “privatize the fire department” BITE YOUR TONGUE.
Clearly this graphic was produced by those who would profit from the privatisation.
So a government program, intended to solve a real problem, becomes bloated, wasteful, and ineffective? Gosh, that’s never happened before!
More TSA fail
the scanner I went through recently in Atlanta could see the boarding pass in my pocket… with your hands over your head, I find it doubtful that they would miss anything… that being said, dismantle the agency!
As a European I do find the American loathing for the TSA kind of strange. Perhaps they over-react a little, but you had one of the world’s worst terrorist attacks because American airline secuity was laughable.
And it was. In 1997 I passed through two sets of airline screening with knives in my hand luggage. They were spotted, remarked upon, allowed into the plane. I’d packed them by mistake, but knives. In a plane.
I think you’ll find that America suffered one of the world’s worst terrorist attacks because the cockpit doors weren’t secure, and because the passengers didn’t fight back — they thought they were hostages, so believed they were safer if they didn’t try anything.
Nowadays, you could try to hijack a plane with… say… two other guys, all of you with assault rifles, and probably still be overwhelmed by hordes of passengers rushing you down — because they’d think that if they didn’t fight back you’d kill them all. And even if you didn’t get taken out by the passengers, the crew would not open that locked, reinforced cockpit door for you.
All other recent “airline security” measures are unnecessary, and many of them (like, say, the TSA) are actively harmful.
The problem is that the TSA increases safety and security by exactly 0.00000%. There can be a reasonable debate about how much freedom, privacy, and convenience one can give up in return for less violence, but to give up dignity and billions in taxes for government ego and defence contractor profits? No thanks.
On the one hand, a privatized TSA probably would never have bought the scanners, so that’s a plus at least.
On the other, at least the gropers have a union and a living wage. And I wouldn’t begrudge them that. We’re getting groped either way.
The most effective way to determine the proper level of funding for the TSA is to make a sliding scale which is multiplied by the number of terrorists successfully caught or plots stopped by the TSA.
So, to start, multiply the current number of terrorists caught by the TSA, which currently stands at: ZERO, then…
Why do you hate America, Mark?
easy way to save budget $$ !!! SECURITY THEATRE , but it is neither good security , nor good theatre !! although it does provide content for humourists and boing and lite news ~
I’d like to think that an angry cyclops with multiple knives would be intercepted without the need for scanners. Or is that racial profiling?
Is it really an infoGRAPHIC when almost all the useful information is in text boxes and the graphics are more like satirical commentary?
Has no one caught on that this is a repost from April?
(Oddly, it only got 27 comments that time.)
You beat me by 2 minutes!
The font page should be mandatory reading for all editors :)
Five quid to the first person that can provide credible evidence that someone employed by the TSA pulled down a salary of $5.4 million.
I call B.S.
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