Southwest Airlines surrenders to racists, refuses boarding to Arab-American passengers


After bigots alerted Southwest Airlines ground crew that there were two people speaking Arabic in the boarding area, the airline's employees opted to harass a Palestinian-American pizza-parlor owner and his friend who were returning to Philadelphia from Chicago. Read the rest

San Francisco Airport security screeners charged with complicity in drug-smuggling

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Three screeners working for Covenant Aviation Security -- the TSA contractor that provides government-funded genital massages at SFO -- have been arrested for alleged participation in a scheme to smuggle "real and simulated cocaine" onto planes. Read the rest

America's airlines send planes to El Salvador, China for service by undertrained technicians


If you have your plane fixed in the USA, the FAA requires that your maintenance crew be proficient in English (the language of aviation manuals), and that you admit FAA spot-inspectors at any time. But shift your maintenance to brand new facilities that were hastily spun up El Salvador, China and Mexico, FAA inspectors can only visit after applying for a visa and giving you lots of advance notice. Read the rest

Man flies new jetpack around the Statue of Liberty

For decades, engineer Nelson Tyler has kept the jetpack dream alive, most recently with the company Jetpack Aviation. Above, video of the company's CEO David Mayman flying the latest model, the JB-9 JetPack, over Manhattan.

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Blackmail: Manila airport security's "bullet scam"


Filipino politicians have decried an alleged blackmail scheme by Manila airport security officers, who are said to drop bullets into passengers' luggage and then demand cash payouts to stay out of jail. Read the rest

Gorgeous book of paper airplanes collected by anthropologist Harry Smith


h Brian writes, "Avant-garde film maker and producer of the highly influential Anthology of American Folk Music series Harry Smith was also an avid collector of folk art. This book compiles some 251 paper airplanes Smith collected from off the streets of New York City, along with the date and location at which they were recovered. It's a really beautiful collection." Read the rest

Obama's coming for your Christmas drones


Amid growing fears about safety and security risks from unauthorized drone flights, federal regulators say they plan to require pretty much all recreational drones in the U.S. to be registered. Read the rest

Hands-free, self-saranwrapping toilet at O'Hare Airport


Amir captured this video of O'Hare Airport's hygiene-freakout toilets that automatically and in a hands-free fashion wrap the seat in fresh, germ- and piss-free plastic film between each user. Read the rest

What the barcode on your discarded boarding-pass reveals


Mostly it's your record locator and frequent flier number, but with that, an attacker can access the ticket record, see your future flights, your email address, and the details of the emergency contacts you'd added to the reservation. Read the rest

Anti-surveillance activists send a drone to pamphlet-bomb an NSA complex in Germany


Intelexit is an activist group whose mission is to get spies to quit their jobs; they've recently installed billboards around spy complexes in the US and UK. Read the rest

Air France execs' clothes torn off by protesters after layoff announcement


Protesters angry over proposed layoffs stormed an Air France executive meeting and cornered Director Pierre Plissonnier and Resources Director Xavier Broseta, tearing off the men's jackets and ripping their shirts off, forcing them to scale a fence to get free. Read the rest

Security theater: ha ha, only serious


Adam Conover latest "Adam Ruins Everything" is five depressingly hilarious minutes on aviation security, security theater, privacy, and ritual humiliation, with a guest-appearance by Bruce Schneier. If you didn't laugh, you'd have to cry, although you can always do both, right? Read the rest

Mayor of Stockton, CA detained by DHS at SFO, forced to give up laptop password


Mayor Anthony R. Silva was on his way back from a mayor's conference in China when the DHS border guards confiscated his laptop and phones and detained him, telling him he would not be allowed to leave until he gave them his passwords. He has still not had his devices returned. Read the rest

European court orders airlines to pay compensation for delays from mechanical failures


For years, airlines operating in Europe have had to pay compensation to delayed passengers, unless the delay was an "extraordinary circumstance." Airlines have characterized mechanical failures as extraordinary circumstances, and refused to pay out when their planes weren't working properly. Read the rest

3D print your own TSA Travel Sentry keys and open anyone's luggage


Watch this video on The Scene.

The TSA mandates that all checked luggage must be locked with a deliberately flawed lock that can be opened with one of a handful of skeleton keys that are supposed to be kept secret. It's been more than a year since the TSA allowed a newspaper photographer to print a high-rez photo of its universal luggage-lock keys, allowing any moderately skilled locksmith to create her own set. Ars Technica downloaded a set of key STL files from Github, printed them on a consumer 3D printer, and showed that they could gain entry to any luggage.

It's a model for what happens with any kind of law-enforcement/public safety back door: the universal keys leak and there's no way to re-key all those locks out there in the field. The FBI and UK security services are calling for backdoors in all crypto -- the code we use to protect everything from pacemakers to bank accounts. This is as neat an illustration of why that's a bad idea as you could ask for. Read the rest

Heathrow security insists that ice is a liquid

Simon Perry froze a can of Diet Coke solid and took it through security at London's Heathrow Airport to see whether he could find a loophole in the "no liquids" rule. Read the rest

United CEO and top execs resign over corruption scandal

Jeff Smisek was CEO of Continental and took over United in the 2010 merger and now he and two of his top execs have quit in the midst of a scandal over favor-trading with the NY and NJ Port Authority. Read the rest

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