United pilot orders Arab-American family off his flight for "safety"

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Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley, her husband, and their three small children were removed from a United Airlines flight prior to takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare airport, after the pilot said they posed a threat to the plane's safety. Read the rest

Flying while trans: still unbelievably horrible

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Cary Gabriel Costello is a trans-man in Milwaukee. Two-thirds of the time when he flies, the TSA has a complete freakout over the "anomalies" his body displays on the full-body scanner. Read the rest

An ode to TSA screeners

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David writes, "TSA is out of control. We made a video compilation of some of TSA's greatest hits." Read the rest

Airport full-body scanners no longer optional, if the TSA screener doesn't like you

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At their sole discretion, and without any public guidelines, TSA agents can now opt you back into the full-body scanner, even if you opt out. Read the rest

Beard club members taking a selfie were mistaken for terrorists by Swedish police

Beard club members at their photoshoot. [Bearded Villians/YouTube]

Swedish police swarmed on this gentlemanly beard club who were taking a group photo, because the cops received a call from a worried onlooker who believed the group was a a terrorist meet-up. It was not ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda, or anything like that. Just a meeting of a beard enthusiast club. Wonder if the ending would have been as mellow if they hadn't all been white guys.

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TSA says it will sue woman who tried to bring apple butter on plane

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In 2003, the TSA fined Mary Hostein of Michigan for trying to take a a jar of apple butter through airport security.

When an agent told Hostein that the spread was a liquid, and therefore subject to the TSA's 3-ounce limit, she went to another line to see if the TSA agent stationed there was just as stupid as the first. He was, and Hostein was issued a $2,000 fine. She doesn't think she should pay it. The TSA says they are going to sue her.

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Security theater: ha ha, only serious

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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

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

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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

Things to add to your building lobby's CCTV warning

Someone in JWZ's building put up a "THIS BUILDING IS MONITORED BY CLOSED-CIRCUIT CAMERAS" sign in the lobby where only the residents and their guests go, so he's been updating it with messages like "FEAR THE UNKNOWN - MONSTERS ARE REAL." Read the rest

Make your own TSA universal luggage keys

The image above, published in 2014 in this Herald.net story and credited to The Washington Post, showed the keying patterns for all of the TSA-complaint "Travel Sentry" luggage locks. Read the rest

Regal promises security-theater bag-searches in America's largest cinema chain

Going to the movies is getting airportified: your knapsacks, bags and purses will be searched on the way in to stop you from carrying in guns that you don't stick in your waistband or in a shoulder-holster. Read the rest

Airport security confiscates three year old's fart gun

The eagle-eyed aviation security humans at Dublin Airport prevented a desperate toddler from boarding a flight while in possession of a Despicable Me Fart Blaster: "We don’t make the rules but we apply the rules consistently." (via Lowering the Bar) Read the rest

New pornoscanners are also useless, cost $160 million

The new generation of millimeter-wave body scanners from the convicted war-criminals at L-3 were supposed to replace the useless, expensive backscatter radiation machines from Rapiscan with a more robust, less privacy invasive alternative. Read the rest

TSA supervisor calls police on teen for videoing his father's pat-down

A 16-year-old boy was prohibited from video-recording his own pat-down at New Orleans airport -- something explicitly allowed by the TSA -- and when he recorded his father's pat-down, the TSA supervisor at his checkpoint called the police on him. Read the rest

TSA airport checkpoints STILL miss 95% of weapons in smuggling tests

As has been the case since the agency's inception, its agents missed the overwhelming majority of "red team" attempts to smuggle weapons past its checkpoints: 67 out of 70 this time. Read the rest

Pornoscanner lobbyist's new job: overseeing TSA spending

Christopher Romig was the top lobbyist for the aptly named Rapiscan, but now he's got a better gig: staffer for the House Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee, which controls the TSA's spending. Read the rest

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