Artist celebrates Patriot Act's anniversary by handing out "Official Air Travel Replacement Knives" to arriving SFO passengers

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Last week, artist Michelle Pred celebrated the anniversary of the Patriot Act by dressing up as an old-timey Pan Am flight attendant (she wore her mother's old Pan Am hat!) and handing out "Official Air Travel Replacement Knives" to people waiting for their bags at SFO (she had 50 knives, but it took more than 50 tries to give them away, as more than half of the people she approached refused to engage with her). Read the rest

Aviation's war on moisture turns ten today

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Ten years ago, British domestic security claimed to have caught a terrorist cell that had planned to blow up airplanes with a gel they'd carry on in a Gatorade bottle and detonate with an Ipod. Read the rest

Airport lounges will let anyone in, provided you can fake a QR code

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When computer security expert and hardcore traveller Przemek Jaroszewski found that he couldn't enter an airline lounge in Warsaw because the automated reader mistakenly rejected his boarding card, he wrote a 600-line Javascript program that generated a QR code for "Batholemew Simpson," a business-class traveller on a flight departing that day. Read the rest

Congress: TSA is worst place to work in USG, nearly half of employees cited for misconduct; it's getting worse

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The House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff Report has just published its investigation on aviation security, and the title really tells you everything you need to know: MISCONDUCT AT TSA THREATENS THE SECURITY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC. Read the rest

Paralyzed, partially deaf-blind teen with brain tumor beaten bloody by TSA

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Hannah Cohen is a 19 year old who is being treated for a brain tumor at Memphis's St Jude's Hospital, who is "partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and easily confused" -- and who was subjected to a violent beating during a secondary TSA screening while flying home to Chatanooga, TN for the holidays.

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Airport security officer was alleged war criminal, arrested for lying about participation in "genocidal acts" (UPDATED)

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Yusuf Abdi Ali, a former Somali national army commander, is a pretty famous alleged war criminal, someone who's been profiled on major news media, deported from Canada over a failed claim of refugee status, arrested in the USA for lying about his participation in "genocidal acts" on his visa applications, currently embroiled in a lawsuit with someone who claims Ali tortured and shot him -- and now he works as a private airport security officer at DC's Dulles airport. Read the rest

TSA head of security 'removed from his position'

Kelly Hoggan, former head of security for TSA.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration asked its head of security to turn in his badge and bright blue gloves. Kelly Hoggan has been 'removed from his post.'

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Phoenix airport threatens to kick out TSA, hire private (unaccountable) contractors

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The administrators of the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport are apparently considering getting rid of the TSA and replacing them with private contractors, similar to the setup at San Francisco International Airport. Read the rest

TSA lines grow to 3 hours, snake outside the terminals, with no end in sight

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The TSA gambled on millions of wealthy Americans opting out of its pornoscanner-and-shoe-removal process and signing up for its Precheck policy, which allows travellers to pay for the "privilege" of walking through a metal-detector with their shoes on, while their laptops stay in their bags. Read the rest

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

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