F*cking cops cracking down on curse words

[Video Link] Here's Reason TV's Net Nanny of the month award:

June's busybodies want to shield your eyes from bikinis and remind you that they're not above ripping your garden out (even if you are complying with city codes).

But top dishonors go to the police chief who admitted on camera that his officers had "more important things to do," but still championed a measure that fines folks for swearing in public.

Presenting Reason.tv's Nanny of the Month for June 2012: Middleborough, Massachusetts Police Chief Bruce Gates!

Bikini Banners and F*cking Cops Cracking Down on Curse Words! Read the rest

Immigration and Customs Enforcement intelligence chief James M. Woosley pleads guilty to massive fraud

After we learned this week about how rotten the DEA and TSA are, we can also add Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the list of corrupt government entities: "James M. Woosley, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intelligence chief, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to an elaborate scam over several years involving false travel expense reports totaling nearly $600,000."

Today James Woosley became the fifth — and highest-ranking — individual to plead guilty as part of a series of fraud schemes among rogue employees and contractors at ICE,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said in a statement. “He abused his sensitive position of trust to fleece the government by submitting phony paperwork for and taking kickbacks from subordinates who were also on the take.”

(Via The Agitator) Read the rest

Screwed by the TSA? Now there's an app for that.

Via the BB Submitterator, BB reader rbrammer says:

The Sikh Coalition just released the FlyRights app. It’s a smart phone app that gives travelers who believe they’ve been the victim of discrimination by the TSA the ability to submit formal complaints directly from their smart phones.

You should have this on your phone the next time you fly!

Available for both Android and iOS. Makes perfect sense to me that a Sikh organization would be the one to put this together, given all of the idiot-hate that community has received post-9/11. Read the rest

TSA agents discover "anomaly in crotch area" of 79-year-old woman

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic reports that his 79-year-old mother-in-law triggered a TSA pornoscanner at Washington Reagan airport last week, and was then asked by a TSA officer to explain what was the matter with her crotch:

She entered the machine and struck the humiliating pose one is forced to strike -- hands up, as in an armed robbery -- and then walked out, when she was asked by a TSA agent, in a voice loud enough for several people to hear, "Are you wearing a sanitary napkin?"

Remember, she's 79.

My mother-in-law answered, "No. Why do you ask?"

The TSA agent responded: "Well, are you wearing anything else down there?"

Yes, "down there."

She said no, at which point, the friend with whom she was traveling, also a not-young volunteer library advocate, came over and asked if there was a problem.

The TSA agent said, again, in full voice, "There's an anomaly in the crotch area."

This is, of course, a painful post for me to write. Like most normal American men, I don't want to see the words "my mother-in-law" and "crotch area" in the same paragraph. But let me go on anyway.

My mother-in-law said, "As far as I know I don't have any anomalies in the crotch area."

The TSA agent told her she would have to go through the scanner again. She demurred, saying she didn't like the machine very much. The agent told her she could opt for a pat-down. My mother-in-law refused to be frisked, figuring, correctly, that "they were going to pat-down my crotch area.

Read the rest

TSA Blog boasts of nabbing soup smuggler

Our close personal friend at the TSA, Blogger Bob, gave a rundown of prohibited items confiscated by his fellow officers on the front lines of the War on Terror.

Concealed Knife – A knife was found zip-tied to the inner workings of a bag handle at Cedar Rapids (CID). Clever, but no match for our officers and technology.

Chicken Soup for Your Pants? – Officers found a can of soup in a Las Vegas passenger’s carry-on bag. When told that it couldn’t go through because of the liquids rule (it was more than 3.4 ounces), the passenger said they would put the soup in their checked baggage. But when the passenger returned to the checkpoint, officers saw that the passenger had tried to hide the soup in their pants. No soup for them.

Derringer in a Dopp Kit – A Derringer was found amongst everyday toiletry items in a dopp kit at San Diego (SAN). I don’t think you could trim your nails, but I bet you could knick yourself if you shaved with it.

Stun Pen – I’ve often heard that the pen can be mightier than the sword. Well, in this case that statement is pretty close to being true. A stun-pen was found on a passenger at Chicago Midway (MDW).

Bad Kitty – Known as a black cat, or cat eyes, this seemingly harmless kitty cat becomes a punching weapon when your fingers are inserted in its eyes. It's cute little pointy cat ears are designed to puncture and rip flesh.

Read the rest

TSA gets Bruce Schneier booted from House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing

Bruce Schneier was invited to testify about the TSA to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, but at the last minute he was disinvited, after the TSA objected to having him in the room.

On Friday, at the request of the TSA, I was removed from the witness list. The excuse was that I am involved in a lawsuit against the TSA, trying to get them to suspend their full-body scanner program. But it's pretty clear that the TSA is afraid of public testimony on the topic, and especially of being challenged in front of Congress. They want to control the story, and it's easier for them to do that if I'm not sitting next to them pointing out all the holes in their position. Unfortunately, the committee went along with them. (They tried to pull the same thing last year and it failed -- video at the 10:50 mark.)

The committee said it would try to invite me back for another hearing, but with my busy schedule, I don't know if I will be able to make it. And it would be far less effective for me to testify without forcing the TSA to respond to my points.

Congressional Testimony on the TSA

(Thanks, Bruce!) Read the rest

Bruce Schneier and former TSA boss Kip Hawley debate air security on The Economist

The Economist is hosting a debate between Bruce Schneier and former TSA honcho Kip Hawley, on the proposition "This house believes that changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good." I'm admittedly biased for Bruce's position (he's for the proposition), but it seems to me that no matter what your bias, Schneier totally crushed Hawley in the opening volley. The first commenter on the debate called Hawley's argument "post hoc reasoning at its most egregious," which sums it all up neatly.

Here's a bit of Schneier:

Let us start with the obvious: in the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on America on September 11th 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single terrorist. Its own "Top 10 Good Catches of 2011" does not have a single terrorist on the list. The "good catches" are forbidden items carried by mostly forgetful, and entirely innocent, people—the sorts of guns and knives that would have been just as easily caught by pre-9/11 screening procedures. Not that the TSA is expert at that; it regularly misses guns and bombs in tests and real life. Even its top "good catch"—a passenger with C4 explosives—was caught on his return flight; TSA agents missed it the first time through.

In previous years, the TSA has congratulated itself for confiscating home-made electronics, alerting the police to people with outstanding misdemeanour warrants and arresting people for wearing fake military uniforms. These are hardly the sorts of things we spend $8 billion annually for the TSA to keep us safe from.

Read the rest

TSA searches body-casted three-year-old in a wheelchair

Here's a video of a Chicago TSA operative searching a three year old boy who is in a wheelchair, wearing a body-cast, on the way to his family trip to Disney World. The boy's parents were not allowed to hold him or touch him to comfort him during the procedure.

A toddler in a wheelchair is stopped by the TSA at ORD (O'Hare Airport in Chicago) and forced to into a sequestered area. On his way to a family vacation in Disney, this 3 year old boy is in a body cast for a broken leg. Despite assurances from his father that "everything is ok", he is physically trembling with fear while he watches his two siblings, mother, father, grandfather and grandmother pass through along with everyone else...only to be singled out.

TSA Nabs Suspected Al Queda Terrorist At O'Hare International Airport, A toddler in a wheelchair

(via Reddit) Read the rest

TSA Precheck: $100 application fee to skip the song and dance

The TSA has announced a new program rolling out at a few airports that allows selected customers to skip the security lines by checking in at a kiosk and going through a nominal screening, but only after they've paid a $100 application fee and been approved through a background check. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out expedited screening at big airports called "Precheck." It has special lanes for background-checked travelers, who can keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and walk through a metal detector rather than a full-body scan. The process, now at two airlines and nine airports, is much like how screenings worked before the Sept. 11 attacks.

To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's "Global Entry" program can transfer into Precheck using their Global Entry number.

 I can't quite decide whether this is the TSA finally getting their shit together to put things back to normal with some intelligent screening practices that inexplicably can't be covered by the same budget that bought all those scanners, or if it's boldly admitting to the world that it's all been a horrific charade. Let's see what the TSA blog has to say about it:

 

Are you all "rararar why is this gif here i don't understand humor"? Here's a thorough explanation. Read the rest

ACLU fights Kafkaesque secret Occupy Boston Twitter subpoena

The ACLU of Massachusetts is representing an anonymous Twitter user who has been targetted by an Assistant DA who is trying to build a case related to Occupy Boston; the court and the ADA have sealed the proceedings, so no one -- not even some of the ACLU staff working on the case -- is allowed to know what is going on:

I had gone to court to listen to our legal team argue a case to protect the First Amendment rights of our client, Twitter user @p0isAn0n, aka Guido Fawkes. That user, who wishes to remain anonymous throughout the proceedings, was the target of a Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney’s administrative subpoena to Twitter, dated December 14, 2011. As we wrote last week, the subpoena asked Twitter to hand over @p0isAn0n’s subscriber information, including our client’s IP address, which can be used to help track down someone’s physical residence...

The known knowns: the scrum of lawyers, defense and prosecution, addressed the judge. I saw the judge speak to the lawyers. Then I saw our attorneys return to their bench, closer to where I was sitting, out of earshot of the sidebar. But the ADA stayed with the judge. He spoke to her, with his back to the courtroom, for about ten minutes. Our attorneys didn’t get to hear what he said to her, didn’t have a chance to respond to whatever the government was saying about our client, about the case. It was frankly shocking.

After those ten minutes of secret government-judge conversation, our attorneys were invited back to the sidebar, whereupon the scrum of lawyers spoke with the judge for another ten or fifteen minutes.

Read the rest

Welsh nightclubs to fingerprint customers

Clubgoers in South Wales are to be fingerprinted, with the resulting biometric data to be retained indefinitely. The scheme is "voluntary" -- unless local councils make it a licensing condition for clubs. Gerry Shy notes, "The march to sleeping submission of our biometric data to anyone and everyone who can invent a security/convenience justification continues. So many familiar elements here: think of the convenience; we can change mindsets..."

Mr Newman, whose forum represents about 100 premises in the city, said the benefits of digital ID scheme were "many and varied".

In addition to identifying fake identify documents, information could be shared between venues about people who have been banned, he said.

He said: "Commercially, you benefit from a reduction in people trying to get in underage, if they are using someone else's ID.

"As word spreads, people will know they are easily identified if they are associated with an incident of disorder.

"If you have less trouble, that's good for business."

South Wales Police back fingerprinting for clubbers Read the rest