"On advice of security, we need to take a brief recess," said Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, just as the he was about to call a vote to kill Net Neutrality after ignoring tens of millions of comments from everyday Americans and expert interventions from the internet's inventors and the world's leading technical experts.
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The project of making planes secure from terrorist attacks is an inescapable nonsense: nonsense because there's no way to screen millions of people to prevent a few dedicated ones from bringing down a plane (no, really); inescapable because no lawmaker or policymaker will ever have the courage to remove a measure that has previously been described as "essential for fighting terrorism" even if it was only ever security theater intended to assuage low-information voters.
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The European Court of Justice has ruled that the 2014 EU-Canada passenger name record (PNR) agreement was "incompatible with the fundamental rights recognised by the EU," because the records ("names, travel dates, itineraries, ticket and contact details, travel agents and other information") were used for purposes "beyond what is strictly necessary for the prevention and detection of terrorist offences and serious transnational crime." Read the rest
People flying home from San Diego Comic-Con yesterday got a rude surprise when they spotted signs at the United check-in warning them not to put comics in their checked bags -- and most assumed it was the TSA's doing, a reasonable assumption given that the agency has been repeatedly trialling programs to search passengers' literature for exploding words for some months. Read the rest
Yennifer Correia was at Houston airport waiting for her United flight to a gig with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra when a United gate agent told her she'd have to check her precious, 17th century violin (federal law requires airlines to allow musicians to carry on such instruments). Read the rest
If the Trump administration makes good on its promise to pack all potentially explosive laptops together in a blast-multiplying steel case in the plane's hold, it will be good news for would-be bombers -- and bad news for your data security. Read the rest
The TSA will be testing out expanded screening for carry-on electronics larger than a phone and certain food items at selected airports around the country. The new rules come just two days after a major terrorist attack in Manchester, UK, and stepped-up security in response.
The TSA says they're “testing security screening procedures for carry-on bags at 10 U.S. airports” only, and “There are no changes to nationwide procedures.” Read the rest
The Trumpian trial-balloon on banning laptops in the cabins of planes coming from Europe has put the shits way up the airline industry (rightly), who have published their own (data-free) costings for such a ban: $1B, with $216M for delays, $655M from lost productivity, and $195M for renting airline-supplied devices to use while your laptop is in the cargo hold, awaiting its destiny in one or more of employee theft, gross destruction, or massive lithium-battery fires. Read the rest
Akal Security Inc is the TSA contractor that screens passengers at Kansas City International Airport under a $108m/5 year contract; earlier this month they began abruptly scanning all paper products in carry on luggage, requiring passengers to pull out their books, papers, even post-it notes for secondary inspection. Read the rest
Unnamed "officials briefed on the matter" told Reuters that the Trump administration is planning to ban travelers from bringing their laptops -- and possibly tablets -- in their hand-luggage on flights from Europe, expanding an existing ban that covers 10 middle-eastern airports. Read the rest
Senator Ron Wyden [D-Equestria] sent a letter to the chairs of the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration asking why Senate staffers have been issued ID cards whose "security chips" are just photographs of a chip. Read the rest
The DHS has advised some airlines that flights originating from some overseas airports will only be allowed to land in the USA if passengers are required to check any electronic device bigger than a phone (excepting medical devices) in the hold. Read the rest
If the TSA thinks that you're suspicious -- or if you opt out of the "optional" full-body scanner -- you get a junk-touching "secondary screening" in which the screeners "pat you down" by rubbing the backs of their hands on your genitals and other "sensitive areas" (they can be pretty rough -- a screener at ORD once punched me in the balls to retaliate for me asking him not to rest the tub containing my bags on top of my unprotected laptop). Read the rest
Two CBP officials boarded a Delta flight from New York to SFO after it landed on Wednesday and demanded that passengers show government-issued "documents" before they would be allowed to debark. Read the rest
A huge coalition of human rights groups, trade groups, civil liberties groups, and individual legal, technical and security experts have signed an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security in reaction to Secretary John Kelly's remarks to House Homeland Security Committee earlier this month, where he said the DHS might force visitors to America to divulge their social media logins as a condition of entry. Read the rest
In 2013, the TSA blew $1B on "behavioral detection," which would allegedly train agents to spot potential terrorists by looking for a hilariously stupid list of "tells" including "a bobbing adam's apple," "arriving late," "trembling," "yawning," "excessive throat clearing," "improper attire," "gazing down," and "wide open staring eyes," Also: "being in disguise." Read the rest
Actor Judge Reinhold was flying out of Dallas Love Field on Thursday and his bag set off an "alarm" on a TSA scanner, so security personnel demanded to pat Reinhold down; Reinhold objected that he'd already passed through the naked scanner and didn't believe he should have to get a government-mandated genital massage as well. Police were called and he was arrested. Read the rest