"Like Lord of the Flies": working at the TSA really sucks

A new report summarizing three years of investigationsfrom the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the TSA calls out the agency for its "toxic leadership culture, misconduct, mismanagement, whistleblower retaliation and obstruction," citing these as the reason for the agency's 20% annual attrition rates. Read the rest

Wanting It Badly Is Not Enough: Real Problems For Creators Deserve Real Solutions

As the European Parliament prepares for tomorrow's vote on the new Copyright Directive with its provisions requiring mass-scale filtering of all public communications to check for copyright infringement (Article 13) and its provisions requiring paid permission to link to the news if you include as little as two words from the headline in your link text (Article 11), a dismaying number of "creators groups" are supporting it, telling their members that this will be good for them and their flagging financial fortunes. Read the rest

Airport "security" trays are filthy reservoirs of infectious agents

In Deposition of respiratory virus pathogens on frequently touched surfaces at airports, published in BMC Infectious Diseases, a University of Nottingham team reveal that the airport security trays they swabbed in the Helsinki airport contained more infectious agents than the airport's toilets. Read the rest

TSA + CBP test new facial recognition tech & computed tomography scanners at LAX

A new facial recognition technology screening system will soon be used on some travelers who pass through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Read the rest

Just before the FCC's cowardly vote to kill Net Neutrality, they had to evacuate due to "security advice"

"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. Read the rest

Behold! The astonishing mental gymnastics of TSA apologists explaining why rich people don't need to be screened

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. Read the rest

EU's highest court strikes down passenger data-sharing arrangement with Canada

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

TSA says it doesn't know why United thought comics were banned from checked Comic-Con luggage

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

United insisted a passenger check her 17th C violin, then a supervisor got into a "wrestling match" with her

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

Opsec for a world where the laptop ban goes global

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

TSA to require some electronics out of bags at 10 U.S. airports starting Memorial Day weekend

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

Airline lobby group claims a laptop ban would cost $1B

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

That time the TSA started screening all paper products separately

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

Trump plans ban on laptops in the cabins of flights from Europe

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

Senate staffers issued ID cards whose "security chips" turn out to be just pictures of a chip

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

DHS bans laptops in the cabins of flights from 10 airports

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

TSA's new "pat-downs" are so invasive, airports are pre-emptively warning cops to expect sexual assault claims

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

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