The rest of the world tends to look askance at the way that we here in the US handle airport security. Many of the measures we take are pure “security theatre,” reacting to the last terrorist scheme (exploding shoes, bombs in underwear) that we happened to catch. Checking electronics seems to be a good idea, although the lithium ion batteries in non terrorist devices seem to be more likely to bring a plane down than a booby trapped phone or laptop. Even this, though, may be giving us a false sense of security as terrorists are working to better hide explosives in electronics.
Here’s a pretty funny take on all of this from Australian comedian Jim Jeffries. Warning: it is very sweary, so don’t watch if that kind of thing offends you.
Now, I’m not saying that we should do away with the TSA or many of the security checks it performs. One look at their Instagram account of things taken away from people at security checkpoints is enough proof of that.
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This looks like something out of a Mad Max movie. It’s as if Mad Max wanted to paint the Thunderdome with the blood of his enemies. It’s a paint roller wrapped in sandpaper and wire with nails protruding. This was discovered earlier in 2017 in a carry-on bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), but I just acquired a picture of it today.
What is needed is a more people focused type of security – looking for patterns in ticket purchases, travel, and behavior before and during travel to spot people with bad intentions rather than the specific weapons they use – they have all the time in the world to come up with new and better ways to evade the technical security measures, but like in information security, the real detection gold is to be found in human behavior.