{ thinking out loud about the things i care about }

Posts Tagged ‘security theatre’

Airport Security Theatre Linkspam

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

So! Security Theatre continues:

  • TheStar.com asks how can we make our airports more like Israel’s, which handles far greater terror threats with far less inconvenience. “At Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, screening is done in 30 minutes.” The basic gist? Training airport security and personnel what a suspicious person actually looks and behaves like, and having them look for — WHAT A CONCEPT — that.

    “But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America,” Sela said.

    “First, it’s fast – there’s almost no line. That’s because they’re not looking for liquids, they’re not looking at your shoes. They’re not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you,” said Sela. “Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes … and that’s how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys.”

    This kind of behavioral profiling I don’t object to, especially if the people doing the profiling are actually thoroughly trained on what to look for.

  • Everybody’s talking about the Backscatter X-rays apparently being implemented all over. The ones that break child pornography laws. And how will non-binary gendered people be affected by this? They say only “same sex” people will view the scans in a separate room not visible to the public, but what about trans, intersexed and gender queer people? What kinds of scrutiny will a trans-man come under when scans reveal female genitalia? Because what I’m sure these people want in their life is even more of this.
  • The TSA has withdrawn their subpoenas on the two bloggers who posted the new rules on Boxing Day and apologized for their strong-arm tactics. They’ve also promised to resolve issues one of the bloggers has been having with his laptop ever since the agents seized it to image the hard drive. This doesn’t really pacify me toward the TSA at all.
  • Canadian airlines might have to break Canadian privacy laws to enforce the new TSA rules that would force them to collect the name, gender and birth date of every Canadian who flies through American airspace, even if their planes don’t touch the ground in the States. If Canadian privacy laws change because of this shit, I am going to freak the FUCK out. Canada has comparably fantastic privacy laws and has managed to retain them through the last decade, and if that changes because of an underwear bomb….Anyway. Unsurprisingly, a Muslim woman from Nova Scotia has already been refused entry to the US after being questioned for four hours and fingerprinted for trying to do something as threatening as visit her husband.
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Beware the Sky Blankets and Other Ridiculous Things

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

On Christmas day, a man tried to explode the plane he was on using a bomb in his underwear. His actions were thwarted by a bomb that didn’t work properly and other passengers, but perhaps predictably (and disappointingly if you think like me) the TSA dumped a whole pile of arbitrary new flight dos and don’ts on the heads of travelers at this, the peak travel season. These rules included, among other things, a restriction on passenger movement during the last hour of travel over American airspace. For the last hour of travel, passengers are not permitted to use blankets, pillows, laptops, the in-flight televisions, or move about the cabin at all. The only thing passengers are permitted to do for the last hour of travel, it seems, is to sit perfectly upright in their seats with their hands on the arm rests.

I am not afraid of terrorists when I fly. Not even a little bit. Partly because the chances of being killed by a terrorist while in a plane is 1 in 10 million, but mostly because being afraid to fly — being afraid to carry on the every-day actions of my life — is how terrorists win, and I’m stubborn enough and proud enough and some might say stupid enough to defy those people who prey on my fear.

You know what I am afraid of, though? A country and a society that responds to 1 in 10 million odds with nonsensical security theatre that restricts my right to fucking pee. Every time we give up a right — even a tiny, seemingly insignificant one — the terrorists win. We beg not for real security, but for a pacifier of safety to suck on, and for it we’ll give up anything and that terrifies me. It terrifies me, and enrages me, and frankly it offends me.

And now? Two bloggers are being subpoenaed for posting the wackadoo new TSA protocols.

Anyway. Fuck you, TSA.

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Security Theatre: the Incorrect Response to Terrorism

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Read this.

An important excerpt:

The things we fear most may be least likely to occur, which means the time, trauma and treasure we invest in them is a complete waste.

Security itself is an illusion. It is a perception that exists only between our ears. No army, insurance policy, hazmat team, video surveillance or explosive sniffer can protect us from our own immune system, a well-intentioned but clumsy surgeon, failing to look before crossing the street, an asteroid randomly hurtling through space or someone willing to die in order to do others harm.

In this sense, the only things that can truly make us more “secure” are not things. They are the courage to face whatever comes with dignity and intention, and the strong relationships that assure we will face the future together, and find comfort and meaning in doing so.

Imagine, then, what might happen if we simply quit listening to the scaremongers and those who profit from our paranoia. Imagine what the world could look like if we made a conscious choice to live out whatever time we have with courage, compassion, service and joy.

Terrorism is an act of the weak. But so is walking through the airport in our socks.

We can make better choices.

Emphasis is mine. I have been waiting a long time for someone to write this article and I didn’t even realize it. Terrorists don’t win on their own: we have to let them. I will not sacrifice my freedoms because I am afraid. Not ever.

It’s turning out to be quite the political day on my LJ, isn’t it?

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