Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 16th Nov 2010 22:34 UTC
In the News As none other I know how problematic it is to discuss matters related to politics on the web. However, every now and then, there's no way around it, and this is one of those moments. There's this thing going on at airports in the US, and while many will see it as a separate issue, the body scanner issue, and the sad stories it has spawned, are symptoms of a far larger problem that is a direct threat to everything we've fought for during and since the Enlightenment.
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RE: we've lost without a whimper
by WorknMan on Tue 16th Nov 2010 23:14 UTC in reply to "we've lost without a whimper"
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13


So you're being intruded and inconveniences for no practical increase in security.


So are you guys saying that the scanners don't do anything to improve security? And if not, other than the pat downs, are there any decent alternatives?

If the answer is no, and there are no alternatives to improve security at airports, then I guess people are free to carry guns and bombs on planes if these security measures aren't doing a thing to prevent it, right?

Edited 2010-11-16 23:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

If the answer is no, and there are no alternatives to improve security at airports, then I guess people are free to carry guns and bombs on planes if these security measures aren't doing a thing to prevent it, right?


The naked scanners and sexual assault pat-downs indeed add little to improve security, with the former also posing a health risk. In addition, they both violate the Fourth Amendment and accepted, well-established privacy and decency norms.

And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).

It's time for perspective in this idiotic terrorist debate.

Reply Parent Score: 24

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).


Yeah, and if you or someone you loved are killed the next time a plane gets flown into a building (or worse), I guess that's just too damn bad. I mean, people are murdered every day, so why should anybody give a shit about protecting lives?

I'm not saying that these scanners/pat downs are the solution... if there are better alternatives that won't jack the price of plane tickets sky high (they're way too expensive already and the reason why I only fly once every couple of years), then let's do that. But, common sense would tell you that if you don't want planes getting hijacked/blown up, you're going to have to search people in one way or another before they board planes.

Edited 2010-11-17 01:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

And those numbers then pale in comparison to the number of preventable deaths through obesity and smoking.

The day the twin towers came down, 1100 people died in America of smoking. And another 1100 the next day. And the next. And the next … and so on still to today. Where is their memorial, where is their skyscraper?

Why isn’t the news full of the real things we need to be working to prevent, like diabetes and cancer? We live in terror of the terrorists, and yet the real killers are easily prevented.

Reply Parent Score: 7

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).

It's time for perspective in this idiotic terrorist debate.

I read the story and started reading the comments and I hadn't taken any stance yet apart from a vague resistance to both the scanner and patting method... until I read you and thought "he's right". Because what you wrote reminded me of something that I thought about last year when that swine flu was raging: people in Africa and the third world (or "developing countries" as is politically correct these days) die from malaria by millions each year! And the money necessary to cut that figure in half is ridiculously low compared to what is spent on "marginally effective" (but oh, so costly) security measures.

May I re-add to the debate that, as project_2501 wrote
How effective are these intrusions - do you really think those intent on bad things will fail at these hurdles? No. They're only for show.

these people intent on doing evil will find other ways. An example is the fact that air mail transport (by Air France) from Yemen to France has been stopped, just days ago, after several explosive envelopes (or boxes, don't remember) have been detected. IIRC, the French president and the Greek prime minister were among the targets.

If I were one of those terrorists, I would take a somewhat more likely to succeed path, like going the James Bond way: high sea boat, divers, propelled lightweight vehicles, beach, strike and back. I'm sure Tom Clancy has tons of such scenarios at disposal, but what happens then? Nets against undersea vehicles on thousands of kilometers of shoreline?

Reply Parent Score: 3

truckweb Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think you're getting it... It's not that the scanners are not working (but we don't know how effective they really are), it's the vanishing right for all people in order for 3 companies to flourish and swim in money (in the case of body scanner) all because of big lobbyist who are more powerful than the president himself.

And if you don't mind the full body scanner, will you mind when those lobbyist win the digital war and make you scan your PC, Phone, Tablet, whatever to detect "illegal" content? I'm not talking about kiddie porn here, I'm talking about a song that you did not pay or that cracked photoshop you may use, so on and so forth.

Lobbyist are everywhere and THEY are in control. The president or government are barely more than puppets to them.

Nobody cares about you, the people. It's all about money.

Reply Parent Score: 14

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

You say it sarcastically, but you're more right than you know. Those skilled at crime and terror will always get around the security measures. It's a universal principal: Where there is security, there is always someone smart enough to foil it. All the security measures do is give the sheeple an illusion of safety. You can be licensed to carry a firearm on a plane: typically these licenses are given out only to select military officials, but anything can be forged given someone with enough know how and the right equipment. In practice though, there's no real purpose to bring a gun into the plane. Sure they can kill people with it, but typically they want to inspire terror in the living. A plane crash, even with reports of a crazed lunatic with a gun, isn't as heart-jerking as something like 911. They don't just want death, they want to terrorize. Big content using this illusion as a way to push through mandatory device scanning is scary. I am puzzled, however, as to how they're going to scan my drive effectively when I've got it heavily encrypted? I don't at the moment, but if they start doing this you can bet that I will. It's the principal of the thing, they have no right to what doesn't belong to them and the contents of my device belong to me. I'm also puzzled as to how they'd force me to install mandatory monitoring software? Software must be installed or else inserted into hardware, and there's no way I'm installing any software *or* hardware that would do such a thing. I like Windows 7 but it's no big hassle for me to switch to Linux on those machines should it come to that and the monitoring software be inserted into the os itself (very possible). So how exactly are they going to mandate something which, by its very nature, must be installed by the user? Even if they mandate it be put in new machines or Windows itself, they'll not monitor a large majority of the population who either won't be buying new equipment nor upgrading their os. It's not lagistically practical.

Reply Parent Score: 6

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Big content using this illusion as a way to push through mandatory device scanning is scary. I am puzzled, however, as to how they're going to scan my drive effectively when I've got it heavily encrypted?


I'm more puzzled as to how device scanning could possibly help security in the first place. What am I gonna do, crash the plane with some appliation on the disk? Assault the pilot with my pirate MP3's?

So how exactly are they going to mandate something which, by its very nature, must be installed by the user?


By making it an offense not to?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I am puzzled, however, as to how they're going to scan my drive effectively when I've got it heavily encrypted?

I can answer to this one : they'll put you in jail until you give the key to them.

Heavy encryption that the police can't bypass easily was illegal in the US, last time I checked.

Back on the topic of plane security, this is exactly the reason why I never travel by plane unless forced to do so (as long as I travel in the EU, the train network is not bad if you don't mind some extra delays for long travels).

In a democratic society, people are innocents unless proven guilty. Without that kind of confidence, no government giving some kind of freedom to its citizens can work. But plane security is often the opposite of that.

Edited 2010-11-17 07:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

If the police have the document and ask you to open your locked car or home, you are obliged to do so. If they ask you to open a safe or provide the combination and they have the document, you are obliged to. If the border guard asks for the combination to your encrypted hard drive, the document is assumed, you are obliged to provide decryption keys.

Now, what happens if you don't open your car/home or provide the safe combination? What do you think happens when you won't provide the decryption keys?

Reply Parent Score: 2

project_2501 Member since:
2006-03-20

in which case to solve the HUGE volume of gun related crime in the USA all you have to do is remove guns from the population .... ??

Reply Parent Score: 2

Calipso Member since:
2007-03-13

heh, was about to saying the exact same thing.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Not bloody likely. This country was founded by gun-toting rebels, and the day guns are outlawed in the USA will be the day it no longer is the USA.

Or to put it another way: The last thing you'll take from a gun owning American is his gun, and that's only because the second-to-last thing you take will be his life.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

So are you guys saying that the scanners don't do anything to improve security?


Hmmm...let me see. No. There are already scanners that works without being so invasive. This is what Bruce Schneier would call security theater and as opposed to the companies hawking their overprice products he knows what he's talking about. These technologies are not implemented because they help, they're implemented so somone can say "look, we're really doing something".
You know what helps security? Paying your security staff well, training them and making sure they're skilled and alert but that's not as cool and visible as some overly expensive space age technology that doesn't really help.

On a related note, I think it's f--king hilarious that the U.S are now implementing more invasive measures than what the good-ole USSR ever did.

Edited 2010-11-17 00:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

So are you guys saying that the scanners don't do anything to improve security? And if not, other than the pat downs, are there any decent alternatives?


Actually, the most recent bomb scare (and subsequent boost in security practices) was in cargo shipments - which often times fly on passenger jets.

Cargo shipments do not get the same scanner treatment, and scanners do nothing more to prevent cargo bombs. They only create a perception of higher security.

You also rarely hear about the cargo planes that get blown up.

Reply Parent Score: 2

rdoyle720 Member since:
2010-02-22

Perfect example of what is called "false dichotomy". Many of us feel that these scanners cross an unacceptable line. Arguing against them is not the same as saying we're for no security.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Dyrcona Member since:
2010-06-21

Yep, pretty much. Flying is a risk. Like all risks, you have to balance it against the rewards to determine if it worth taking the risk to earn the reward.

Unfortunately, most humans are bad at math, but very good at emotions.

Reply Parent Score: 2

StychoKiller Member since:
2005-09-20

So, how many would-be terrorists would board a plane if a majority of the passengers were armed and trained to shoot properly? When the Govt created the TSA and DHS, the terrorists won by default!

Reply Parent Score: 1