Friday, December 23, 2011

Anyone Can Get through Airport security with a Fake Boarding Pass but the TSA Takes the Cake

The TSA takes the cake.

Literally.

Just ask Joe Maltese, whose mother-in-law packed a chocolate cake inside his suitcase, unbeknownst to him. But when he opened it up back home, he got a double surprise: Not only was the cake there, but there was also a decent third neatly sliced out of it.

Neither he, nor his wife, nor his mother-in-law claim responsibility for the missing chunk. And so Maltese contacted the TSA about it, since his luggage also featured a sticker marking that it had been checked.

Go figure, the TSA said it wasn’t their fault either. According to them, they meticulously went through their video feed, in which they saw nothing of any such cake violations.

And it’s not like we have any reason to distrust them other than that they’ve molested children, the elderly and everybody in between with their unprovoked patdowns; behaved completely unprofessional while handling traveler’s luggage and body scans (e.g. stealing stuff, purposely overlooking weed, writing sexually suggestive notes, etc.); picked prison-stay-inducing fights with colleagues, and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.

Oh right, and they also don’t actually protect us from terrorists either.

Charles C. Mann recently met up with Bruce Schneier, an understandably constant critic of the TSA, who just happens to be a cryptographer and security technologist as well. Schneier is also the man who’s proven just how easy it is to get through airport security with a Photoshopped old boarding pass.

So “Has the nation simply wasted a trillion dollars protecting itself against terror?” Mann muses. His answer is far from satisfactory: “Mostly, but perhaps not entirely.”

Schneier addresses the problem with fairly flawless logic: The government should focus on nipping terrorist plots well before they reach the final phase. “That’s how the British caught the liquid bombers. They never got anywhere near the plane. That’s what you want – not catching them at the last minute as they try to board the flight.”

Put like that, it rather makes a girl wonder just how stupid our government really is.

“It’s infuriating,” Schneier sums it all up easily. “We’re spending billions upon billions of dollars doing this – and it is almost entirely pointless. Not only is it not done right, but even if it was… it would be the wrong thing to do.”

Considering the over bloated bureaucracy in control these days, that isn’t surprising at all.

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