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SIR! Please step away from the spork... slowly...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nettdata, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    It's that time of year when a huge number of people will be flying all around North America in their quest for familial bonding, turkey, and free loot.

    (Insert gratuitous and totally unrelated example of the Best. Comic. Ever.)

    [​IMG]


    In year's past it's always been the huge crowds and insufferable delays at the airport that have been my biggest peeve, but over the past few years that has all been usurped by the infamous TSA National Super-Agent saving the world from one 2 oz bottle of liquid at a time. It's a thankless job, but they weren't hiring at Burger King, so what's a moron to do?

    That's right, so-called "security" has hit the top of my list of things I hate about travel, and I'm sure I'm in the vast majority.



    Maybe it's because I do Security Engineering for a living that I'm particularly touchy about the subject, but I really have to wonder at just how all of this was allowed to happen.

    Anyway, colour me surprised when I saw in the news today that there is at least SOME normalcy in the world.


    It seems that at least one modern day government is finally realizing that they are a little over the top, and are doing something about it.

    http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-new ... -kvm2.html


    FOCUS: What are your thoughts on security? What do you think should be done to keep us safe? What's working, and what's not? Share your own security-based stories, airport-related or otherwise.

    ALT-FOCUS: Share your travel stories, for better or worse.
     

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  2. Crazy Wolf

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    I'm of the opinion that pilots should be armed, so they can hopefully repel any hijackers. Basically, since we now understand planes can be used as missiles, I hope that in the event of a hijacking the pilot just starts a nose-dive, or at the very least flies away from any major targets and dumps fuel.

    I think you've probably heard the joke about the New Yorker and the cannibal chief.
    OK, so a Frenchman, a Brit, and a New Yorker are captured by a cannibal chieftain. The chieftain says "We are going to eat you and turn your skin into a great canoe, but to show that we are not savages, we shall let you choose how you want to die."
    The Englishman asks for a pistol, says "Long Live the Queen!" and shoots himself. The chieftain orders his body be taken away for preparation.
    The Frenchman asks for a sword, says, "Vive la France! and impales himself. The chieftain orders his body be taken away for preparation.
    The New Yorker asks for a fork. The chieftain, confused, hands him a fork, and the New Yorker starts stabbing himself all over, just making a bloody mess as he pokes himself over and over. The chieftain, horrified, asks "What in god's name are you doing?!" to which the New Yorker responds "There goes your goddamn canoe!"

    Basically, I think this would tremendously dissuade hijackers looking for loot, and thwart the plans of suicide hijackers.
     
  3. Dcc001

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    Oh, man. I could go on and on about this topic. I won't bog down this thread, though. If you want my craziest travelling stories you can check out my blog, listed on my profile page. If you want my version of hell, read how I got from Morocco to Cairo.

    Focus: Airline security is a bunch of BS. I don't just throw that out as a blanket statement, either. It's nonsense because:

    1. It's inconsistent. I can get on an international flight in one country, and have someone glance at my carry-on and walk through a metal detector that doesn't beep. I can then catch another flight from, say, Sarnia, Ontario (an airport roughly the size of a shoebox) and have my bags swabbed for explosives, everything x-rayed, and have the metal detectors go bananas, even though I'm wearing the exact same things. If I was actually planning on bringing down a plane, I'd just pick an airport with lax security procedures.

    2. It's panic-driven. Has anyone ever attacked a pilot with nail clippers or a butter knife? How often do people try and cary 1L bottles of gasoline on a plane? The short answer is they don't, but panic fuels the industry, which in turn puts lotsa money into the pockets of the security companies that have contracted to keep 'flights safe.'

    3. The money goes to the wrong places. It gets spent on 1L plastic bags and five staff clustered around the metal detector. You want unsafe? Catch a plane in a developing country. Those small airlines can't afford to buy new planes or have regular mechanical maintenance. So, the aircraft are second- and third-hand with questionable service records, to say the very least. When I think of every backwater, podunk, shit-ass flight I've caught from A to B, I'm amazed I'm still alive.

    Like I said, I could go on and on. I wish we could go back to how airline security was in the sixties. Ever see the movie Bullitt? How awesome would that be? Get out of your car, walk to the gate, get on the plane. And if you're Steve McQueen, no one questions you when you butt in line with a gun to check out the cabin.
     
  4. thevoice

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    My worst travel story involving a security encounter was in May of 2006. I was en route to Seattle with my buddy Jay to go to a concert, here is the story:

    The night before our Seattle trip, I went into downtown Vancouver for a friend's birthday bash. I managed to pursuade my friend Brad and his friend 'Shelby' to come along. Brad and I had known each other for years, but I had never met Shelby before.

    On our way into Vancouver, Shelby asks if she can smoke a joint in the car. At the time my morals were much different, and I bluntly refused. She then asked if she could at least roll a joint in the car, to which I answered "yes."

    I'll use this moment in the story to inform you that Shelby was VERY attractive. Tall, blonde, short-skirt, and I could tell from the get-go that she was into me.

    She rolls the joint in my back-seat, and once we park in Vancouver, she smoked it with Brad and we went to the bar.

    Shelby was all over me that night. She was grinding me on the dance-floor all night, was buying me drinks. It got to the point where Brad says to me, "Dude, Shelby is into you, and I guarantee you'll get some tonight. I'll drive you two home tonight, but you owe me." I hand him my keys, and I thank him for being such a pal.

    The drive home that night from the bar awesome. I remember hooking up with her in the backseat of my own car while Brad drove it home. He was talking to his girlfriend on the phone the whole time, so he was oblvious to the fact that I was getting jerked off in the back-seat by his friend Shelby.

    During our hookup, Shelby's open purse fell to the floor and the contents fell out everywhere. We stopped hooking up so that she could fill the contents of her purse, and then hooked up some more.

    This is all going somewhere. I promise.

    The next day, as Jay and I arrive at the border-crossing I notice that the drug-dogs are out in full-force. I think to myself, "Good thing I didn't let Shelby smoke in my car last night, otherwise I'd be fucked."

    I'm told by the border guard that Jat and I need to go inside to see security. I assume it's because he sees that my passport has a ton of stamps and shit from previous travels, and they simply want to confirm some things. No biggie.

    After about five minutes of waiting, a very gruff looking police-officer walks up to me and asks, "Sir do you have any marijuana in you're vehicle?"

    I reply, "No sir, I do not. I don't even smoke pot."

    He stares for a few seconds and then pulls out a marijuana roach and holds it in front of me.

    He says, "Okay, well do you want to explain why I just found this in your car?"

    Immediately in dawns on me, that it must have been Shelby's roach that had fallen out of her purse during our back-seat hookup.

    I politely and calmly inform the officer that the roach was not mine. It belonged to a friend of mine who I was dd'ing for last night, and it must have fallen out of her purse over the course of the evening. I then told the officer that I hadn't smoked weed in three years, and that I assure him that if he were to search the vehicle more thoroughly that he wouldn't find anything else.

    He replies, "Okay. We'll search your car. You are aware that if we find anything more, than you're in real trouble."

    20 minutes later he walks into the office, and asks Jay and I to follow him.

    We're pulled into a square, windowless, gray-walled room that is no larger than the size of a handicapped bathroom stall. The officer tells me to strip down to my underwear and then cuffs me. He searches my wallet, socks, shoes, and my pants pocket. He didn't put a finger in my ass, but he did everything else that you'd suspect an officer to do.

    After finding nothing, he told me to put my clothes back on. He then performed the same search on Jay.

    Once we were both fully clothed, we returned to the lobby of the security office. The officer asked us what we were doing in the US. I told them about our concert. They asked me the names of my friends that I was meeting with in the US, and they searched them to make sure that they actually existed. After five minutes more of questioning the officer relented and said, "We found nothing in your vehicle. We're going to let you into the country. You're car will not be subject to future searches, and you're name will not appear in our 'curious passenger' database. Be careful with who you hang out with, and enjoy your concert."

    Holy fuck did I get lucky. I could have very easily been banned from the country, or even thrown in jail for possession.

    I have since crossed that border with mixed results. In the 10 or so times I've been to Seattle since, my car has been searched maybe five of those times. As for airport travel, I've never once encountered any problems.
     
  5. fleafly

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    I travel about once a month for my job so I get to experience the TSA and other airport excitement on a semi-regular basis. I've never really understood the need for the TSA to take away nail clippers and knitting needles. Items like that, hell even a knife or gun isn't going to work in hijacking a plane. I don't see anyone being successful in hijacking an airliner again. Passengers will no longer let them because the status quo has changed.

    One thing they should do for airport security is start profiling. There is a reason it's done, it's because it works! If you don't like the hassel profiling brings you then don't fit into that profile. You might assume I say this as a vanilla/urban white boy, but i'm not. I have multiple visible piercings and tattoos. I have a big ass chain on my wallet and wear heavy metal shirts. So i'm bassicly someone that they should be profiling.
     
  6. dubyu tee eff

    dubyu tee eff
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    Thinks he has a chance with Christina Hendricks...

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    Ha. Try being brown. And Having a beard. And having done a decent amount of traveling including to Pakistan, Morocco, and Lebanon. And having a last name that is quite similar to a recently toppled muslim dictator. Plus, the fact that I was born in Pakistan doesn't help much. Since the year 2001 every single time I've flown EVERY SINGLE TIME I've been randomly selected for further questioning. It never fails. When I'm lucky this just means a couple of extra questions regarding the nature of some trips. When I'm not so lucky, I've missed flights sitting for hours in drab, windowless rooms, being ruthlessly grilled, getting physically searched, having my loyalty questioned, being told I give misleading answers while I'm on my absolute best behavior.

    On occasions, my friends (mostly white) have asked me how I felt about the attacks on 9/11 and terrorism in general and are surprised to learn that I hate them with a rage reserved mostly for those who lost someone in the attacks for exactly the reasons above. They've made traveling an absolute fucking nightmare for me and people like me.

    I could write more detailed stories, but really they are pretty repetitive.
     
  7. Nettdata

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    When it comes to security, there is one guy that (at least in the IT world), is at the top of the heap. Bruce Schneier

    He has a monthly little email that goes out to around 150k people, and is quite interesting to read. He has long been a critic of the TSA and their so-called "security", and seems to be one of the few voices out there that is offering any common sense.

    For instance, he's got a whole slew of essays on airline travel: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.schneier.com/essays-airline.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.schneier.com/essays-airline.html</a>

    This seems to make sense to me: Clear Common Sense for Takeoff: How the TSA Can Make Airport Security Work for Passengers Again

     
  8. EarthExile

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    Oh boy. This is my place here.

    I am a security guard at an R&D lab in Connecticut. Of the perhaps twelve people who work here on three shifts, maybe myself and two others are competent. The rest are a pack of misfits and clowns. My supervisor knows his job, but is becoming a cop soon and no longer gives a shit. Our boss is a jackass who doesn't know his job, but gives way too much of a shit about everything.

    Here's the thing about being in security. I love this job. I get to wear a nice uniform and I am expected to be clean and shaven every day. Because this also applies to my coworkers, the environment is generally very pleasant and professional. Since our assignment is to provide access control to about two hundred engineers, there is hardly ever any actual security work to be done. My day consists largely of quietly reading a novel and talking football with my supervisor. I work 8am to 4pm weekdays. In short, for a 21 year old single guy, this is probably the best job I could imagine.

    Which brings me to the negatives.
    Everyone's been hassled by security, especially at airports. These morons are always imposing stupid restrictions and regulations on innocent people, while actual rule-breakers wander free. Security guards are little more than an inconvenience for most people, and we don't actually accomplish anything. There are good reasons for this, and they have more stripes on their shoulders.
    The people in charge at my company are sackless, inept morons. Remember how I mentioned that most of the people at my post are idiots? It's because there are ZERO repercussions for misbehaving or acting unprofessionally. One of the women here, in particular, should have been fired three months ago, but has yet to receive a written warning. She is a big fat black lady who think's that she's a) sexy and b) exempt from rules because she's c) so damn sexy. She is often not at her post, and when I investigate why, and take my findings to my boss, nothing comes of it. She occasionally comes to work with neon colors dyed into her hair. Nothing is said. Two weeks ago she actually told one of the engineers at the traffic gate to "hold on, can't you see I'm on my phone? Daaang." An official complaint was made. No action taken.
    And the strange and unusual policies we inflict upon people? A direct result of most of the management being ex-national guard 50-year-old never married crazy cat men. These losers have lost all ability to act and plan rationally. Perhaps it's the loneliness, I don't know, but we end up with lovely memos (often two or three a day) such as: (I am reading this off my desk right now,)
    "Security Officers at the East and West gates will be required to perform random spot checks of incoming vehicles. The Officer will use a hand gesture clearly indicative of desiring that the vehicle come to a halt. The Security Officer will then carefully approach vehicle, with hands visible, and ask that the driver lower their window. The Security Officer will check driver's Employee I.D. and verify that the Employee I.D. photo matches the face of the driver. The Security Officer will then check driver's Driver's License against the Employee I.D.. The Security officer will then radio Base (that's me, incidentally) with the Employee's name, at which time Base will perform a system search in order to verify that Employee is presently employed at this site. Once verified, Base will radio Gate Officer with an all-clear. At this point, the Employee may enter the site. This check to be performed at random, a minimum of once per hour."

    Yeah. When I asked why this new rule was needed, the boss came back with "We feel that we need to make ourselves more visible actually performing our jobs efficiently."
     
  9. Nick

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    It's so funny how impatient we've become with the TSA. Maybe it's an age thing, or that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, but my very first business trip after I graduated college was to NYC on September 10, 2001. Needless to say, the 9/11 events impacted me pretty significantly. I was scared shitless to get back on a plane. Unfortunately, my job required fairly heavy travel, so there was no way to avoid the chaos. It was a pretty scary time in this country. Those of you who were still in high school (or younger) have no idea what it was like. You're dealing with the repercussions, but you have real connection to why those rules were put into place.

    Those of you who traveled regularly around that time probably remember how on edge everybody was for the next several years. I was traveling when the shoe-bomb incident almost went down. I was traveling when the liquid bomb incident almost went down. Sure, it sucked that all the TSA restrictions made travel a pain in the ass, but at that point in time, I was more than happy to put up with all the extra security bullshit.

    Over the years, I have learned to roll with the punches. It means an extra 30-60 minutes of travel time per day. It requires 2 extra minutes to pack my toiletries in a plastic baggie. It takes 30 seconds to put my laptop in a separate tray. If that's what it takes to ensure my safety, then so be it. I guarantee that I travel more than 90% of this board. I deal with canceled flights, delayed flights, and TSA bullshit on a weekly basis. It sucks, but I get it.

    What a lot of people don't realize is that it's not TSA that causes all of the commotion. It's the travelers who come unprepared. Those long lines are caused by the asshole that packs every fucking toiletry she owns into her purse, as if she's going on a 6 month trip, let alone be prepared with a baggie. It's the dickhead that's wearing 16 pieces of jewelry that has to go through the line 4 times before he realizes that maybe he shouldn't chain his wallet to his belt loop. It's the one dude that believes he absolutely needs a Swiss Army knife keychain to protect himself during his 3-day weekend to Orlando. The rules really aren't that hard. 9/11 was 8 years ago. Are there really that many people who haven't learned the rules yet?

    Like I said, maybe timing played a big role in my stance as a proponent to the system, but because of it, I will probably always lean more heavily towards the side of being more safe than sorry. Also, FYI, for those of you complaining about holiday travel, guess what - it's ALWAYS sucked. Security has very little to do with the suckiness of holiday travel. It's the sheer volume of flights and travelers (many of whom are underprepared). That will never change.
     
  10. kuhjäger

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    A couple of months ago the TSA got a new head, a gentleman I have worked with before, and if anything I can say that he is a level headed, brilliant, take no bullshit guy.

    As soon as I heard he got the job, I figured that he would start slowly undoing the bull shit regulations that seemed to be dreamed up on a whim, and I think he is starting to do that, at a slow pace to try and get through all the bureaucratic cesspool that is the TSA.

    On a side note, one time while talking to him about security, he whips out some pictures that he took in Israel of things bombs had been put in. My favorite was a hamster cage that was going to be delivered as a school pet.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Nitwit

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    I think everyone should be armed.............all the time.
    Think of the threads we'd get.
     
  12. Rising Sun

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    What a timely thread. From my inbox today:

    December 18, 2009

    Re: Vacancy Announcement

    Dear RISING SUN:

    Congratulations, you have passed the medical evaluation requirement for the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) position with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can review your status in the TSO evaluation process by going online to the TSA Candidate Dashboard.

    If you have any questions, please call the TSA HRAccess Help Desk at xxxxxxxxx or TTY at xxxxxxxxxxx.

    Thank you for your continued interest in employment with TSA.

    Sincerely,

    TSA Office of Human Capital



    I suspect that I will love this job, and be promoted quickly because I will most likely be working with deadbeats.


    EDIT: See you motherfuckers at JFK.
     
  13. Nettdata

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    I heard it's a pretty gruelling evaluation.


    [​IMG]
     
  14. redbullgreygoose

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    Airport security is just a huge puppet show for travelers. It's done to give people peace of mind and the illusion of security. Plus, if anyone wanted to hijack an American plane again they could simply just board the plane in another country where this is no "security".
     
  15. ghettoastronaut

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    While taking a rather short-notice plane flight this summer, I did my best to put all my 2oz bottles in their little plastic baggie for them to see, and proudly and earnestly answered "no" when they asked if I had any other liquids in my bag.

    I got to my destination, rummaged through my bag, and found a few bottles of sunscreen and bug juice at the bottom. Oh well.

    EDIT: Bill Maher may have been onto something in his book "When you ride alone, you ride with Bin Laden." Suggested hiring a small number of highly professional, suit-wearing secret-service type security agents in airports. Pay 'em 100K per year. Trained in all manner of psychology and security, so they know what type of behaviour and who to look for. Apparently this is the type of model they have working in Israel (though I wouldn't know for myself), and though I'm loathe to trumpet one or two anecdotal success stories, it seems more sensible than having barely high school educated minimum wage workers who don't give a flying fuck (no pun intended) holding everyone up from getting to the airport bar.
     
  16. benny lava

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    Its all smoke and mirrors and that's what makes it so much bullshit. If something were to ever go down on a plane again, they won't be boarding at JFK or LAX. But let's put on this show to please the masses, just so Aunt Beulah and the cute little twin three year olds can hold my ass up when I'm trying to catch a connecting flight on my way to London.

    You learn a couple of tricks along the way but you also figure out that if someone really wanted to do something, there are ways around almost everything...

    I always get fucked by shit like that. 75% of my job is travel and yes, it was substantially quicker and more efficient to fly pre 9/11.
     
  17. lust4life

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    C'mon. He also needs a GED and no felony convictions. Yep, that's the requirements for America's first line of defense at the airports.
     
  18. breakylegg

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    I used to be a wheelchair attendant at McCarran airport. During downtime I came up with a great way to smuggle a gun on a plane.

    Whenever we pushed people through the metal detector, the chair would always set the alarm off. About 50% of the time a security officer would run their hand underneath the seat before allowing us to pass through. Also, when other people used the chairs they left them in jetways and in public parking so we'd have to go and wrangle them up every now and again.

    So if you wanted to smuggle in a gun you just find a chair in pkg, tape the gun under the seat, and watch from a distance. If whoever uses it gets caught then you just walk. If they don't, then you simply follow them and wait until the chair is abandoned on the other side of security.

    Of course, you could just have fun with this and maybe tape a ziploc full of baking powder to the underside of the chair and watch the fun from afar.
     
  19. Stealth

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    A few years ago , I was listening to one of the few independant Radio stations in Melbourne , Australia http://www.rrr.org.au/ and they were interviewing some Australian guy that was in the music industry in some capacity as a DJ or something like that.

    This dude told an amazing story of what happened to him when he was over in the US with his American girlfriend.
    They had first been in California and had while there had taken digital photos of "medicinal marijuana".
    Later on they then crossed the border either into Canada or Mexico , I can't quite remember which and then some time later crossed back over into the US.

    When they crossed back into the US , they were questioned , their vehicle was searched yet nothing was found. Then the photos on their digital camera were checked , and lo and behold , the marijuana photos !

    His girlfriend, being a US citizen was released , yet this guy was "arrested" put into a van and taken to some sort of holding complex that was run by Halliburton.
    Apparently , for each inmate that the facility had , Halliburton would get paid something like $100 US per inmate per night by the US government.
    So each time a few of the inmates were released , the call would go out for more to be brought in.

    This guy was apparently stuck in this facility for some 3 months , before he managed to make enough phone calls and for one of his friends (that was either studying law or was in the legal profession) to turn up in a suit and talk to enough people at the holding facility for the Aussie guy to be released.

    Some of you may call bullshit on this ... but I remember hearing all this and the guy seemed genuine and legit.
     
  20. Nettdata

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    I hope Chater chimes in soon... just heard yesterday that he almost got arrested at the airport.

    Can't wait for the story.

    "paging Chater to the white courtesy phone... paging Chater to the white courtesy phone..."