Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The liquid charade

John Hargrave has discovered the secret to getting your deadly liquids onto an airplane, even if they're in bottles larger than 3 oz (the vessel size at which all liquids become high explosives, unless they are purchased at a duty free store).

All you need to do is surrender the bottle at the screening station, wait for the the TSA to throw it away in an unguarded trash-barrel on the "secure" side, and then retrieve it from the trash...

The reason this "smuggling" technique works, of course, is that liquids aren't dangerous. Everyone knows this -- even the TSA. That's why they don't guard the barrel after they confiscate your wine, water, and salad-dressing. The point of taking away your liquid isn't to make airplanes safe, it's to simultaneously make you afraid (of terrorists with magic water-bombs) and then make you feel safe (because the government is fighting off the magic water-bombs). It's what Bruce Schneier calls "security theater."
--Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, on the ridiculous liquid ban



I moseyed over to the walkway and glanced in the barrel. It was filled with half-empty coffee cups and discarded water bottles. There, on top of the trash, wrapped in its protective paper, was my salad dressing.

Now, keep in mind this was a trash barrel full of highly dangerous liquids and gels! More than three ounces of this stuff could take down an entire plane, and I was standing next to gallons of it!

Questions about the deadly liquids flooded my mind: why would these be dropped into an ordinary trash barrel, and not a special explosion-proof containment unit? Why would they combine the hazardous liquids so carelessly? Most importantly, why would they leave a barrel of liquid dynamite right next to innocent American air travelers?
--John Hargrave on dire dangers at the airport

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