You don't get that by hiring the best and the brightest but by lowering the bar so far that as long as you're semi-literate and don't have a record of violent crimes, you're hired.
I've flown ~100k miles each of the last few years and they're getting more arbitrary and few can point at the actual rules they're enforcing.
And it's worth noting that they are agents and not officers which places them closer to bureaucrats than law enforcement.
Even if we were just erecting pure security theater, it'd be great if we could not build a refuge for pervasive sexual harassment or psychological abuse at the same time.
The basic purpose of the TSA is to prevent a collapse of the air travel market, and now it seems that a few related business interests are also part of that picture. What is or is not allowed through the checkpoints is as much determined by what the public is afraid of as by what will work well for airport businesses and airlines. The shoe rule is slowly but surely going away (it does not apply to anyone who participates in the various pre-screening programs that have been developed; I am guessing it will be gone in general a few years from now), but the equally pointless liquid rule remains in place for everyone. The only difference is that one of those rules boosts sales for airport businesses while the other only makes the lines to get through the checkpoints longer and discourages flying. The proposal to have all laptops go into checked bags was killed almost as soon as it was thought up, even though there was some legitimate concern about attacks strategies involving laptops (it seems to be more realistic than the liquids plot), simply because airlines said it would have too negative an impact on their ticket sales (especially for business class seats, which are the most profitable per square foot of cabin floor space).
> one of those rules boosts sales for airport businesses
This is pub talk, essentially the broken window fallacy. Making travel unpleasant is unlikely to have helped the airline industry.
It is also a fact that after the 9/11 attacks the airline industry nearly collapsed because people were afraid to fly; the TSA was created for the sole purpose of calming those fears, which restored confidence in flying (and therefore increase ticket sales). You may not be afraid but a lot of people do believe that the checkpoints are keeping them safe while they fly, and a large fraction would probably think twice about flying if the checkpoints were reduced in scope (or eliminated entirely).
This is meaningless without mentioning time ranges. The TSA was created one month after 9/11, so there was no opportunity for any alternative course to ever take place.
Why didn't the airline industry "collapse" in other countries lacking the TSA? And what does "collapse" mean, exactly?
> the TSA was created for the sole purpose of calming those fears, which restored confidence in flying
And the PATRIOT act is for patriots. It is not worth mentioning that GW Bush said we're going to do X because of Y.
If anything the TSA made things more difficult for airports who were hemorrhaging revenue despite whatever magic safety rays you feel the TSA was projecting into the populace. (What are the properties of these safety rays and why even years after they began eminating did we still see airlines in bankruptcy, flights canceled, and dependence on federal loans? If in fact they were meant to increase passenger counts they didn't seem to do a good job, and just look like an unexpected added cost to contend with along with declining income -- some lost income directly due to security measures like preventing non-travelers from giving business to any shops beyond the security checkpoint. Liquids weren't even banned for years, after a slew of attempted liquid explosion attempts, almost like the TSA is an entirely reactive force ever since its creation.) On the more tangible side of things the airports had to pay the costs of the new security measures, which weren't trivial -- e.g. just the explosives detection systems for checked baggage cost billions to be rolled out. How much for the body scanners some years later?
No that it is not a "fact." The airline industry in the US was already experiencing financial problems prior to 9/11. There was also a bad recession at that time which translates to lower demand for seats. Additionally all flights were grounded for 2 days after 9/11 resulting in huge financial losses for the airlines. The combination of these things resulted in large layoffs by the airlines, potentially sending the airlines into a death spiral. The industry was then stabilized by a 15 billion aid package from congress. A near collapse was not caused by people being afraid to fly.
Correlation is not causation. I could simply have been a time where the fear of flying grew staler than the need to fly/benefit of flying.
Noticed those in the hotel after I landed and they most definitely went in my checked bag on the trip home.
Once you drink half, refill it at a fountain (or lukewarm water from a bathroom sink if you can funnel it in) to have more cold water.
There are exceptions for medications and baby food.
So while it is easy to beat, the TSA screens do succeed at enforcing the most obvious violations to current regulations. Whether the signal (things that seem like they reasonably should be confiscated) to noise (toothpaste, water, nail clippers, pocketknives) is acceptable, I don't know.
There was no epidemic of "plane knife fights" or "accidental pistol discharge in planes". Catching incidental weapons that weren't going to be used for harm is basically zero value.
All of the value comes from stopping people with bad intent from having weapons. If 95% of them can get through, then that's a very bad system.
In other words, I don't think you've correctly identified signal vs noise.
There was no epidemic of plane hijacking, either.
I have no data on the intent of people taking loaded firearms or black powder on planes (or knives in teddy bears,
Saying that 95% of people with bad intent can get through is unsupported by the statistic OP linked.
My point here is not that the TSA is great (I personally think it is pretty useless), but to suggest that single statistic is insufficient to demonstrate that the TSA is useless - you also need something indicating probably nothing bad would have happened had the TSA not confiscated all the currently banned stuff.
That's the system that was in place up until 9/11, and it was run by private airport security. The TSA was a response to that.
But it wasn't the only conceivable response. Changes to private security screening rules would have been another option. The TSA isn't just there in a vacuum. And if people who try to sneak items past it can succeed, then its mandate isn't very effective.
Part of why another 9/11 hasn't happened is that terrrorists know that people know that hijackings can be very deadly. So people wouldn't be so passive anymore. The 9/11 hijacking was done with box cutters. That feat couldn't be repeated again, even with box cutters on the plane.
We only care about trying to take these things from people who are hiding them. Inconveniencing innocent travelers is a cost of the TSA, not a benefit.
I don't see how sane plays into it - either they are sane and accidentally have a gun in their bag, or they are insane. How can you filter by sanity?
Point is, probably most of the people with guns, swords, etc are not malicious, but I haven't seen any statistics on that, only this 95% cited over and over again.
I'd recommend reviewing the link though, as that number includes things you might not think are deliberate attempts to hide stuff (swords in canes?).
Lockpicking is relatively easy, and there is always brute force.
The TSA is just a pacifier for people who buy that they’re effective.
> After the hijackers took control of the plane, several passengers and flight attendants learned from phone calls that suicide attacks had already been made by hijacked airliners on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Many of the passengers then attempted to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers. During the struggle, the plane crashed into a field near a reclaimed strip mine in Stonycreek Township
And if that hadn’t worked, before the crash the military was already authorized to shoot down that flight. So the system adapted quickly.
I think we should give up on the TSA theater, but most people seem to want it. Makes them feel better, even if their rational minds know it's a lie.
I'd say "especially if" rather than "just because".
With any advanced system, we use automation to decrease the complexity of a task by which to act as a throughput modifier by decreasing barrier to entry for safe pperatiom.
If you start throwing in computers which fight the operator at every step, you'll start seeing people (1) move away from the system, (2) subvert the system, (3) start trying to make a buck off of selling systems they claim will fix everything, while not really dealing with the issue.
Plus, computer vision just isn't there yet.you're talking about giving a machine the ability to integrate a whole lotus different streams of data and reliably making a decision to veto the pilot's instructions.
Anyone who knows anything about the Germanwings crash (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanwings_Flight_9525) knows this. The pilot used an axe on the door for minutes while knowing he was going to die. He didn't get in. Everyone died.
The risks of hijacking are slim to none, unless you're going to hack the plane. If you're going to hack the plane you just need a laptop.
The TSA is a federal jobs program. A nice joke I heard is to disband the TSA and have them be the workers building the wall. Sure it would be useless, but at least it wouldn't inconvenience law abiding citizens just trying to go about their day, treating them like criminals.
I like this idea.
1. Open the door and the person uses the plane as a big bomb.
2. Don't open the door and the person uses a smaller bomb.
You die either way. What's the choice here?
What do you mean? Without access to the controls of the plane, they hijackers cannot accomplish their goal of using the plane as a big bomb. They are deterred because it costs a large amount of operational resources to only fail the mission. If they wanted to simply kill people, they have simpler means (much cheaper means) to hit soft targets.
Not only that, the complex, involved missions involve more people which raises the risk of failure, of being caught ahead of time, and of unwinding the clues up the stack. If they are going to take those risks, they want a certain chance of success * size of outcome.
I mean surely you think that flights AA 11, ua 175, and AA 77 were materially different than UA 93. So I really don't get your point.
Like, sure, if that’s success then ok...again I’m just saying i think there are alternative ways to improve security, and while a locking door is one of them, the TSA is probably another great place to look for improvements. It feels like the US airport security situation is stuck in the world of “look busy and sound strict, people will behave and respect the security of planes”, but really it’s just a giant pain in the ass for most people and meanwhile mostly ineffective at stopping actual risks from passing through to the aircraft.
Real question: do you work for the TSA or airport security in some way?
If you want to just kill a lot of people there are far cheaper and more effective ways. Check out the concerts being attacked.
So the door is all you need.
You have to admit it does make good "Theater for the Masses" when you see them stripping down an 80 year old in a wheelchair or dragging an 8 year old off to the side for additional screening.
This is what happens when "The People" lose control of the Government.
That seems doubtful. Nearly everyone agrees that TSA checkpoints are irritating and slow, how many would actually vote to abolish them? Even just returning back to pre-9/11 security?
I think we have exactly the government most of us want. That's the uncomfortable truth. If the majority of voting citizens wanted the TSA gone, it would be.
We have a President who was the second highest vote getter, and a Senate where the majority party was elected with a minority of the votes (counting across the most recent elections for each seat.)
So, no, we don't have “the government most of us want”, independent of the TSA.
> If the majority of voting citizens wanted the TSA gone, it would be.
Look, if the majority of the voting public wants a particular Presidential candidate elected, at the time of voting, that still relies on them not having an unfavorable geographic distribution to work out.
A policy that is more distant from a single candidate election, and which must compete in any voting decision with other policy preferences for importance and which requires action by both the President and the Congress to effectuate is far from guaranteed.
But... it's not. The TSA and the rest of our various police forces stick around because while a few loud people complain about the threat to liberty, the vast majority of people quietly vote for more safety.
Or they don't want to see the impact of nearly 100,000 government mandated jobs lost. It's an assumption to think "the vast majority" are looking to the TSA for safety.
It's like adultery, still a crime in many states, including a felony in a few (and in others, is a crime only a female can commit). Despite no prosecutions in decades, it's still on the books, not because it should be, but because no politician wants the backlash of "non-family-friendly" that'd come with "decriminalization".
You do know that expression uses “prove” in the (otherwise uncommon in modern English) sense of “test”, not the (more common in modern English) sense of “establish the truth of”, right?
And which of the multiple examples I cited is supposed to be the singular exception? (And, certainly a Senate that is minoritarian but for conditions of either supermajoritarian popular alignment or fortuitous geographical alignment of the majority isn't an rare exception, it's a fundamental and conscious design feature.)
The United States isn't a majoritarian government by design, and very commonly does not (and certainly does not now) have the government most voting citizens want. It's even less the case that it is majoritarian on any single issue; there are many issues you can find where there is a durable majority opinion not reflected in government policy. (In part because it's not the sole issue and multiple issues compete in electing representatives, in part because candidates manipulate voters with false positions which they find reasons to blame other people for having fail, but in large part again because even a majority voting solely on one issue, for politicians honestly pursuing the voters' preferred position, doesn't guarantee winning control of either House of Congress or the Presidency, much less winning all three or winning both Houses of Congress with a veto proof majority, and so does not guarantee ability to legislate the desired goal.)
If there is serious, broad outrage about an issue that lasts through an election, then change may come for that issue under our current system. As is, stuff that most of the voting public objects to happens daily, but these actions are shielded by our current system.
Offer flights with TSA screening for $10 extra or flights with no screening.
What information does the TSA collect?
I can't think of anything the airlines don't already collect when you buy your ticket.
There's no inherent reason your identity is more relevant for a plane ride than it is for taking the bus.
Riding my motorcycle from the east coast to the southwest I was stopped by "border patrol" at least 100 miles from any border I could see. After refusing to answer any questions, I was detained for an hour near the AZ border until agents could photograph my sugar skull patch and empty all my bags on the side of the road.
edit: Evidently there are some near Canada as well, didn't know that.
If you fly a private plane to MX you also have to land at Laughlin AFB at the border and have your plane searched.
Most of the population of the US lives within 100 miles of a border because airports count as a border.
Remember that for a democracy to work people have to be active participants, and most people have other things to worry about in their lives. Democracies tend to erode over time; every crisis will lead to a bit of erosion of a democracy, and if the democracy is not reinforced following the crisis, it will be eroded even further during the next crisis. The decline of the Republican system of Rome is an interesting case study -- crisis after crisis weakened the democratic institutions until Caesar struck the final blow.
Maybe Steven Pinker jinxed civilization the same way that guy did who wrote a book a few years before WW1 about how globalization made war between modern states unthinkable.
[Edit: Edited to correct the vote totals for the Nazis in 1930 and 1932.]
It's worth noting that no bill passed recently to create this new behavior. It's all done through executive orders and other bureaucratic measures.
Congress has been happy to delegate its authority to the executive branch, the executive obviously likes it, and the judiciary isn't going to contradict both other branches, so more detail oriented democratic measures (legislation, constitutional amendments) have basically fallen away.
Thankfully the U.S. still has peaceful transmission of presidential power between the major parties. For now at least. If there was one-party rule in the executive branch for too long, things would stop looking democratic pretty fast since neither the legislative nor judicial branches seem to be up for getting Congress to do its job again .
 Like actually declaring war, requiring legislation go through the legislature, balancing budgets, passing trade deals, overturning broken laws instead of rewriting them from the bench, and just about everything else besides approving judicial appointments (which is actually happening at a steady clip for the moment).
As an outsider, i.e. European, I found this pretty interesting and alarming – but not surprising given recent developments in politics and the Republican party in particular:
Let's not be too hasty there. It's being severely curtailed at the state level (several states gutting the power of Governor after democrats took that seat in the last election) and who knows what will happen with Trump. He's already screaming about voter fraud, if he loses who knows what's going to happen.
The name of the game is distraction, and to pump so much contrary and competing information at everyone that no one can discern the truth from fiction. It's happening. Now.
From another great HN discussion today, watch this (HyperNormalization by Adam Curtis): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh2cDKyFdyU
We get what we deserve.
We're generally safe, but all the security organizations need to do something to justify themselves, and have ways of thinking that always pursues "greater security" as a direction even if it overshoots what is reasonable for free people.
When security begins to impede freedom, the mandate of security must be placed below the mandate for freedom. Security is there to protect freedom as its ideological basis, so this is an obvious prioritization.
Given that, there's the continual struggle between people not wanting government interference in their lives, but wanting the government to be able to accomplish some goals - people ~universally dislike taxation, but many of us think the government should be permitted to levy taxes to fund itself and programs we would like to see.
When people are uncertain or afraid, they will often make more emotional rather than purely rational decisions about clinging to solutions which purport to offer a way back to safety, even if they don't see or understand how their plan provides that.
And once people have gotten themselves into a belief system which they did not reason their way into, they are far more likely to double down if you attempt to reason them out of it.
Authoritarian measures are the political equivalent of "if you sign here, I promise to do whatever it takes to make [bad thing] stop bothering you", nevermind that "whatever it takes" is something you would never have agreed to otherwise, and probably wouldn't have agreed to before your first emotionally-fraught decision. Government agencies have incentives to favor them, because they believe the authority to do X (especially if they're given a blank check and can fill in Y,Z, and W as additional things) will let them accomplish something more readily.
Because we collectively ask them to. You can't ask them to do a bunch of things you might not consider authoritarian (though others might) and then be surprised when they finally reach your definition of authoritarian. That differing levels of "authoritarian" exists is important to remember when you cheer on extreme government oversight/invasiveness just because you agree with the cause at that time. It's hard to know you've given them a mandate until it's too late. You should disagree with unnecessary government intervention even if you agree w/ the intent, and only accept it as a measure of last resort instead of the increasingly default solution many look towards these days.
e.g. the u.s. impinges on countries around the globe. we could never survive the blowback without strong border security.
as partwise beneficiaries of the booty, we Americans are expected to endure the dangers of releasing our biometry.
to answer your question, the u.s. used to be the oppressed... england left us well-enough alone when we rose up, and we were growing internally, not bombing six countries at once, like we are now. so no one hated us enough and we had little hate for immigrants- we wanted them to help us grow. but then WW2 happened and we sold our souls to Saudi Arabia for oil the grow. And simultaneously, the military industrial complex happened. thats how its been for three generations now and hardly anyone wants to pull out.
yes there were many other terror operations between 1800 and 1940, but their side effects, without widespread media, couldn't be leveraged to stymy the citizenry.
This is hilariously wrong. Almost every single immigrant group to the US has faced discrimination and backlash before being assimilated (if ever). Just because immigration has a net positive doesn't mean people liked it
> Starting in 2009, the TSA deployed Rapiscan Secure 1000 full-body scanners at many airports, phasing them out in 2013. The acquisition of the machines, training for workers, and associated personnel costs (each requires a team of five workers) has exceeded $1 billion. 
> ...former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.
> What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. 
On a macro level, the global population keeps growing ~exponentially on a finite planet. This inevitably results in loss of freedoms/liberty. You can see symptoms of this everywhere.
plus politicians gain power this way by making you fear the other guy. when they cannot find a way to make you not like or trust your neighbor then they drop back to people "over there".
still most would trade a lot of freedom if they don't have to think about their own safety and that is only going to get worse as schools ensure children look to their government for that protection
The truth is the airport security is worse than useless because anyone who wants to kill a lot of people can just use guns, bombs, or vehicles through walls while people are in a dense area.
Is it something that necessarily needs to be taught in order to be practiced?
While I don't know if it's reasonable to think DHS is sufficiently organized and competent to actually put these two parts together w/r/t their "going dark problem", this is probably as good time as any to reiterate that as a best practice biometrics should only be used as username information, not password information.