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Congress Wants Your TSA Stories 328

Posted by timothy
from the and-so-do-I dept.
McGruber writes "Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program challenges and failures will be the focus of a joint hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, on Monday, March 26, 2012. The Hearing is titled 'TSA Oversight Part III: Effective Security or Security Theater?' Bruce Schneier is scheduled to be a witness at this hearing. Additional information on the hearing is posted on the oversight committee's website. The Congressmen who serve on these committees are soliciting questions from the public to ask TSA officials at the hearing ... provided the public is willing to submit their questions via Facebook."
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Congress Wants Your TSA Stories

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  • Re:Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Friday March 23, 2012 @07:38PM (#39457545)

    Is it right to sexually molest every man, woman, and child and get away with it under pretext of security?

    I think we all agree that it is not.
    A better question is - does Congress realize that they have the authority to dismantle TSA? Or are they simply estimating the size of the additional bureaucracy to add to the TSA?

  • Here's my story (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday March 23, 2012 @07:42PM (#39457573)

    I've flown once since 9/11. Helped a friend move across the country then flew home. While I didn't exactly jet all over the world before the TSA was created, I've gone from flying every couple of years to flying once per decade and the main reason for that decline in flying has been the bullshit security theater of the TSA. Take my shoes off and put them in a tray? What the hell for? You can't run a sniffer over them while they're on my feet? When presented with absurdity, I'm wired to decline to participate and the TSA has provided plenty of absurdity. Doesn't mean I'll never fly again but I'll need a good reason.

  • Re:Questions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Friday March 23, 2012 @08:33PM (#39457897) Homepage

    Now a real warning needs to be issued here. Consider the TSA, consider the nature of the people involved, consider their access to highly vulnerable transport infrastructure.

    What will TSA agents do to protect their jobs and their piece of petty power, how far would they go and what are they capable of doing to justify their existence.

    Quite a significant percentage of TSA agents have proven to be of the very worst sort, so would these people bring down a airliner to protect their power base? This investigation could prove quite dangerous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @08:41PM (#39457945)

    The simple fact is the TSA's power is vastly over-reaching.

    Leaving out the lengthy argument about belief and idea based motivations, there are two types of terrorists: Domestic and International.

    With domestic terrorists, your potential list is every citizen in the country. That is the way a fairly open society works. It exists somewhere between totalitarianism, and anarchy. We're somewhere in the middle, where specific sectors of society that shift towards one of the other at any given time. With regard to the TSA, it's to the former, and rapidly. You could profile every citizen, but we have laws against that. You're dealing with the citizenry here, and allowing them to move freely about the country IS a right, despite whatever recent legal wrangling has been wrought out of fear. Stripping ones ability to travel down to the layer of skin under your clothing is a wholesale advertisement that, not only do we not know what we're doing, we don't expect you to know any better either. The level of absurdity for current TSA screening practices is not only criminal, is historically laughable.

    With International terrorists, we have a very real physical boundary. It's called the US border, and depending on how you look at it, you have several $100 Billion dollars expended annually on it to keep it safe. Simple fact is, if a foreign citizen(see non-US citizen) bypasses all the roadblocks we've put in place over the years with the intent to do harm on US soil (and with an airplane no less), against all those vasts sums of money going to Intelligence agencies, physical security, and military mobilization, then our Domestic Security Policy has failed in a manner that needs to be wholly burned and reborn.

    What's even worse is that domestic agencies goad potential suspects, an absurd concept in and of itself, into breaking purported 'Terrorism' Laws in order to drum up support that the threat is still on-going and in your backyard. It's not entrapment, if the Government tricks you into it but you never carry out the act, right?

    With regard to flight travel, no terrorist in their right mind would try and hijack a US airplane now. A green light has essentially been put in place for any air traveler to thwart a would be hi-jacking. Not only would it be thwarted by passengers, there would be cocktails served right after the hi-jacker was stomped into oblivion! And for other methods of disrupting flight, either by detonations or commandeering? You need only look to how secure your airport is for that answer. Here's a clue: IT'S SWISS CHEESE! The only thing I can say about International cargo container security and the US North and Southern borders, is this: SWISS CHEESE!

    The simple fact is, there are ways to do effective Airport and Airplane security. We presently, aren't doing them. The Government has provided the funds, but politics and back-room handshakes have insured they go to key people who intend on implementing policies that provide neither safety, nor security, but make certain Corporations rich (see Chertoff Group). And in some cases, likely harm those providing said security theater as well as those traveling. I'm looking at you, backscatter X-ray machines, uncertified by NIST, and AMA. It also doesn't help that the DHS has set the bar so low for potential employees, that even Felons aren't off the list as screeners. Remember though, that travelers are the problem. Not security personnel.

    It's been said, you deserve the Government elect. We don't deserve security theater and physical intrusion to the point of molestation while traveling. The only thing I can see we deserve out of this, is to be called out for allowing it to continue as long as it has!

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday March 23, 2012 @08:50PM (#39457987)

    Odd... that's like saying WoW is the standard way to play computer games today.

    News flash: It doesn't become a standard just because it's a fad that many follow.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday March 23, 2012 @08:51PM (#39457997)

    So I guess the next elections should be held at Walmart?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @09:01PM (#39458065)

    You yourself claim that "Going where the people are seems like a good thing". At the same time, you claim that "You aren't being prevented from participating in democracy". Well, both are true, kindof. And completely missing the point.

    Suppose we moved to a model of democracy where there is only one polling station in the middle of some desert. But you could also post your ballot at some retailer chain if you have their rebate/bonus/whatever card. You see, nobody would be prevented from voting, also, the card is free, and you could just fake the data, after all. And there are many people there, too, and what's better than going where people are? Anything odd about that idea?

    Now, why is it supposedly good to go where people are? Because it lowers the barrier to participation. If you accept that premise, you essentially acknowlegde that it's not just about whether you have any possibility at all to participate, but also about there being some equal opportunity for everyone. Which is where facebook fails.

    And that's not because of money. All the other methods of access are much less problematic for the simple reason that (a) to use those, you are not required to contract with any particular party, and (b) those options there are are rather heavily regulated and limited in what they can do to the interaction they facilitate. No postal service filtering out mail they don't like. No telco listening in to your calls in order to add some advertising.

    Also, "anonymity" is not just about "being associated with you 'real' name". It's also about correlation between different interactions of yours. As far as facebook is concerned, it's actually more about that. It's mostly irrelevant to them what your "real" name is as long as they can recognize you. In order to create a profile of you, your name just doesn't matter. And multiple accounts are not allowed, AFAIK. So in order to easily participate in this (and presumably future) discussion(s), you are required to make your profile information accessible to one particular private entity.

  • Re:Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Friday March 23, 2012 @11:09PM (#39458589)

    That was my first thought (the weak dollar part, not the conspiracy theory part), but it fails to explain why US tourism has continued to rise in the 2008-2011 period, despite the dollar rebounding during those years. Your chart stops at the start of 2008, which was about as low the dollar got. It hit bottom a few months later, in April of 2008, at around 72 points. Since then, it has bounced back and is hovering around 80 points. Here's my source. [fxstreet.com]

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday March 24, 2012 @07:03AM (#39459769) Homepage Journal

    STARTED? They've started admitting it, maybe. All along it has been more difficult to post political content to facebook than vapid bullshit.

    I've done numerous tests where several politically-charged links failed in a row; their previews come up quickly, so I know facebook can access the sites, but when you click submit the link doesn't appear attached to the status update. You used to be able to tell when this had happened to someone's post because it was posted "via links" but they removed that tag from the updates so that you can't tell when a link has been removed.

    Even worse, I went back through my timeline and lo and behold, a bunch of the links I've posted are now missing, and furthermore, the ones that are missing are links with political content. Links to some vapid entertainment bullshit are still there.

    Facebook has been censoring political content for years. It's what got me to start using G+, in fact. So far everything I've posted there remains visible at least to me, so if Google is hiding my political speech from people, I don't know about it.

  • by John.Banister (1291556) * on Saturday March 24, 2012 @03:30PM (#39462013) Homepage
    If I have to join Facebook to talk to Congress, does that mean that Facebook has to be regulated as a public utility?

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