thewayne: (Cyranose)
The beloved Department of Homeland Security is providing grants to help municipalities equip public transit buses, and in the case of San Francisco, vintage trolleys, with video surveillance. But they're also installing microphones throughout the vehicle, including one outside, so they can get synchronized audio. Baltimore, MD considered doing this and briefly backed down when they considered that this might constitute illegal wiretap, but the city attorney said that posting warning signs should counter that.

So it's time to break out the infrared baseball caps and find a source for high frequency white noise generators.

Speaking of which, Hawaii 5-0 last week based their story around the concept of bank robbers with IR LED's sewn in to their clothing to defeat surveillance cameras. And the crime lab tech called it "high tech". I can go to Radio Shack and buy the components for probably $5 to do it, all you need is an IR LED, a diode, a resistor, a battery, and you're set. High tech? Yeah, right.
thewayne: (Default)
One million British travellers planning to fly to Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico this year face the risk of being turned away at the airport – at the insistence of the US Department of Homeland Security.

New rules require British Airways and other airlines flying to certain airports outside America to submit passengers' personal data to US authorities. The information is checked against a "No Fly" list containing tens of thousands of names. Even if the flight plan steers well clear of US territory, travellers whom the Americans regard as suspicious will be denied boarding.

Wow. How long until everyone from any country has to be screened by DHS before boarding any flight anywhere?
thewayne: (Default)

So I guess the easiest thing to do if you're traveling to another country and returning is to replace your hard drive, fresh install the OS, install the minimum amount of programs and data that you need, and be ready to lose your equipment when you return to the good ol' U.S. of A.

From the article: In dissent, Judge Betty Fletcher wrote that the government should have had a better reason to search Cotterman other than him being a convicted in 1992 of child molestation.

“I add my voice to the chorus lamenting the apparent demise of the Fourth Amendment,” Fletcher wrote.
thewayne: (Default)
"Documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) suggest that the US Department of Homeland Security has signed contracts for the development of mobile and static systems that can be used scan pedestrians and people at rail and bus stations and special event venues — apparently at times without their knowledge. Under consideration: An Intelligent Pedestrian Surveillance platform; an X-Ray Backscatter system that could detect concealed metallic and high-density plastic objects on people from up to 10 meters away; a walk-through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest, which could be installed in corridors and likely scan people walking through it without them knowing it, EPIC said."

So it wouldn't matter if you're pregnant, if you're already at your life-long limit for radiation therapy following 4 cancers, if you have an impaired immune system -- you're going to get scanned! You have no choice, no opt-out. If you go in to certain events or venues, or if you just happen to be walking down the street and a van drives by: dude, you're getting a scan!

Homeland Security and Congress really need to learn about the concept of accepted risk. I accept the risk that every time I drive down the mountain, I could have an accident. Hell, I could get hit by someone and my car could fall down a several hundred feet ravine, which would really suck. I accept risk whenever I order food in a restaurant that they follow proper sanitization procedures and cook my food properly. I acknowledge that any time I'm walking down the street, I could be hit by a micrometeorite. LIFE IS NOT SAFE, RANDOM SHIT HAPPENS. You cannot be protected against every possible danger, and adding an unneeded radiation load to people randomly does not significantly increase safety of the population as a whole.

To make air travel reasonably safe, armor cockpit doors and pilots board and depart when no passengers are on board, and that door is sealed at all other times. X-ray ALL baggage and cargo that goes on the plane. All passengers AND CREW go through a magnetometer gate and all carry-on items are x-rayed, just like before and always. And issue every passenger a katana, like on Kill Bill. Or a taser. Maybe not the last suggestion. At least make tasers available to the flight crew. You have now made it extremely difficult to hijack a plane or blow it up with items brought on board. Add people with excellent profiling and soft questioning skills, and you have pretty darn good security.

Remember: the Moscow airport bombing occurred OUTSIDE of the security zone. You can kill lots of people with a bomb wherever there is a bottleneck and people are required to bunch up.

I think we should pass a law that ALL CITIZENS are issued a katana and must train with it. Just think of how much safer we all would be!

[sarcasm:off] (or is it?....)
thewayne: (Default)
Bruce Schneier collected many links of interest on the issue. Included are some t-shirts, I wouldn't mind having a couple of them and may be placing an order.

One of the links is from a TSA officer who surveyed 20 colleagues at various airports. 17 responded, all of them do not like the procedure or the increase in abuse that they are receiving.

Representative Ron Paul has introduced a bill that says the following:


No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a Federal employee or agency or any individual or entity that receives Federal funds, who subjects an individual to any physical contact (including contact with any clothing the individual is wearing), x-rays, or millimeter waves, or aids in the creation of or views a representation of any part of a individual's body covered by clothing as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft. The preceding sentence shall apply even if the individual or the individual's parent, guardian, or any other individual gives consent."

A link to the bill is in Schneier's post.

And finally, an interview with a security expert who describes how airline passenger screening is handled in ISRAEL. They move a passenger through security in 25 MINUTES. SAFELY. It's a very good story, and it is based on sensible procedures. And Israeli security hasn't been breached in 8 years.


Time to contact our Congresscritters and TSA officials, actually it's past-time. You can get their addresses, both snail and email, at and
thewayne: (Default)
Wednesday, November 24. If you're flying, and have some time, demand a pat-down in a private room by the TSA rather than the body scanner. The intent is that if enough people do it across the country, it will send a message to government that these scanners are too much. The Electronic Privacy Information Center have sought a court order to stop the use of these devices as it has been proven before that the promise by the TSA that the images will not be stored is false, there has even been an assault by one TSA employee on another after the second made fun of the first's genitals while demonstrating the machines.

It's a definite monkey wrench attempt against the TSA and airline industry, and the airline industry is talking to government after receiving letters of complaint from travelers saying they will not fly again because of these scanners.

I only wish I were flying on the 24th, but we're not, we'll be driving to Phoenix late.
thewayne: (Default)
In an effort to herd more people through the full body scanners at airports, the TSA is making the opt-out pat-downs 'more vigorous', including moving their hands up your leg until the meet "resistance", i.e., your scrotum. I'm not sure where they stop for women.

I don't care. I have an immune disorder which is a direct reflection of a genetic problem, which means that I really shouldn't be exposed unnecessarily to ionizing radiation. So it's going to be pat-downs for me.

There was an interesting observation in the comments on Slashdot, that if you're required to fly as part of your business that you might have the grounds for a sexual harassment lawsuit, in that your choices are to be molested or exploitively photographed.
thewayne: (Default)
It states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed "inappropriate for government access."

The categories include:
Controversial opinion
Criminal activity
Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content

I don't really have too much of a problem with this. They're blocking websites from work computers, and employers have the right to filter web content from the computers their employees use. I find their definitions kind of nebulous in that they don't have solid standards, so this would have the potential to be extremely capricious.

After this news broke, the TSA has reversed their ruling and said they won't filter.

I did database work for Phoenix Police for nine years. Even though our internet connection came through the City, our line was unfiltered because investigators had to have unfettered access to the internet. For the most part, this was not abused, but there will always be people who abuse internet access.
thewayne: (Default)
I really love the article title: Too Scary To Fly, Not Scary Enough To Arrest. "Ten U.S citizens and residents, three of whom are veterans, are stuck abroad or cannot fly within or out of the United States because they are wrongly on a no-fly list, according to a federal lawsuit lodged Wednesday. The suit was filed by the ACLU in Oregon. Senator Ted Kennedy was on the additional screening list.

Here's a list of the names:

* Adama Bah, 22-year-old citizen of Guinea was granted refugee status and lives in New York. She is barred from flying from the United States.
* Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye, a 49-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and imam of Oregon, is denied flight to Dubai, where his daughter lives.
* Ayman Latif, a 32-year-old U.S. citizen and disabled Marine veteran residing in Egypt, is denied flight from Egypt to the United States for medical evaluation.
* Steven Washburn, a 54-year-old U.S. citizen and Air Force veteran, is denied flight to United States from Britain.
* Raymond Earl Kneable IV, a 29-year-old U.S. Citizen and Army veteran, recently traveled from United States to Colombia to get married and visit relatives. He is barred from returning to California.
* Halime Sat, a 28-year-old German citizen and U.S. resident, is barred from flying from the United States.
* Nagib Ali Ghaleb, a 39-year-old U.S. citizen, is stuck in Yemen where he traveled from California to visit family.
* Samir Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, is trapped in Yemen where he traveled from California to visit family.
* Abdullatif Muthanna, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen, is stuck in Yemen where he traveled from New York to visit family members.
* Saleh Omar, a 35-year-old lawful U.S. resident, is denied flight to United States from Yemen, where he was visiting relatives.

A disabled Marine Veteran, injured during their service, not allowed to return to the US for medical treatment. The list has no photographs, no fingerprints, just a name. And if your name is on the list....

One of the commentators suggested they change their name to George Bush.
thewayne: (Default)
At issue was a guy who, upon returning from South Korea, had his laptop searched and the inspectors found alleged child porn. The way the picture was described sounded more like an artistic shot to me, but there are other peculiar circumstances about the guy's behavior during his interview with Customs. So they seized his laptop. And it wasn't searched again for another six months.

The judge ruled, basically, that the first search did not require a warrant, but the second search many months later did.

I think the best solution was suggested by a comment to the original article: blank laptop, VPN connection.
thewayne: (Default)
The new ones that see under your clothes? Some scientists are now saying that they think the equivalent amount of radiation may not be calculated correctly and they are not certain how much radiation the machine is pumping out.

I wasn't planning on using them and now I'm definitely not. I already have one mutation causing my immune disorder, I don't need to stack more on top of it.

Here's another interesting story on Googleitis, people diagnosing themselves (usually wrong) using the internet. I find it amusing, but it also strikes a deep note in me as that's how we diagnosed my condition. We went to two specialists. One said no, I had not had pneumonia, that it was all caused by asthma (103f temperature? I don't think so.) My immunologist was initially chasing an allergies line, saying that CVID in a person my age was extremely rare. Guess what? 10% of the population of CVID people are diagnosed in my age decade. Not exactly rare. If we had not pushed for an IgG test, there's no telling how much longer I'd be waiting for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
thewayne: (Default)
I post this as a curiosity. It's really just a timing weirdness: had he been added to the list a few hours earlier, he might have been prevented from boarding. As it was, he was peacefully taken off the flight by law enforcement agents and nothing happened.
thewayne: (Default)
One had his M-4 rifle and shotgun unsecured in a closet when his house was burgled, another left hit pistol on the front seat of his running vehicle while he went in to a convenience store, another left his in a fast food restroom and it was gone when he went back for it.

I worked for the police department for 9 years doing computer work. I heard a story of an FTO sergeant (Field Training Officer, they're in charge of rookies after they graduate from the academy) who was quite nasty (as well he should). When he saw a male trainee go to the restroom at the precinct, he'd wait a couple of minutes, then go in. If the trainee was in a stall, he'd sneak up to the stall and suddenly reach his arm over the door, trying to snag the cop's holster belt if he'd hung it on the door's hook. Needless to say, if he got the gun belt the trainee was in a lot of trouble. Proper procedure was to hang the gun belt around your neck while you're sitting doing your business.

Losing guns when you're in law enforcement happens. Cars get burgled, etc. But 74% from laxity?
thewayne: (Default)
The new ones that effectively removes your clothes and reveal you in all your natural glory? Well, our first story is that, when the machine is in test mode, it can send the image to a remote location. TSA said they cannot. They also say that test mode will be disabled before they will be delivered to airports and that they cannot be put in to test mode by airport TSA agents. And computers can't be hacked across the internet.

The fine article:

Our second article is quite amusing. Germans, seemingly amusingly pissed off at these scanners, staged a nude (well, sorta nude) demonstration at an airport. The article has a couple of wonderful lines, including "’s unclear if the scanners would be able to detect explosives hidden in body cavities and would therefore likely provide only minimal security."

And "Although Amsterdam has been conducting a test pilot of full-body scanners since 2006, the armed passenger was not scanned by one of the devices before boarding his flight to Detroit. European Union regulations do not currently allow mandatory use of the equipment."

The second fine article:
thewayne: (Default)
Apparently a pilot program started under the previous administration is deploying which will be scanning people's fingerprints as they are LEAVING the country. Supposedly they will only be scanning non-US citizen's prints. I'm sure there will be zero scope creep on this one.,homeland-security-to-scan-fingerprints-of-travellers-exiting-the-us.aspx

And a man came to the US from Singapore to see family. He's a cancer patient and takes a drug of "chronic inflammation of the palms or soles of the feet and the skin can peel, bleed and develop ulcers or blisters -- or what is known as hand-foot syndrome." As a result, you can actually lose your fingerprints.

He's been on the drug for three years.

He was detained by Customs for four hours because they couldn't get a fingerprint from him. But he was eventually let in.
thewayne: (Default)
Yep, your tax dollars hard at work.

First, TSA employee caught hording with $200,000 worth of stolen goods to be sold on eBay. And as of right now, you can't even demand a receipt if they seize your laptop at the border, but there is a possibility of a new bill forcing DHS to receipt seized equipment and return them in a reasonable time frame. I can find the links if anyone is interested.

"... a search of his house found a great deal of property pilfered from the un-witnessed searches that occurred after luggage had been checked, where the rightful owner was not allowed. 'Among the items seized were 66 cameras, 31 laptop computers, 20 cell phones, 17 sets of electronic games, 13 pieces of jewelry, 12 GPS devices, 11 MP3 players, eight camera lenses, six video cameras and two DVD players, the affidavit said.'"

So if you've flown through Newark in the last year or so and lost something electronic...

Second, Bruce Schneier and a reporter play games with airport security, including wearing Osama Bin Laden t-shirts, carrying books on jihad, not carrying ID, and splashing water on their face to make it look like they're sweating. TSA security's response? "Don't let it happen again."

Now don't you feel much safer?

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