Posts Tagged ‘security’

DFW Airport Security Showed Some Sense…

19 June 2011

CNN has a report (here) about a couple jokers who got stuck overnight at the airport after their connecting flight was canceled.

The two guys did a video of themselves being happy idiots at various places, pretending to be gate agents, racing in wheelchairs, and similar stuff. The only thing they did that was wrong was when one of them found an unlocked beer tap and poured and drank one for himself. He even washed the glass and cleaned up after himself.

The two guys were apparently being watched the entire time by airport security people via the video cameras that are ubiquitous at DFW.

So this could have been a bad story. But surprising to me, the security people who were watching used their heads and didn’t call in the SWAT team. The watchers could have over-reacted as so many “security” people do, and had the guys arrested “in case” they might do actual damage.

This is part of the “no risks” mindset a lot of security people have, which is really a variation on the no-tolerance school of thought that has permeated many, well, schools.

So kudos to the DFW security people. The one consequence of this is that the restaurant that was left open, and had access to its beer tap available, was notified so they could fix that situation.

And to his credit, the guy who drank the beer said that he would come and pay for it the next time he flew through.

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“Security” In The Nations Capitol

9 July 2010

This evening the kids and I took a walk around the White House, the Washington Monument, and other areas in our nations capitol.

Today we saw a lot of “security” as we went into our great museums. However, as we walked just to the east of the White House, next to the US Treasury, I saw yet another example that just seemed ridiculous.

A couple had been walking about 20 meters ahead of us. I noticed a uniformed guard ahead of them, standing next to the building. As we passed the Treasury building, the couple ahead of us stopped and sat down together on the steps.

I will say right away, there we no warnings, no barriers, no doors into the building, *nothing* about the two short steps that ran probably 30 meters along the building.

The guard swung into action, and SHOUTED at the couple “Hey, you have to get up! No loitering! This is a security zone!”. They moved, while the guard muttered to himself as we walked by him.

This to me is emblematic of what is wrong with the security culture of DC.

First of all, what is the threat? The couple was not bearing bombs, or carrying guns. They were sitting facing away from the building. There were no signs, and the road had traffic on it.

The guard over-reacted. But the reason is the culture of security, the desire to keep everybody away from important things, even in the absence of a threat. Or rather, *everyone* is a threat

This is our fault as a society. We bought into the culture of fear encouraged by Bush and Cheny, who were the accomplices of the 9/11 terrorists in this respect.

We need to shake this fear off, to survive as a country.

A Minor Website Fail

3 January 2010

I use the Air Force Material Command Microsoft Exchange webmail quite a lot. In general, it’s a fairly reliable service; it usually works even when my Outlook client has a temper tantrum (which is distressingly often). The webmail client doesn’t support digital signatures or encryption for some reason, but hopefully it’s being worked.

One funny thing it does is on logoff – the webserver consistently returns a page that tells me I am not authorized to view the logoff page:

I think that whoever set up the permissions for this page just didn’t fully think the security permissions part all the way through. I’ve identified this to the webmasters for the page, but no response yet (it’s only been about a year, though).

The Transportation “Security” Administration

15 June 2009

I’m at DFW airport. Earlier today I passed through OKC on the way here.

I go through a lot of airports and so see a lot of TSA and other activity. Today, there were two lines open in the west side security gate. There were two people checking IDs and boarding passes, and two people doing nothing but watching the two people checking IDs and boarding passes.

As I took off my shoes (another stupid and pointless exercise that adds NO value to “security”), there were two people running the two x-rays, and two people carrying tubs from one end of the xray to the other, and two people waving people through the metal detector. And FOUR people watching them. There were other TSA people hanging out in the private screening area.

One note – as usual, I show my boarding pass to the metal detector guy, who says “don’t need it anymore”. WTH? It was a stupid requirement in the first place, but I just can’t believe that it’s not a requirement any more. Maybe the idiot that proposed it got their SES promotion or whatever, and moved on.

I walked down to the AA gate. About 20 min later, here come four TSA people, two have Official Looking Clipboards. The gate agent announces that the TSA is there for “additional screening”. They array themselves around the entrance to the jetbridge. Two of them look over the line of boarders and point at every fifth or so person – that person has to produce an ID and show their boarding pass. The other two stand there at the head of the line with Official Clipboards (doing who knows what, but given that it’s TSA, are probably WATCHING the two doing the actual shakedowns, er, screening). I let a woman into line ahead of me, and they got her. Sorry, ma’am.

Almost every trip, my bag is opened after I check it, and the TSA leaves a note that they have been rooting around in there. I suspect it’s because I carry a number of external disks and cables and such.

One other thing I’ve noted at several airports (RNO is one). Before a flight departs, a number of TSA people (they always travel in packs) push a cart loaded with stuff in boxes to the boarding area, then watch everyone board. I wonder what’s in the boxes – maybe radiation detection gear?

They took a fork from me a couple years ago. I had carried one to work to eat lunch, and then put it into my backpack and forgot about it. Raegan had to drive out to the airport to retrieve it; it probably got some yutz a promotion.

29 June 2009 Update:

I have passed through TSA screening at five airports in the past couple weeks. In each case but one, the metal detector monitor did not even glance at my boarding pass like they used to. So at OMA, I go through, and the TSA metal detector person DOES look at my boarding pass. No one was in line behind me, so I ask what the heck? The TSA person groans and rolls eyes, and says that the Omaha airport people (administrators? police?) insist that the TSA people still check the boarding passes. The TSA person says that it was stupid and still is stupid (which I heartily agree with).

One other thing about OMA: in early May, a coworker and I drove out to OMA to pick up a couple people. I pulled up to the curb outside of bag claim and started in, leaving my coworker in the car. A local Omaha cop quite rudely ordered that the car be MOVED NOW. I said that I was going in to get our people (they were standing inside the door), and the cop says no YOU HAVE TO MOVE THE CAR, even though it was attended. I told my coworker that she had to move the car because the cop ordered it and he pops off that it was a POLICE REQUIREMENT.

It does not do to try to reason with apes with guns, so she had to go park in the structure for the couple minutes it took to get our pickups out to the car. I cannot believe that airports are so ripe a target to justify this kind of behavior. I wonder if it’s just that the cops want you to park in the garage so they are helping extort parking money from people.