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Full-Body Scanning / Security / Airport Security / TSA / Naked Travel / SNL / TV Travel / Comedy Travel / → All Tags
Did you happen to catch Saturday Night Live on Saturday night (of course)? Yea, we didn't either, but that's what Hulu is for. And this last episode is especially worth digging up online because it featured some pretty spot-on sketches, including a very sexy "commercial" for the the TSA's new enhanced airport security pat-downs.
In the short segment, which you can view above, the girls of SNL begin as if it's an ad for a phone sex line, but then Bill Hader, Keenan Thompson and Bobby Moynihan show up in airport security uniforms, and demonstrate that they're more than ready with their blue gloves and big wands to make you feel "a personal touch" next time you head through airport security. Here's our favorite lines:
Bad Ideas / TSA / Airport Security / Security / → All Tags
There are two parts to this story. The first broke at the beginning of the year, when TSA took Americans' legitimate privacy concerns over next-generation scanners and used them as a punchline. In a particularly tone deaf move, they launched a recruitment drive promising that "x-ray vision and federal benefits come standard" for their employees. Charming.
The second part, reported a few days ago, involves TSA's innovative new campaign for getting their obnoxious pitch to the widest possible audience. What they could have done is pull the slogan, perhaps nodding towards the watchdog groups who questioned whether a federal agency should be yucking it up over citizen discomfort. Instead they renewed their recruitment effort, slapping the phraseno jokeon the back of DC-area pizza boxes. Welcome to the next generation of TSA employees.
Airport Security / TSA / Airport Hell / Delays / Airport News / Singapore Travel / SIN / Security / → All Tags
We've long since given up any hope that TSA will adjust their seemingly arbitrary and often moronic carry-on confiscation rules. You'd think that the knowledge that they're uselessly defending us tomorrow from yesterday's attack, coupled with the realization that scrutinizing lotion bottles is causing them to sometimes miss upwards of 90% of hidden weapons, would change their focus.
Instead they just announced that summer travel is going to be hell because they don't have enough staff to juggle all their new useless scanners and all of the bags that need to be hand-search for orange juice or whatever.
Which brings us to the experiment being run at Singapore's Terminal 1. SIN and the Singapore Post have launched a two-month pilot project to deliver potentially confiscated goods back to people's homes or ahead to their destinations. Dubbed Speedpost@Changi, the joint service is targeted at people who unknowingly try to carry valuable contraband items through checkpoints.
Airport Security / Full-Body Scanning / Security / TSA / Technology / Naked Travel / BDL / → All Tags
See that tripod gadget pictured above? If you oppose the use of Full-Body Scanners or just have privacy issues, better give it a wide berth next time you're at the airport because it's remotely strip-searching you.
Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT is among the first to install and use this new scanner, called an SPO-7, which uses passive millimeter wave technology to "spot hidden objects on people as they move through the airport." Oh yea, and TSA officers are also able to capture images of people using it. And you won't know nor feel a thing as they do so.
Full-body scanners have been on our radar for quite sometime, and we’ve tried to shed some light into what they do and what airports are using them. They’re supposed to keep us a little safer and to ensure airport security, but it seems that the scanners are doing a little law enforcement on the side as well.
Apparently the full-body scanners haven’t found any explosives yet, but they are finding all kinds of other good stuff—the stuff that requires local law enforcement to make a trip to the security lines. There have been passengers attempting to bring along a little bit of illegal in-flight entertainment, but the scanners have been preventing all sorts of drugs from making it on board. This concerns some people as drugs aren’t bombs, and the TSA might be infringing on some constitutional rights.
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Flying into the US anytime soon? You'll be among the first to experience (or hopefully not experience) revamped security checks as President Obama has just signed new security protocols that take into account mistakes made on the day that the Christmas underwear bomber slipped through security.
For one, the new protocols do away with the mandatory full-body pat-downs and bag checks of travelers entering the United States from 14 specific terrorist-associated countries and replace them with a better filtered system for distinguishing who's closer to actually being a terrorist. According to The Age, the new system "will instead select passengers based on possible matches to intelligence information, including physical descriptions or a particular travel pattern."
But with all of the news reports and even the Pope speaking out against them, it feels like there is greater resistance than that. Apparently the thought of having getting through security quickly and without a fuss trumps people's privacy issues, and also the idea of having a possible bomb-wielding terrorist onboard is enough to scare people into putting up with the full-body scanning machines. But this isn't the only surprising response that Tripadvisor found.
More statistics, after the jump
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Remember back in January when that romantic fool crossed through security at Newark Liberty International Airport to give his honey a little smooch? Well, last week he pleaded guilty to defiant trespass. His lawyer was quick to point out that it’s really no big deal, and that it is even considered a crime in the state of New Jersey. No hard time for this guy, but we’re sure there are a few people that were stuck at the airport that day that would have liked to see him picking up trash on the NJ Turnpike.
The sneaky kisser—Haisong Jiang—is really sorry about the whole incident and is prepared to pay up. He’ll be slapped with a $500 fine, some court costs, and he will be assigned to 100 hours of community service. Right now the community service specifics haven’t been figured out, but he’s hoping it will be at a hospital or soup kitchen.
Full-Body Scanning / Security / Airport Security / TSA / Airports / Airport News / CDG / BOS / ORD / → All Tags
It's been too long since last time we really delved into the full-body scanning controversy, aside from that brief bit about the Pope hating full-body scanners. And now that more and more of the pricey, privacy-invading machines are being ordered up and delivered to airports, we thought it was about time to take another look at where you'll be encountering the massive gadgets.
The newest airports to the full-body scanning game are Chicago O'Hare and Boston Logan, with Boston welcoming their first of three scanners only yesterday. O'Hare is expecting to get their this week as well, and it will go into Terminal 1 with United, which means a significant amount of O'Hare flights will be screened throught them since this is United's home base. But although the scanners have arrived, they won't be operational and pushed on the passengers for another few weeks as employee training finishes and the things get plugged in.
Vive le full-body scan! More international airports join in, after the jump
Airport Security / El Al / Israel Travel / TLV / Security / Airlines / Airline Industry / Airline News / → All Tags
We think of El Al getting Global Traveler's Best Airline Security award the same way we approach The Amazing Race winning the annual Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Emmy: who else would get it? The designation, voted on by over 25,000 of the magazine's readers, has been around for three years and has never gone to any airline but El Al. This year's poll was no exception.
The striking thing about Israel's national airlineand this is a point we've tried to make again and again in the context of TSAis that while their upfront security measures are obsessive, once you get past screening everything goes smoothly. This is true whether you're flying to Israel from a tiny airport or leaving the country from Tel Aviv. Passengers are asked to show up three hours in advance, every individual is interviewed in line by an agent, all baggage is screened, and so on. But once you've been cleared, that's that. No nonsense about taking off your shoes, no school-teacher scolding about when you can or can't touch your bags, no scribbled codes on your boarding pass. If you begin with basic competence, everything else falls into place.
It seems like since the Christmas Day crotch bomber, everyone and their moms have been sounding off on airport security, but apparently it's not a real topic until the Pope adds his two cents. That's right; Pope Benedict XVI has an official stance on full-body scanners, and if he's saying it, that means it's the stance of the Catholic Church and...umm...God's stance too?
You can probably already guess what he said, that body scanners violate the integrity of a person and that "It is essential never to lose sight of respect for the primacy of the person." He made these comments over the weekend during a "meeting"but we're betting it was a Papal audiencewith airline employees, including airport and airline executives, pilots, flight attendants and ground staff. It must have been a holy day of aviation.
The Transportation Security Administrationaka Jaunted's 2009 Biggest Villainwants more of your money. Technically they want more of the airlines' money, but since airlines get their money from customers it's kind of an academic point.
At issue is an increased "security fee" that now seems certain to pass Congress. There hasn't been an increase in the fee since 2001, not because we didn't need more security but because it was believed that the industry couldn't sustain it. Airlines have apparently been having a rough few years, losing roughly $60 billion since 2001.