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Entries in airport security (66)

Tuesday
May072013

Where Will 3-D Printing Go Now?

Get your 3-D printed gun blueprints!

As you've probably read, blueprints for the world's first 3-D printed gun, “The Liberator,” are now available online and, not surprisingly, causing quite a stir.

"The Liberator" blueprints are available at DefCad.com. For now, you need an industrial-level 3-D printer, and proper training, to create a 3-D gun. But the company that designed the printable gun wants to modify the design for use in a less-expensive hobbyist 3-D printer.

As of today, the blueprints have been downloaded more than 70,000 times, probably, as MSNBC points out, by a lot of curious people and only a few actual 3-D printer folks. But this development is already begging a lot of interesting questions: Are 3-D printed guns actually legal? (Legislation is in the works to ban all-plastic 3-D printed guns.) Are they safe? And, beyond guns, what else might be 3-D printed in the future?

Legislators are concerned that 3-D plastic guns will be too difficult to spot with metal detectors, enabling the owners to sneak them into otherwise restricted areas, like schools and airports. You might argue that the damage is already done, since the blueprints have been strewn across the Internet for all to download. But what if the future holds blueprints of bombs and even more deadly guns?

What are your thoughts on these “Wiki Weapons”?

Monday
Nov262012

TSA, Meet 'Opt Out and Film' Week

Thanksgiving week is a tough one for travelers. But this year, it was even tougher for TSA thanks to the 2012 version of the original "Opt Out" effort. Over the last several days, the Opt Out and Film campaign has encouraged travelers to opt out of being scanned by advanced imaging technology, and then film what happens next.

Here, Dan Dicks of Press For Truth leads the charge at Buffalo International Airport and is met with plenty of resistance and attempted intimidation. Luckily, Americans everywhere - even in small numbers - are still resisting advanced imaging technology, for a whole host of reasons.

As the Opt Out and Film organizers said: "If Americans can be trained to put up with this level of intrusion, they will accept anything."

Tuesday
May012012

Harrassed by TSA? Now, There’s an App for That

No one is a fan of the Transportation Security Administration’s screening tactics. But for some travelers, a trip through airport security is worse than others. Enter FlyRights.

FlyRights is a new app, designed by the Sikh Coalition, that enables travelers to report instances of airport profiling by TSA officials, in real-time. Officials from TSA and the Department of Homeland Security will review each app-submitted complaint.  

Before the app became available yesterday, complaints had to be filed on TSA’s website. But the ability to submit real-time complaints can only be a benefit to travelers. It will help them to remember each detail of their experience, right after it happened, and increase the transparency of TSA’s operations.

“The TSA asserts it doesn’t profile. This application will allow us to better assess whether that’s true,” Amardeep Singh, director of programs at the Sikh Coalition, told ABC News. “All travelers now have an easy way of speaking to their government on the issue of airport profiling.”

The Sikh Coalition was inspired to create this app after finding that Sikhs at some airports are subjected to secondary screening 100 percent of the time. What a stressful, time-consuming ordeal to experience every time you fly.

The app was developed with input from DHS and various civil rights groups in the black, Latino, South Asian, and Muslim communities.

Ready to let TSA hear what you think? Download FlyRights here.

Thursday
Apr262012

CLEAR is Back! 

CLEAR, the biometric-screening program that lets members speed through airport security checkpoints, is back, baby. After a brief hiatus, in certain cities, the expedited lanes are available at Denver International, Orlando International, San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth airports.

Pay an annual membership fee of $179 (or less for a corporate rate) to skip the lengthy security lines that plague these major airports.

After completing online registration, you receive instructions to visit an enrollment center with a driver's license and passport (or other approved ID) to complete enrollment. During the security clearance process, CLEAR will collect biometric scans of your fingerprints and irises. Those biometrics will be linked to a chip-enhanced card, which ensures that you are who you say you are.

Since a CLEAR member has already been screened and scanned, he or she can sail on through, right past TSA.

More than 85,000 members have already signed up, and the program will only become more popular as TSA ridiculousness continues.

Enroll in CLEAR right here.

Tuesday
Dec272011

Airport Security: They're Doin' It Wrong

In the midst of the busiest travel season of all, I've been doing a lot of thinking about airport security.

Maybe it's because we just just passed the two-year anniversary of the Underwear Bomber incident that took TSA to a whole new level. Or maybe it's because I had a heinous travel experience last night that included an overheated airport, lots of wasted time and my first "enhanced" pat-down.

Let's say it's the former.

Either way, there has to be a method for better processing air passengers that will ensure their safety while still letting them maintain some amount of privacy and dignity. The enhanced pat-down is not the answer; turns out, it's just as invasive as people have claimed. I couldn't get my face to un-blush for 10 minutes.

Then maybe I should have simply opted for the millimeter wave scanner. But since the jury is still out on the safety (and effectiveness) of these devices, I'll take my chances with Disgruntled TSA Agent No. 422.

So what's the answer? I think trusted traveler programs are a step in the right direction. Heathrow recently installed facial recognition scanners that will verify the identity of member travelers. These additional screening lanes would let frequent travelers breeze through, cutting down on long wait times and stressed-out TSA workers.

Even TSA's new program, PreCheck, seems to be a step in the right direction. It gives airport security agents the kind of information that airlines already collect and store on their frequent fliers, like how they paid for their tickets, their flight history and home addresses. So far, the program includes about 85,000 members between the two airlines that are currently participating, American and Delta.

“What we are trying to do is find that needle in the haystack,” said John S. Pistole, the head of the TSA, when the program launched. “If we can reduce that haystack, it can help us. We have to have a starting point someplace. The intelligence tells us a number of things, but the great likelihood is that a very frequent flier is not going to be a terrorist.”

Obviously, programs like PreCheck aren't the ultimate answer. In fact, some passengers are already raising concerns about the fairness of trusted traveler programs. One argument is that they favor frequent fliers, a group which includes a disproportionate amount of wealthy people. This has some worried that lower-income passengers will be unfairly subjected to more extensive screening.

Until the Total Recall airport screening machine is invented, we may have to make do with our current security theater mess. Oh wait: That thing took full-body, unprotected x-rays. OK, who's got a better idea?