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Big Brother Is Watching You...Idiotically
March 6, 2003 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Nominate the world's stupidest security procedure. UK-based watchdog group, Privacy International, is accepting nominations until March 15th from the general public about the most annoying and invasive security measures with the lowest effectiveness in protecting individual safety. What would you nominate?
posted by jonp72 (19 comments total)

 
CAPPS II might be a contender, assuming it qualifies since it's still only being tested.
posted by homunculus at 9:47 PM on March 6, 2003


Here's a good one: under the Patriot Act, eal estate attorneys become government informants.
posted by homunculus at 9:58 PM on March 6, 2003


Er, real estate attorneys, that is.
posted by homunculus at 10:00 PM on March 6, 2003


Having recently flown several times since our nation's "increased security," I continue to be dumbfounded at being asked during check-in if I am carrying any specific weapons onto the flight, or if I am carrying any specific weapons on behalf of anyone.

I say, was this honor system tested before being implemented as a... safety precaution?
posted by bluedaniel at 10:01 PM on March 6, 2003


teacher fingerprinting would have to be right up there. [warning: criminally ugly layout]
posted by boltman at 10:22 PM on March 6, 2003


explosive detection swabs on golf clubs, especially golf clubs that have been recently used on courses that have been recently treated with postassium-based liquid fertilizers, which is just about all of them. Whoop-whoop-whoop!
posted by UncleFes at 10:31 PM on March 6, 2003


Thanks for the link, jonp72.

I work in computer security.

sigh

Therefore, for me Privacy International's Stupid Security Competition will be the Darwin Awards, the Razzies, and the Edward Bulwar-Lytton Prize all rolled into one.

So far, I really like the chances for "UK School Plans Retinal Scans in the Dinner Queue" to place in the top ten.

Of course, I fully expect to see " Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?" to resurface and at least make a showing.
posted by Dunvegan at 10:50 PM on March 6, 2003


I continue to be dumbfounded at being asked during check-in if I am carrying any specific weapons onto the flight, or if I am carrying any specific weapons on behalf of anyone.

Obviously this is not going to catch a terrorist. But there has been at least one case, since 911, of a guy who apparently left a gun in his carry-on luggage completely accidentally, and it was missed by security. Now, suppose this guy opens his carry-on on the flight, discovers the gun, holds it up... Oops. Chaos ensues.

I think the question is just to jog the memory of the innocent but absent-minded.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:03 PM on March 6, 2003


Hmmm. Well, not really intrusive, but certainly stupid and pointless, and almost enough to make me feel sorry for the security people this fairly cold winter (almost...):

Many small cities now station someone at the entrance to the airport. Every car is stopped --causing a huge backup-- while they force you to pop your trunk and then look solemnly inside. I usually travel with a group and we have 8-10 LARGE unmarked bags stuffed in the trunk along with our luggage. They never look in them, or lift them, or test them, or ask about them. Just peer inside the trunk and wave us through.

I suppose this stops people who have giant, round cartoon bombs with lit fuses protruding out of them in plain sight, but not much else.
posted by umberto at 12:41 AM on March 7, 2003


I'd say that the leaflet the Howard government sent to all Australian households, containing information on how to spot terrorists, will at least get honorable mention.

Apparently terrorists pay cash and take lots of photos.
posted by spazzm at 2:22 AM on March 7, 2003


Gulf War II.
posted by emf at 3:33 AM on March 7, 2003


... a guy who apparently left a gun in his carry-on luggage completely accidentally...

Heh, that happens to me all the time.
posted by bwg at 4:19 AM on March 7, 2003


I actualy read about a guy who accidentaly left his gun in his bag soon after 9/11. Apperantly he noticed it during the flight, and informed the stewardess, or something.

As far as the " Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?" guy, I can't really blame airport security there, he admits he was actualy yelling at people, and he did have scissors with 'em.
posted by delmoi at 4:33 AM on March 7, 2003


Making a toddler who has just learned to walk wait on one side of the metal detector as his mother goes through and then trying to coax the frightened child to walk through it on his own to her. (Norfolk International Airport, Norfolk, VA -- the supposed "Poster child" of US airports) If the mother passes through with no problems, then let her carry the hesitant child through herself. If something goes off, you know it's the child.

I nearly decked the f*%#ing "security" personnel for that one. Not that I'm protective or anything... My husband couldn't help because they'd pulled him for the shoe-removing-frisking before we boarded each plane on both the initial and return days of travel. I guess bearded men are dangerous. He's Hungarian stock.
posted by onhazier at 6:12 AM on March 7, 2003


onhazier - wow, that was pretty stupid. shame you didn't deck the daftie security guys.
posted by dabitch at 8:45 AM on March 7, 2003


This is fairly minor, but...asking each passenger in the NY-to-Boston Greyhound bus line if they're going on to Canada, then (nominally) searching only the Canada-bound folks. Notice I said "asking," not checking tickets or anything. So, if you're planning to take the bus to Canada and set off a bomb at the border or something, you just say you're heading for Boston, right? Yet our bus left 20 minutes late so that the security people could enforce their "security." Effective!
posted by hilatron at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2003


Pool cues are no longer allowed on board. I have yet to see a cue case which could adequately protect a cue while being handled like a suitcase (e.g. being tossed onto a conveyer belt). Custom cues are expensive, so mine just doesn't travel anymore. (I don't know what pro players do about this, but I'm curious enough to find out.)
posted by swerve at 8:46 PM on March 7, 2003


Making a breastfeeding mother open and drink her stored bottles of breastmilk which she expressed to give the baby on the plane ride. That one was beyond idiotic.

In the same vien, the kid that had to drink his science experiment, the veteran who almost had to give up his congressional medal of honor to a goon who thought it was too pointy, the vast number of confiscated nail files and scissors which are now beyond sold by the ton on ebay.

Frankly, there's a whole lotta stupidity out there.
posted by dejah420 at 10:34 PM on March 7, 2003


How far is too far?

It's sad because it's true.
posted by homunculus at 8:23 PM on March 9, 2003


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