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Terminal Cornucopia

Can common items sold in airports after the security screening be used to build lethal weapons? Yes.
posted by Zarkonnen on Nov 16, 2013 - 57 comments

Why Fear Always Wins

Imagine two politicians: One preaches fear and excessive "security," while the other says terrorism is a negligible risk. They hold, like me, that risk is part of life, and that while some security is necessary, we should mostly just refuse to be terrorized and get on with our lives. Fast-forward 10 years. If I'm right and there have been no more terrorist attacks, the preacher of fear takes credit for keeping us safe. But if a terrorist attack has occurred, my government career is over.
posted by blankdawn on Jun 28, 2013 - 40 comments

And the home of the

The NFL announced a change to its bag policy Thursday and beginning with the 2013 season, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags will be permitted inside NFL stadiums. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 16, 2013 - 121 comments

It's the end of the world and they know it

The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 21, 2012 - 115 comments

Two Words: Extremist Sharks

"To aid the national security community in imagining contemporary threats, the Australian Security Research Centre (ASRC) is organising Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition. The competition aims to produce a set of short stories that will contribute to a better conception of possible future threats and help defence, intelligence services, emergency managers, health agencies and other public, private and non-government organisations to be better prepared." (via)
posted by vidur on Sep 12, 2012 - 44 comments

To Profile or Not to Profile?

To Profile or Not to Profile? A Debate between Sam Harris and Bruce Schneier.
posted by brundlefly on May 29, 2012 - 150 comments

The Avian Flu: Transparency vs. Public Safety

"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets." After an extensive, months-long debate, one of two controversial papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published in Nature today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
posted by zarq on May 3, 2012 - 37 comments

Blogger: 1, TSA: -1,000,000,000

Body scanners attacked again as US blogger Jon Corbett who blogs for TSA Out of Our Pants! exposes how to beat the body scanners, carrying a metal box in a secret shirt pocket through security at two airports. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Mar 7, 2012 - 130 comments

"The Enemy", wear thin?

"Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11" (PDF) is a report by Professor Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina, published by the Triangle Center for Terrorism and Homeland Security. The TCFTHS is a collection of experts in the "Research Triangle" of North Carolina, associated with Duke, UNC and NC State and RTI, the independent research institute dedicated to aggregating and marketing the research resources of these three institutions. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Feb 8, 2012 - 23 comments

"The Package"

Inside the Secret Service. Sidebars: Radio Chatter and The Presidential Motorcade (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 8, 2011 - 48 comments

Newsflash: Terrorism existed before 9/11

We never used to go nuts about terrorism.
posted by dougrayrankin on Dec 29, 2010 - 64 comments

'Some of these guys are just perverts.'

'They blow each other up by mistake. They bungle even simple schemes. They get intimate with cows and donkeys. Our terrorist enemies trade on the perception that they’re well trained and religiously devout, but in fact, many are fools and perverts who are far less organized and sophisticated than we imagine. Can being more realistic about who our foes actually are help us stop the truly dangerous ones?' The Case for Calling Them Nitwits.
posted by shakespeherian on Jun 24, 2010 - 108 comments

Bruce Schneier's work isn't peer reviewed. He has no peers.

Is aviation security mostly for show? An essay by Bruce Schneier.
posted by grouse on Dec 30, 2009 - 96 comments

Psych Securities LLC

Psych Securities LLC. "With future forecasts declaring ultimate doom from all components of the man-altered world, it seems there is a clog in the conduit of information transmitted between those in control and the public at large. Black Ops, psychological torture, acoustic weapons, Project Starfire, and a multitude of other state sponsored programs exist, well-hidden in plain sight, shrouded in a stigma of conspiracy and diluting any significant public inquiry. Psych Securities LLC is an ongoing exploration of this aforementioned covert reality, most clearly seen while in an alternative psychological state. By compiling declassified documents, historical narratives, and psychedelic conjecture, a visual world is pieced together; undermining strategies of deception and concealed truths." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2008 - 40 comments

Freedom Flies

The Department of Homeland Security has expressed interest [PDFs] in forcing all commercial airline passengers to wear a taser bracelet that can be used to incapacitate anyone on an airline. This video, from the company that will produce the bracelets, explains how the bracelet would be put on the passenger at the point that they clear security, and would not be removed until they leave secure areas. It would take the place of boarding passes, carry personal and biometric information about the passengers, track and monitor every passenger via GPS and shock the wearer on command, immobilizing him or her for several minutes. DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development is also excited about the possiblility of using it as an interrogation tool at airports. Ah freedom, who knew it smelled like burning flesh?
posted by dejah420 on Jul 12, 2008 - 146 comments

Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S. Part 2

"The United States Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas" (PDF). A recent GAO report claims that the Bush administration has failed to prevent Al Qaeda's reemergence in Pakistan, and that we're basically right back where we started in 2001.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2008 - 38 comments

Bovine terrorism is a bomb in a bull.

Slate asks, "What's behind the boom in homeland-security and emergency-management majors?"
posted by Afroblanco on Mar 29, 2008 - 28 comments

Watch Lists

ACLU Watch List Counter: U.S. Terror List Now Exceeds 900,000 Names. That's an awful lot of terrorists. More Privacy and Surveillance Filter: Bruce Schneier on The Myth of the 'Transparent Society', Glenn Greenwald on The Banality of the Surveillance State, and Stephen Colbert on AT & Treason. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 8, 2008 - 46 comments

Improved Billboard Touts AT&T and NSA Collaboration

"The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants." [Via Threat Level.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2008 - 67 comments

Ramak Fazel: 49 State Capitols

Odyssey of State Capitols and State Suspicion. "The story behind an exhibition: postcards, designs, photography, travels, history, stamps and law enforcement." [Via BB.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 22, 2008 - 10 comments

Homeland Insecurity

Homeland Insecurity. "What happened to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which Democratic leaders promised to make one of their top legislative priorities? What are the most deadly potential terrorist targets no one talks about—and who's lobbying against securing them? What's the one measure that could improve our chances of preventing an attack—without costing a penny? Why are the 2008 presidential candidates—Republicans and Democrats alike—nowhere on this issue? In this seven-part series Mother Jones' senior correspondent James Ridgeway examines how the government has let homeland security languish since September 11, 2001, with dire consequences."
posted by homunculus on Sep 11, 2007 - 51 comments

"If you scratch a paranoid, you find a narcissist"

What's the Big Secret? Four surveillance experts try to figure out what the NSA's superclassified wiretapping program really is (hint: it may have something to do with the filters). They don't seem to realize that this kind of reckless public discussion means some Americans are going to die. [Via Threat Level.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 30, 2007 - 47 comments

Patriot Search

Patriot Search Whether you are a normal searcher, someone trying to download illegal material, a terrorist looking to build a bomb, or just hunting porn, we at Patriot Search welcome you! Our mission is to provide the best possible search engine to you while at the same time, making sure the government is informed should you search for something obscure, illegal, or unpatriotic
posted by Postroad on Apr 15, 2007 - 13 comments

Big Brother is Watching You. On CCTV.

George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. With CCTV. Perhaps the Surveillance Camera Players could put on a performance there. It looks like Britain really is becoming a surveillance society. [Via Digg.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 2, 2007 - 44 comments

The politics of chemical security

The Next Attack. "Terrorists in Iraq are becoming proficient at blowing up oil refineries. Similar plants in a handful of American cities represent our greatest vulnerability. We could easily be making them less dangerous. But we’re not." And one of the key players in keeping things that way happens to be Dick Cheney’s son-in-law.
posted by homunculus on Mar 1, 2007 - 38 comments

Psychology of Security

The Psychology of Security. An essay by Bruce Schneier on the difference between the feeling of security and the reality of security. [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 8, 2007 - 25 comments

Oh, I wish we had the image tag again...

Bare naked travel? (Previously on MeFi: here, except now they're actually doing it, and here). The TSA wants to see you naked. Just don't paint "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot" on your torso in Pepto-Bismol before you go to the airport.
posted by bitter-girl.com on Dec 3, 2006 - 51 comments

My analysis of this is somewhat tongue in cheek, please don't flame.

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities. Now that this former rogue nation has fallen in line, we can turn out attention to the real terrorist threat: Britain.
posted by thirteenkiller on Sep 5, 2006 - 30 comments

Someone set up us the bomb

[ConspiracyFilter] Was the alleged "binary liquid explosives" plot actually plausible, in the sense of being capable of producing "mass murder on an unimaginable scale?"
posted by ijoshua on Aug 17, 2006 - 138 comments

Movie plot threats

Security expert (and personal hero) Bruce Schneier on the subject of movie plot threats : Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of homeland security spend too much time watching action movies. They defend against specific movie plots instead of against the broad threats of terrorism.

This month, Schneier announces a contest for readers of his blog and newsletter - submit the most unlikely, yet still plausible, terrorist attack scenarios you can come up with.

From the announcement : "The prize will be an autographed copy of Beyond Fear. And if I can swing it, a phone call with a real live movie producer."
posted by Afroblanco on Apr 8, 2006 - 31 comments

Emirates Aided Kin of Palestinian Militants

Emirates Aided Kin of Palestinian Militants The American people, for reasons of possible anti-Arab feelings, made it clear that the Arab Emirates were not to gain control over our ports, despite the statements from the White House that this group is our friend and a partner in the fight against terrorism. Despite our 'friendship," there is now this evidence to the contrary. But will this news be sufficient to prevent Dubai's $1.2 Bln Bid for U.S. Weapons Maker ?
posted by Postroad on Mar 20, 2006 - 31 comments

Fly in the Fast Lane

Tired of standing in line at the airport? Worried that you might share a name with a known terrorist or subversive on the TSA's mysterious no-fly lists? Relax. Get fingerprinted and/or iris scanned. And pay $79.95 a year to become a Registered Traveler, and fly Clear in the fast lane. (And note how quickly conceptual art projects become indistinguishable from reality.) Meanwhile, the Feds settle an ACLU lawsuit over the no-fly lists... while revealing no information about them. [Lists recently discussed here].
posted by digaman on Jan 25, 2006 - 52 comments

In the future, the whole world will be like a video game....

Closed Circuit TV and Data Confluence
Qinetiq is bringing their CCTV confluence technology, codenamed Praetorian, to the UK. "The system automatically tracks and stitches 3D images with CCTV video, maps and other real-time information. It automatically alerts operators to intruders, unusual behaviour, left objects or anything it is told to spot." And it looks more like a video game than a video feed. This new tech is perhaps not as controversial as Qinetiq's Millimetre Wave Imaging System that allows passive scanning through clothing to detect guns, knives or bombs.
Yes, it is very Big Brother-esque but its also pretty amazing technology too. Qinetiq previously discussed on MeFi here, here, here and here.
posted by fenriq on Aug 12, 2005 - 7 comments

Alarming Article on Security Procedures

Alarming Article on Security Procedures What is alarming is not necessarily that there is a "no-fly" list, or that we have security measures in response to a percieved terrorist threat. What's alarming is that there seems to be no accountabity or due process demanded from public officials. Without accountability, what's to stop public officials from acting arbitrarily, or for some political endeavor? (See the Plame case.) Combined with the Right's seeming position that the president is above the law in prosecuting a war, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 03-1027 (Rumsfield v. Padilla) and Case No. 03-6696 (Hamdi v. Rumsfield), (see also the recent DOJ position papers), and for the 1st time I am becoming nervous that America might devolve into something like a police state.
posted by JKevinKing on Jul 7, 2005 - 36 comments

Barlow's War

Is John Barlow, cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Grateful Dead lyricist, a threat to national security? "On September 15, 2003, I boarded Delta Flight 310, scheduled to depart San Francisco International Airport for JFK at 7:20 that morning. I was still feeling slightly singed from Burning Man and the hour was one I prefer to see from the other side. I was almost back to sleep when, roughly two minutes before pull-back, I was approached by a Delta employee who informed me that there was 'a problem' of some sort and that it would be necessary to get off the aircraft..."
posted by digaman on Dec 10, 2004 - 172 comments

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia

I feel safer already! Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security lowered the terror alert-level for the financial-services sector in the NY/DC area from orange to yellow, which has nothing, repeat nothing, to do with the election. "We don't do politics here at this department," days DHS deputy secretary James Loy. When the alert was jacked up back in August, some felt otherwise.
posted by digaman on Nov 11, 2004 - 16 comments

Fear itself

Fear Itself: an american journalist wants to put the threat of terrorism into perspective, and elects to ride on a bus line in Jerusalem, the train line through Madrid, and a British Airways flight said to be a bombing target. He comes away with it unscathed but the stories he tells about the history of terror, especially in Israel, is chilling and daily life in some parts of Jerusalem sounds like scenes lifted straight out of Brazil. [via the big K]
posted by mathowie on Aug 22, 2004 - 27 comments

Melek Can Dickerson...took hundreds of pages of top-secret sensitive intelligence documents outside the FBI to unknown recipients.

a letter to Thomas Kean, Chair of the 9/11 Commission from Sibel Edmonds: Unfortunately, I find your report seriously flawed in its failure to address serious intelligence issues that I am aware of, which have been confirmed, and which as a witness to the commission, I made you aware of. Thus, I must assume that other serious issues that I am not aware of were in the same manner omitted from your report. These omissions cast doubt on the validity of your report and therefore on its conclusions and recommendations. Considering what is at stake, our national security, we are entitled to demand answers to unanswered questions, and to ask for clarification of issues that were ignored and/or omitted from the report. A solid letter detailing many disturbing things reported to the Commission, yet not in the report. More on Edmonds here.
posted by amberglow on Aug 2, 2004 - 19 comments

free speech gagged--thanks to the Patriot Act

National Security Letters and John Doe --once only issued against suspected terrorists and spies, NSLs now can be used, thanks to the Patriot Act, against all and any of us. John Doe, the currently gagged owner of a small ISP was targeted for the political speech of his customers and is fighting, along with the ACLU and others. More here (and more inside)
posted by amberglow on May 30, 2004 - 20 comments

Biometrics are coming .... or not?

After all the hoopla about increasing security, it seems that the requirement for biometric data to be included in passports of those entering the US from visa waiver countries will need to be extended for two years to allow other countries to catch up with the technology, as it seems most countries are unable to meet the deadline. Some countries have put on hold the new technology, while others seem committed to going ahead with it, despite doubts about the readiness of the technology. Of course, if civil liberties groups get their way, the biometric passports may never see the light of day. Specific religious issues complicate the matter to some extent, also. Given that, if the technology to produce biometric passports is available, will it really be that hard for forged passports to be created? Unless a massive world-wide database containing the biometric details of every person was used for data-matching, it is hard to see how these new measures will really make much difference to anyone apart from the companies selling the technology.
posted by dg on Apr 26, 2004 - 4 comments

ID checks ineffective

How We Are Fighting the War on Terrorism: IDs and the illusion of security IDs and the illusion of security Bruce Schneier at sfgate.com writes about why ID checks are ineffective.
posted by tbc on Feb 3, 2004 - 18 comments

At least it wasn't a nail clipper...

A woman gets a stun gun and a knife past security at LaGuardia and actually alerts authorities after she discovers them in her purse. Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?
posted by FormlessOne on Jan 26, 2004 - 35 comments

Whisky of Mass Destruction

Weapons of Mass Drunkenness. The ever vigilante U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency has been monitoring the web cams at the Bruichladdich Scotch Whisky Distillery on Islay island, Scotland, to make sure the facilities are not being used to make chemical weapons. I, for one, am glad to know that my government takes the safety of whiskey distilleries seriously. [First link via Boing Boing.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 27, 2003 - 12 comments

Eyes in the Skies

Southeast Airlines has plans to install digital video cameras throughout the cabins of its planes to record the faces and activities of its passengers at all times. Furthermore, the charter airline will store the digitized video for up to 10 years. And it may use face recognition software to match faces to names and personal records.
posted by Irontom on Jul 18, 2003 - 17 comments

Police abandon photo targets

Apologies come from the top Queensland, Australia: "QUEENSLAND'S elite anti-terrorism police will no longer use photos of real people in target practice after concerns were raised by indigenous and civil liberties groups." Dp the police have the right to use someone's mugshot for target practice, without permission or consent?
posted by skinsuit on Jul 7, 2003 - 16 comments

It Takes a Village, People

DOJ Introduces New Threat Levels Citizens should be alert, but continue to go about their normal daily spending activities.
posted by kirkaracha on Jul 6, 2003 - 12 comments

Passing The Buck On Homeland Security

I've written before about the myth of the heartland--roughly speaking, the "red states," which voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, as opposed to the "blue states," which voted for Al Gore. The nation's interior is supposedly a place of rugged individualists, unlike the spongers and whiners along the coasts. In reality, of course, rural states are heavily subsidized by urban states. New Jersey pays about $1.50 in federal taxes for every dollar it gets in return; Montana receives about $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.

Any sensible program of spending on homeland security would at least partly redress this balance. The most natural targets for terrorism lie in or near great metropolitan areas; surely protecting those areas is the highest priority, right?

Apparently not. Even in the first months after Sept. 11, Republican lawmakers made it clear that they would not support any major effort to rebuild or even secure New York. And now that anti-urban prejudice has taken statistical form: under the formula the Department of Homeland Security has adopted for handing out money, it spends 7 times as much protecting each resident of Wyoming as it does protecting each resident of New York.


Paul Krugman, cited by Eric Alterman in regards to Jonathan Chait's The 9/10 President, a story we all seemed to have missed. Not long ago, the Washington Post carried Begging, Borrowing for Security.
Welcome to Trickle Down Homeland Security.
posted by y2karl on Apr 21, 2003 - 27 comments

A

A "Disappearance" In America - Arrested without charge. Secret warrants and subpoenas. No arrest record. No accusation of a crime. Solitary confinement. No access to a lawyer. No comment from the authorities. No court appearance. In other countries, this would be a "disappearance". Here in America, it's just the Patriot Act at work. Read the story of Mike Hawash, and ponder where this country is headed.
posted by laz-e-boy on Apr 7, 2003 - 44 comments

It's Justice Time!

Know what time it is, Kidz? It's U.S. Department of Justice Time!

On today's show, we'll learn why Hacking is REAL BAD, and give you a chance to find out if you are a good cybercitizen. Next, we'll meet Axel, the talking drug dog, and his friends the Bomb Dog Bunch! Then, we'll check in on the ATF, for some cool science fair ideas.

And finally, just for you kids with crooks or international terrorists for parents, here's a nifty PDF coloring book (Native American version also available).
posted by eatitlive on Feb 25, 2003 - 11 comments

Terror alert level goes orange

Bush will raise the national terror threat level today from yellow to orange (CNN). This means little to us here in NYC where we've already been at orange. (At least that's what I've heard, although orange looks like a brownish color on my TV screen and a sort of muddy green on my computer monitor.) What, if anything, will your town, city, state, company, family do in response to this heightened threat level?
posted by jellybuzz on Feb 7, 2003 - 58 comments

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