Airlines Use Terrorism Law to Punish Unruly Passengers. Since 2003, more than 200 airline passengers have been convicted of felonies for violating terrorism laws, many for incidents only involving yelling, cursing, or behaving drunkenly. One such passenger, Tamera Jo Freeman, was arrested and convicted for "an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act," after she spanked her children for toppling tomato juice, cursed at the flight attendant who confronted her, and tossed the juice can on the floor.
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?
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..."
Patrick "Ask a Pilot" Smith opines on "Terror in the Skies, Again?" Smith: I, for one, fully admit that certain acts of airborne crime and treachery may indeed open the channels to a debate on civil liberties. Pray tell, what happened? Gunfight at 37,000 feet? Valiant passengers wrestle a grenade from a suicidal operative? Hero pilots beat back a cockpit takeover? Well, no. As a matter of fact, nothing happened. Turns out the Syrians are part of a musical ensemble hired to play at a hotel. The men talk to one another. They glance around. They pee. That's it? That's it.
That U.S. intelligence agencies confuse terrorists with children on passenger jets is a reminder that data collection is easy, but data analysis is hard. That must be why the six-year-old daughter of one of Boing Boing's co-founders is on the CAPPS list as a security risk. All this is also a reminder that we need privacy safeguards for these data mining programs.
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.
"This war would never have happened had I been president." Ralph Nader being interviewed by the Chicago Tribune yesterday. [reg. req'd] Nader says, "because for 30 years we have had an aviation safety group, and we have been urging the airlines to toughen cockpit doors and improve the strength of the locks, and they have been resisting for 30 years." [via Matt Welch.com]
Two men remove utility knives from their carry-on bags and throw them away before boarding a flight.
Two men remove utility knives from their carry-on bags and throw them away before boarding a flight. They were seen and reported, and subsequently arrested at the security checkpoint. One has been charged with improper use of a weapon. I'm hoping there's more to this story that we're not being told, otherwise it sounds plainly wrong to me. Yeah, they were dumb to have them, but there are reasons people use these knives and even travel with them.
OK, this is yesterday's news, but this airline incident happened Monday over the skies of Chicago. I heard the sonic boom as the F-16's scrambled to intercept the plane, which at first gave me a false sense of security. But now I'm wondering about 2 things about this incident; First, how the hell did this guy get in the cockpit? Haven't they fixed the doors yet (at least with a deadbolt)? Secondly, if this plane was indeed a threat, what would the F-16's do? Shoot the plane down over a very populated area? It seems our new airline security plans still have some major holes!
Sibir Airlines flight downed en route from Tel Aviv. It is not yet clear whether or not this was a terrorist act. It does seem, however, that there was an explosion on board.
Hijacked Plane Said to Land in New Delhi. NYTimes article -- you know the deal. CNN and Salon both confirm.
Fear of flying? New security measures are being discussed. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says, "These terrorist acts are designed to steal the confidence of Americans. We will restore that confidence."