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January 15, 2008

Thirteen million lighters and it's still dark out there

A gem from CryptoGram."Surprising nobody, a new study concludes that airport security isn't helping: A team at the Harvard School of Public Health could not find any studies showing whether the time-consuming process of X-raying carry-on luggage prevents hijackings or attacks. They also found no evidence to suggest that making passengers take off their shoes and confiscating small items prevented any incidents." The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) responded that "even without clear evidence of the accuracy of testing, more than 13 million prohibited items were intercepted in one year...most of these illegal items were lighters". CryptoGram's editor Bruce Schneier comments: "the TSA has it completely backwards. The goal isn't to confiscate prohibited items. The goal is to prevent terrorism on airplanes. When the TSA confiscates millions of lighters from innocent people, it is reacting to non-threats. Now you can argue that this is necessary to make people feel safer, but it's certainly not evidence that people *are* safer".

Posted by John Thackara at January 15, 2008 08:59 PM


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