Monday, 2005 February 14, 23:10 — security theater, technology

safety and illusion

Malcolm Gladwell writes:

Jettas are safe because they make their drivers feel unsafe. S.U.V.s are unsafe because they make their drivers feel safe. That feeling of safety isn’t the solution; it’s the problem.

I am reminded of various more politicized debates.

I drive a Camry, by the way, and my brother drives a Jetta. (See the table in the middle of Gladwell’s article.)

Saturday, 2004 December 11, 14:54 — drugwar, futures, medicine, security theater

links without comment

Barlow v TSA (password-protected) (thanks Sunah)

Tasteless Screeners Awards

Gun Grabbers Say the Damnedest Things!

School as prison

What is Too Human? The ethics of human-animal chimeras

An Indian’s Thanksgiving Proposal

Give ’em what they want: more government

Friday, 2004 November 26, 09:29 — security theater

pointless papers please

I[dentifying]D[ocument]s and the illusion of security, op-ed by Bruce Schneier.

Identification and profiling don’t provide very good security, and they do so at an enormous cost. Dropping ID checks completely, and engaging in random screening where appropriate, is a far better security trade-off. People who know they’re being watched, and that their innocent actions can result in police scrutiny, are people who become scared to step out of line. They know that they can be put on a “bad list” at any time. People living in this kind of society are not free, despite any illusionary security they receive. It’s contrary to all the ideals that went into founding the United States.

Saturday, 2004 October 30, 15:54 — security theater

of course it leaks

In the basement of the Alameda County courthouse, where I’ve been working, there’s a sign announcing that it’s a felony to bring in weapons including knives longer than four inches. Must be an old sign; nowadays I imagine they’d seize the one-inch souvenir penknife that I bought as a child in Toledo. Can I be alone in wondering how a foot-long bread-knife got into the kitchen of the Registrar of Voters?

Saturday morning I was informally admitted to the building before the screeners showed up. “Dang, I coulda brought my guns!”

Monday, 2004 October 25, 15:14 — security theater

Daleks with badges

Next time my dearest friend asks me to deliver something to a Feral office, I must remember to say no.

I had my state-issued annotated portrait in my pocket, and was resolved not to bother the Marshal at the gate this time with silly questions about the purpose, if any, of asking me to show it.

Halfway there I noticed a knife in my pocket, but no sweat; last time I went to the Federal Building in San Francisco, they simply put my knife aside and gave it back when I left.

But this was Oakland. “You have to leave that in your car.” “My car is twenty miles away!” “You can’t bring a knife onto Federal property.” . . .

I should explain that the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland consists of two towers with a semi-open rotunda between. My objective was in the south tower; the “security” gate is at the entrance to that tower from the rotunda.

Two men were loitering in the rotunda, apparently setting up some Halloween thing. I asked one, “Will you be here for a few minutes?” He consented to hold my knife; but that wasn’t good enough for the security-bot, because the helpful man was still standing on Federal property.

So I went home, mission abandoned.

I wonder why the badge-bot didn’t arrest me for my willful failure to comply. At least then I might have eventually encountered someone human enough to deliver the envelope for me.

Maybe I’d be more comfortable under a more openly corrupt state, where evasion is a way of life.

Thursday, 2004 September 2, 13:56 — security theater

wouldn’t want to give anyone ideas

Justice Department Censors Supreme Court Quote

The mind reels at such a blatant abuse of power (and at the sheer chutzpah of using national security as an excuse to censor a quotation [from a Supreme Court decision] about using national security as an excuse to stifle dissent).

Saturday, 2004 July 17, 20:04 — security theater

with all due respect

Civil disobedience at its finest (cited by Bill St Clair, who got it from Claire Wolfe)

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