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Airport Security... Answered

we all hate it... it makes air travel a hassle... way too much attention is paid to it... it's useless... what do you think? what should we do about it? tips?



9 years ago

They should make a conveyor belt that you go through FAST and then your bag goes in a x-ray machine then if you need additional screening your bag is stored then you pick it up when you go to the plane

I've never had a real problem. The thing is, even though it may not seem to do a lot of good, if there weren't x-rays checking your shoes for bombs, then we would have hundreds every day. Airport security, in my opinion, has more of a purpose in preventing things from coming to the airport, than from finding what makes it there.

i think our passports should have digital records on them to see if we are probable terrorists. then they would only have to put possible terrorists through security.

I suggest you read Cory Doctrow's "Little Brother". Within it is the following passage which explains why your idea won't ever work.

"If you ever decide to do something as stupid as build an automatic terrorism detector, here's a math lesson you need to learn first. It's called "the paradox of the false positive," and it's a doozy.

Say you have a new disease, called Super-AIDS. Only one in a million people gets Super-AIDS. You develop a test for Super-AIDS that's 99 percent accurate. I mean, 99 percent of the time, it gives the correct result -- true if the subject is infected, and false if the subject is healthy. You give the test to a million people.

One in a million people have Super-AIDS. One in a hundred people that you test will generate a "false positive" -- the test will say he has Super-AIDS even though he doesn't. That's what "99 percent accurate" means: one percent wrong.

What's one percent of one million?

1,000,000/100 = 10,000

One in a million people has Super-AIDS. If you test a million random people, you'll probably only find one case of real Super-AIDS. But your test won't identify *one* person as having Super-AIDS. It will identify *10,000* people as having it.

Your 99 percent accurate test will perform with 99.99 percent *inaccuracy*.

That's the paradox of the false positive. When you try to find something really rare, your test's accuracy has to match the rarity of the thing you're looking for. If you're trying to point at a single pixel on your screen, a sharp pencil is a good pointer: the pencil-tip is a lot smaller (more accurate) than the pixels. But a pencil-tip is no good at pointing at a single *atom* in your screen. For that, you need a pointer -- a test -- that's one atom wide or less at the tip.

This is the paradox of the false positive, and here's how it applies to terrorism:

Terrorists are really rare. In a city of twenty million like New York, there might be one or two terrorists. Maybe ten of them at the outside. 10/20,000,000 = 0.00005 percent. One twenty-thousandth of a percent.

That's pretty rare all right. Now, say you've got some software that can sift through all the bank-records, or toll-pass records, or public transit records, or phone-call records in the city and catch terrorists 99 percent of the time.

In a pool of twenty million people, a 99 percent accurate test will identify two hundred thousand people as being terrorists. But only ten of them are terrorists. To catch ten bad guys, you have to haul in and investigate two hundred thousand innocent people.

Guess what? Terrorism tests aren't anywhere *close* to 99 percent accurate. More like 60 percent accurate. Even 40 percent accurate, sometimes."

Sorry for the pastebomb, but it's worth it.

i believe you misunderstood me... it was just an idea that could be elaborated... and your wrong... i meant people who were DEFINETLEY not terrorists wouldn't have to go through security. (based on race, religion, backround, family, e.t.c.)

You know, I'm not racist, but all of the terrorists I've seen are Muslim........see a pattern? They've declared a holy war on us, expect them to attack us. This doesn't mean that every Muslim is a terrorist either.

Some terrorists would then not register as a Muslim to avoid the filter, it's really that easy.

Not to mention the difficulty of identifying religions that already exists. *cough* Barack Obama *cough*

Actually, a big problem they're having nowadays is that the terrorist organizations are recruiting people from european countries, making racial profiling less effective.

How do you become a probable terrorist, racial profiling? Or if you lived in the middle east? Sounds a little teensie bit racist.

no, just take out IMPOSSIBLE terrorists. it was just an example anyway.

You don't understand what we're saying...there's no way to completely rule someone out from being a terrorist. It's IMPOSSIBLE. Even if you could, they would be so few it wouldn't make a difference, and they would become targets for having items, such as bombs, deposited in their luggage.

....what if someone knows how to take on 50 people in a tightly enclosed space and kill them all with their bare hands? doesn't that make them armed with a lethal weapon?

That would also require identification to fly, something which many people are not willing to provide. I, for one, do not want to submit to a background check every time I wish to travel.

(No, you do not have to provide ID when you fly)

you need a passport for international... which has all your personal information... current ones already have rfid chips inside... and if you didn't want to, you'd just go through security :P

Either way, there's no way to rule someone out from being a terrorist, that's the thing. Anybody, no matter what their background, race, religion, or family, could be a terrorist. There's a first time for every criminal, that's what I don't think you understand.

Very true. Also, while some people say that we should use things such as gender and race to identify possible terrorists, that will never work purely because it will be called racism, and understandably so.

backround... and, dude, it was just an idea, today's security doesn't work so well either, so just let it go, man.

So if that works anything like most background checking and I'm out one night and take a slash in a bush and get a caution then I wouldn't be allowed to fly in case I got on to the plane just so I could take wizz out the window/door.

it would seem you like misunderstanding me... i didn't want a flame war, just a discussion, and rant about how much security sucks.

If you're going to rant on the internet then you're also going to run into people who disagree with what you say, which seems to be a large number of the people here. Rant = opinion = flame war potential.

i see you like flame wars... and only 2 or 3 people here disagree... the rest are either neutral, or agree.

No, I hate flame wars, I just like my opinion to be noted. Also, I think about 7 people in this argument either don't mind or agree with me.

neutral is don't mind too... they don't care either way. besides, you actually LIKE going through security? this isn't about MY ideas, it's about airport security, do you like it or hate it?

I don't like going through security (though I don't mind it), but I do like going through the airplane door twice a flight.

I wouldn't say it's that bad...we haven't had any attacks for years (although there are plenty of attempts...NSA just doesn't like to let on about them), and every plane i've been on seemed pretty secure.

TSA handles the in airport security. NSA is the National Security Agency. They take care of people who are in the planning stages of things.

Actually, you do. Sometimes they don't ask. At Washington-Reagan, they go by the book and then some when it comes to paranoia. I can understand that, since it's in the nation's capitol. Flying out of Denver International, they have started asking for IDs, but they didn't last year. At Sacramento, they didn't ask, but they probably should have.

No, you don't. Sometimes they don't realize it, but once you ask a supervisor where it says that you need one, they'll find that there is a protocol for somebody without ID. It includes going through the extra security check, and not loading your checked baggage onto the plane until you board. But you don't have to give ID for domestic flights.

Good to know. I can tell it adds quite a bit of hassle to the trip, though, in addition to however much BS happens while the supervisor is trying to find the "ID-required" section of the manual. Then there's the "it's illegal 'cause I said so" routine. They wouldn't let me go through security in D.C. without an ID matching my face and my name that was on my ticket. I probably could have protested that and succeeded, but somehow I get the feeling I would have missed my plane. They accepted a student ID from a public school after much complaint on their part... they wanted a driver's license or state-issued non-driving ID. I think that falls under the "extra helping of paranoia."

Yeah, it's not worth it to protest showing your ID, if you can help it. It's just one of those obscure freedom things that some people like to assert. It's all a matter if whether or not the time is worth it to you.

You have to go through customs every time you travel internationally. Your passport is scanned and recorded in the airport's records. There's probably a government database somewhere where it can all be viewed and tracked.


9 years ago

I've never had real problems with security. However, I know several people who have accidentally left propane tanks for camp stoves in their luggage and security did not remove it, same goes for lighters and lithium-Ion batteries. The problem is that security is completely inconsistant. some things I do to shorten the wait is 1) look at my ticket. if it has SSSSS on the bottom I expect to spend an extra 5 mins. going through security 2) wear no metal items (obviously) 3) untie my shoes before I reach the metal detector, also remove your sweatshirt or jacket. 4) keep my cell, camera, watch and other electronics in my bag along with all change and I also slip my wallet in there. 5) be nice, being a jerk makes everyones day worse. If everyone did stuff like this lines would be much shorter and everyone would be happier.

yeah, but if only there were a better way!

Tip: Don't take guns or knives with you through airport security.