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Geek-Protection Stickers? Call for design suggestions! Answered

So, Star's in jail in Boston for forgetting she was wearing some electronics.

I sent this to Xeni Jardin, and she added it to the BoingBoing story:

Star was an intern at Squid Labs this summer, and is an all-around awesome geek who loves to build things. FYI, friends at MIT say she wears the hoodie on a regular basis- it's just unfortunate that she had it on while trying to pick a friend up at the airport.
MIT students don't really do mornings, or worry about what they're wearing, so I can't imagine she'd even think about her clothes before heading out to pick up a friend at the airport before 8am.

When Star gets out we'll have her do an Instructable on 1) how to get arrested at the airport without being shot, and 2) how to package your homemade electronics to look purchased.

Maybe BB and Instructables should start handing out some official-looking stickers and plastic covers to make breadboards look more commercial- it will keep our readers away from automatic weapons.

I just got email back from Xeni saying, "Let's do those stickers!"

Question: what should the stickers look like? What should they say? Make some suggestions, or submit some designs here, and we'll print them up!


To be honest if i was a terrorist(Im not). I wouldn't want to to walk into a airport with a bomb attached to my chest with blinking LEDS. The reason why all these non-electronics peoples are freaking out is MOVIE'S think about it when ever you see a bomb in the movie s its always constantly ticking accompanied with a LED light show.

Randy's sticker is hilarious... I'm going off the iGeek idea - coming up with slogans to go along with it, varying from corporate bland to mildly amusing to things that strike a good feeling tone. I also went with the recognizable intel swirl as I think if there's a recognized brand, it won't get a a second glance... Here's a dump of them... Slogans for easier reading Made in China handmade electronics for demanding consumers life saving technology mass production on a small scale an educated technician is our best technician (a variation of the syms slogan) making technology work warranty void if seal is tampered macgyver is our copilot designed and assembled by you feel free to add anything to that list :) I think bland is best in this case.

An educated technician makes the best security guard

probably make someone mad though....

However, I'd replace "warranty void if seal is tampered" with "warranty void if seal is intact".


10 years ago

Specific Example (I think) of a reasonable sticker:

o o o
Sensitive Instrument - Please Inspect Manually
(Basic Technical Inspection Training Necessary)
Meets Specifications for Safe Use on Aircraft

Reasonable inspection of the unit would be
verifying that it operates as labeled,
and if it is built in a transparent case,
it passes if it obviously contains no contraband.

(Basic Technical Inspection Training Necessary)

Translation: An LED is not a bomb, it can't be made into a bomb, it can't even be used to ignite anything. :-)

I think the stickers should be about the size of a breadboard and look roughly like an iPhone. Who would shoot someone wearing an iPhone? Then again, if the iPhone had wires sticking out of it, then I suppose someone might... How about something designed after safe-luggage stickers....


Oh... I just thought of it... I'm gonna replace HOMELAND with HOMEMADE or HOMESPUN

I have to remember this is here somehow when I get home from work, if I can sneak onto the computer without my wife bellowing again (are you on that thing AGAIN !). *sigh*

I think that if we tried to "impersonate" the stickers used by them, we would be in even more trouble. Especially using the homeland security crest without them actually approving the stickers. My grudge with the stickers is that anyone would be able to get them. Plus, the TSA knows what actual approved stickers look like, so if they see an unofficial one, they'll probably get a bit mad.

But it's now the Department of Homemade Security.... no relation. Besides, making spoof stickers of government agencies is not a crime. Think of all of those FBI (female body inspector) shirts they sell at trashy beach-front locations.

Now that's funny!

But it's not accurate to use satire as a defense here:

1) if you make a spoof police badge (legal), but present yourself as a cop (not legal), you will still be charged with impersonating an officer.

2) if you inkjet print a $20 bill with Bob Marley's face on it (legal), but attempt to pass it (not legal), you will still be considered a counterfeiter.

If you try to bypass security and present the sticker as representing a gov agency (real or bogus), it isn't content but intent that matters.

Not to say that something similar wouldn't OK--but the satirical element needs to be obvious to anyone (think 'over the top.'--like a caricature of GW giving a wink and a thumbs up.)

if you inkjet print a $20 bill with Bob Marley's face on it (legal), but attempt to pass it (not legal), you will still be considered a counterfeiter.

I remember a case few years ago - an artist drew pictures of cash in felt pen and spent them. People accepted them in payment, knowing they were just pictures. Sometimes he drew the bills on the spot. Sometimes they even gave change.


Because currency is anything the two people in a transaction accept is currency - the sellers were getting works of art in exchange for goods.

Sure, but that's only if there is no intent to deceive...And I suspect this is an instance of barter, and would fail the definition of 'legal tender.' BTW, it it's not obvious, my personal preference is for the broadest interpretation possible of the (US of A) first amendment. I'm only playing devil's advocate here because people have their 'inalienable rights' violated everyday. Now, if instrucables.com is becoming an activist site for challenging violations of the first amendment, I'm all for it...

Yes, but wearing LEDs on your shirt isn't illegal either. Wearing a shirt that says Federal Boobie Inspectors is nothing like using a sticker on a homemade device to try and pass it as ok. Even though it doesn't say homeland, you're sure to get held up at the airport if they decide to check out your bag and see it.

Fox had some people talking about her. As usual, there was one person defending her, and another scrutinizing. I hate how they assume her motives and such. The one who was against her said that her goal was to cause panic and to cause a seen, as if it was a fact. I was mad that they don't give a phone number so that I could call in.

Another one joins the Fox "news" entertainment program hate-club! I can't believe they can call themselves news >_> I think Onion is closer to real life... at least people know not to take it seriously :P

Who said I hate them? They did have someone on each side of the argument.

Aww, weiss is in such denial from the lack of friends, that he thinks that I'm the one without friends D:

Its okay weesee, I'll be your friend :-) And then denial will just be that river in Egypt!

Calm down! otherwise no-one gets any freinds!

Yeah, but they hired the person to defend her, most likely, and coached them on what to say. :P

I can't believe they can call themselves news

News, as in new information. Since they have their own slant on it, it would be different and therefore New(s) ;-)

We can get Fox over here, but I know nobody who watches it. As far as most people seem to think, if it was on paper it would be sold in supermarkets next to National Enquirer.

Sorry, I should indicate when I am being sarcastic ;-) It is hard to tell when communicating by typed script alone...

I was laughing, although I didn't take it as sarcastic. More of a "I-agree-with-you-but-you-have-a-slight-innacuraccy"

Well, it was meant to be a mild form of sarcasm, as in: News can be defined as something New, therefore if they (Fox) come up with a new and warped way of looking at it, then it is NEWS *LOL* ;-)

no kidding. ive got a story... i was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital one day, and these ladies next to me were talking. president bush came on the tv and started giving a speech. after it was over, i overheard one of them say "i have been watching fox news alot here recently instead of cnn. it just seems like they show the news like it is instead of beating around the bush." you dont know how bad i wanted to argue with her about it. i quit watching it after hurricane katrina when they wouldnt show any of the people or anything. instead the things that they showed and the way they talked made it seem like it wasnt so bad. like "yeah thier homes are flooded, but everyone is ok i guess." they wouldnt show anything to do with the people suffering.

Pshh.......FOX, what a joke! It amazes me at the amount of inaccurate and slanted sides they give. I just watch the Simpsons and NFL!

How in the world are you supposing to get the TSA to create a whole new system of inspection that revoves around a few of us nerds that would like to travel in saftey with homebrew deices. I love the idea, but I find it hard to believe that in a post 9/11 world they would let ANYTHING with blinking leds, usb ports, or huge capacitors inside an aircraft. It is indeed a shame that with saftey and security, there come so many limitaions. WE do , however, need more people with thechnical minds running our airports; people who can tell an ipod from a WMD and a Blinking led sweatshirt from a improvised bomb. It's Sad. If This Sticker thing is possible, I'm all for it, but right now, and please reply if I am absaloutley wrong, it seems like a futile wild goose chase. Sorry to be so pessimistic.

blinking leds, usb ports, or huge capacitors inside an aircraft.

Oh, you mean disposable cameras?

Well, yes and no. I Began writing that list just as, well a list, but i had recently taken apart one of those cvs pure digital disposable cameras, sothe idea popped into my head. Inside, there was an lcd, a lens,and a few pcb contacts that could KILL YOU. The fist thing that I did was diffuse the capacitor. I held an insulated screwdriver to it's termainals and SHNAPP! it was the hugest, brightest spark ever. I had never felt so worried about diy projects ever until then. I reconise it a a potentialy lethal device, and so do the TSA.

I reconise it a a potentialy lethal device, and so do the TSA.

Disposable Cameras are perfectly fine on a plane according to the TSA. In fact, it's even recommended that you carry them on if they haven't been developed yet. You know, carry them on with you sharp point 4" scissors, common lighter, 4 non strike anywhere match books, small mercury thermometer (highly corrosive to Aluminum), 2kg of dry ice, hand tools under 7"....

Really, we can make a dry ice bomb, poison the passengers on the plane, stab someone with scissors/screwdrivers, light our seat on fire....

Prohibited/Permitted Items

So, apparently, I was flying with illegal gel insoles a few months ago...
Gel shoe inserts - Gel shoe inserts are not permitted, but shoes constructed with gel heels are allowed and must be removed and screened.

Despite the fact that I removed my shoes and they were screened...

But, apparently my screwdriver was allowed by the TSA... Pocket knives (except plastic ones) still not allowed (but successfully got passed TSA in my backpack)...

My point is... Things like this, the ATHF debacle, mintyboost shenanigans, extra resistors are feared resulting in scenarios like this one. And it's celebrated as a triumph of security prowess... Meanwhile, TSA agents failed 5 out of 9 tests to find a bomb and instead found and removed the water bottle next to the bomb. The TSA says the tests are designed to be difficult and to fail - as if someone that actually wanted to bring a bomb on a plane was going to make it easy to find.

As I've said in the past... When someone decides to attack again, it's going to happen VIA legal channels, using permitted materials and pass under everyone's nose...

As permitted as they may be, i'm just saying...
We all heard about the Gatorade + Disposable camera's flash system = Plane falling from the sky story. Taser out of disposables wouldn't be good on a plane either. If the whole idea of this is to allow them to let instuctabled- devices onto planes and into other countries, then they better not see This site! We've Got Knex Rifles, Blow-dart guns (that explode, Fire010)how to make a sniper rifle, how to open a coke machine, and how to turn a simple soda bottle into a master-padlock-hacking-thingamabob! What The Heck Do We EXPECT them to think? ARGHH! Well still, i'm all for The stickers, but no ones answered how there going to make the NSS
(Nerd Safe System)?! Disposable Cameras are alowed, but now gatorade isn't! GATORADE! They Took Gatorade and left the dang Taser gun camera! It's all screwed up!

Good, you're getting pissed too - for a quasi correct reason :D

What The Heck Do We EXPECT them to think?

I would be completely satisfied with expecting them to think.

We all heard about the Gatorade + Disposable camera's flash system = Plane falling from the sky story.
Actually no, I didn't - can you link us up?

My problem is when this is viewed as a triumph of security prowess when really it shows critical flaws in our security system - lack of training.

Yesterday someone told me that I shouldn't get caught up with right v. wrong and should instead think of what could happen - as if anyone has the capability of interpreting the countless situations yielding many different potential outcomes. But really, don't get caught up with right v. wrong? We're admitting it's wrong, and "happy."

If they take away disposable cameras due to the potential to turn them into shocking apparatus/detonators -- they're going to have to take away any camera with a flash - like you said: All Cameras use the huge capacitor flash system. Just FYI - the reason we can't bring much liquid/gels: some people were going to make a gel bomb detonated by a camera flash ;)

No security is foolproof - but security for fools isn't security at all.

[The list the list]I know about the gels! They poured a bomb-gel-solution into a sports drink bottle (gatorade) and afer sealing of the gel, filled the rest with gatorade. Thats what that was all about. Second, stop arguing with me, i'm Agreeing! We have to manyy people who think that being a security gaurd means to takle anyone who carries anything on the list. My math teacher was nearly arrested for bringing nail clippers, like you couldn't kill someone with a belt or a broken pair of glasses. We need people who can tell a battery from a bomb and a weapon from a toothbrush.Argh!

Sadly, those with knowledge demand more money as pay and no one wants to pay for security, right? *sigh* forgive me my sarcasm.....

. Thank you!! If you want highly-trained, intelligent, competent people, ya gotta pay for 'em. Most HTICP won't put up with all the jerks that come through the line for any amount of money. . Ie, ya gets what ya pays for.

And at present we have guards that can't differentiate between an LED and a ICM. *sigh*

Remember [name-removed]'s 'ible? (S)he outlined how to blow up a plane using only things found on the plane itself. You could go in with nothing, and blow it up. Hopefully he unpublished that before we get media attention >_>

My problem is when this is viewed as a triumph of security prowess when really it shows critical flaws in our security system - lack of training.

Yeah, that has been my beef all along.

No security is foolproof - but security for fools isn't security at all.

Agreed, and Security run by fools is a hazard to everyone except the terrorists.

That would have to be
What the heck;do we expect them to think?

I'm not sure if the digital ones are the same (I don't see why they wouldn't be), but people often use the capacitors from disposable cameras to make "tazers" to shock friends with. Annoying, but hardly lethal.