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Mike Anderson | USLHC | USA

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Security Theater

The attempted terror attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was basically the same flight I had taken less than two weeks prior on my way home from CERN.

Already my least favorite part of international collaboration was traveling by air. Somehow, I imagine my future flights to Genève are going to involve even more unpleasant security checks and rules.

There has been a lot said on the ridiculousness of many airline rules (xkcd: “A laptop battery contains roughly the stored energy of a hand grenade…”).

I have little to add, except to say that having spent a lot of time in aiports and on airlines myself, I agree that rules like prohibiting liquids adds little to our safety when flying.

Bruce Schneier summed it up nicely recently in Is aviation security mostly for show?:

Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage. The more we undermine our own laws, the more we convert our buildings into fortresses, the more we reduce the freedoms and liberties at the foundation of our societies, the more we’re doing the terrorists’ job for them.

I hope airline companies and the TSA listen and someday make flying a more pleasant experience.

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