TSA: the fact that our secret surveillance program hasn't caught anyone means it's working

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/10/witch-duckings-r-us.html


JUST IN: Your brakes on your automobile do not make you do any faster.


Not sure if this was intentional or just an hilariously appropriate typo



The thing to bear in mind is that the purpose of the TSA is be visibly “protecting the travelling public.” All of that inconvenience and expense isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. That’s why some women find themselves going through detailed scalp-prodding every time they fly. Not because they have any kind of record, or any thing at all that would lead to suspicion (except perhaps being brown, which I suspect is mainly to keep from annoying people who actually count.) They just lend themselves as handy extras in the security theatre.

What it’s not about is actually protecting the public. That was almost entirely accomplished by October of 2001, by reinforcing the cockpit doors and ditching the insane policy of handing over the airplane to anyone who claimed to be hijacking it. They certainly aren’t even bothering to search for serious threats that would be difficult to separate from popular items (no, not shampoo) carried onboard – like metal tubing or award plaques.

As for secretly shadowing travellers, the TSA made the fatal error of not advertising it. Security theatre is worthless [1] if the audience doesn’t know about it.

[1] For values of “worth” that are used to justify TSA, anyway.


This guy is basically describing the logic of witch-duckings.

Well, I would draw a distinction between being shadowed for an hour and being killed.

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Ducking, it’s not just for waterfowl.


If you knew you were being shadowed, it’d be fun to play with your shadow’s brain.

Well, fun up to the point that they do an armed takedown because they think that you’re a Martian.


Interesting. Have to admit I’ve never heard the term “ducking” before in this context.

Even more interesting is apparently witches were not “ducked” but rather they were “swam”…

So even Monty Python got that wrong.

Use in identifying witches

It is a common misunderstanding that ‘witches’ were ducked in order to identify them. Ducking was predominantly used for women that scolded their husbands or were charged with sexual offences. Instead, ‘witches’ were swam. In this instance the victim’s right thumb was bound to her left big toe. A rope was attached to her waist and the “witch” was thrown into a river or deep pond. If the “witch” floated it was deemed that she was in league with the devil, rejecting the “baptismal water”. If the “witch” sank she was retrieved before drowning and deemed innocent.[8]


when will the American public stand up and end this sham of security theater?

ooops? - probably on the list now -

wrongthink - thoughtcrime

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Kind of reminds me of that time my software development team bragged about not getting any customer bug reports back from its latest major release. Turns out no one was using our product.


Perhaps this is too obvious for comment, but if you follow 5000 “suspicious” people and don’t find anything worthy of further action, surely that would give a sensible person reason to reconsider their definition of the word “suspicious”?


In my teen years I was at the mall with some friends and we noticed a plain clothes security guy following us. So we split up and half the group started following him.


Most of the people who would get rid of the security theater bullshit fall into one of two categories:

Outspoken leftists who care about their personal freedoms.

Outspoken rightists who care about their personal freedoms in a different and sometimes (but not always) mistaken way.

Both groups are in the minority among the current American public, for whom the perception of safety justifies any chains.

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Not really related to the topic at hand, but I just got back from a domestic (US) trip which involved air travel, which means interaction with the TSA and their workings. It seems that the threat level has been reduced and the flying public is much safer now. The reason I say that is because on both the outbound and return portions of the trip, we were not required to a) remove our laptop from our bag, and b) remove our shoes.

Hurray, we’re safe! Thanks, TSA! /s
Is it now time to disband this theater? /!s

Came to post that, am not disappointment.

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