Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


$4.5 Billion and Whaddaya Get?

If you’re the Department of Homeland Security, another day older and deeper in debt.
The New York Times reports on “U.S. to Spend Billions More to Alter Security Systems:”

Passenger-screening equipment at airports that auditors have found is no more likely than before federal screeners took over to detect whether someone is trying to carry a weapon or a bomb aboard a plane.

The Transportation Security Administration bought 1,344 machines costing more than $1 million each to search for explosives in checked bags by examining the density of objects inside. But innocuous items as varied as Yorkshire pudding and shampoo bottles, which happen to have a density similar to certain explosives, can set off the machines, causing false alarms for 15 percent to 30 percent of all luggage, an agency official said. The frequent alarms require airports across the country to have extra screeners to examine these bags.

Scared Monkeys point out that Cox and Forkham sum it up well:

And now they’d like us to trust them as they pass the REAL ID act and CAPPS-3?

One comment on "$4.5 Billion and Whaddaya Get?"

  • How many of the suppliers of this expensive equipment will be sheltering behind the astonishing SAFETY Act (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act) of 2002 ?
    This exempts them from civil liability for causing false alarms or, even, potentially, for causing death or injury to the public or to government employees, provided that they are on the “approved list”.

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