Common sense on the TSA

Good post from Bruce Schneier on the Backlash against the TSA’s new Backscatter Scanners or search-by-grope initiative.

A good counter-point to the “More security is always better” brigade:

According to the Cornell study, roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.

This Backscatter/groping nonsense is the kind of response the terrorists wanted – now our governments will terrorise us a little more every day.

Sadly it would doom any politician to lay out the real tradeoffs – which inevitably means people die either by Terrorists, motor accidents, or natural causes. Perhaps this is an example of why we should preserve the House of Lords, who can at least talk hard truths without fearing a backlash from an emotional electorate.

Interestingly the UK trialled Backscatter machines (at least, I think that is what they were) in Terminal 4 a few years ago. They randomly selected people to go through the machine, and everything proceeded quite calmly. I can’t help but feel the heavy-handed approach of the TSA is the real problem here, if they’d taken the UK approach everything would have been fine.

I also wonder why the UK didn’t rollout Backscatter scanners in Terminal 5 at Heathrow…

I still think the Israelis do it best, why can’t the rest of the world can’t just learn from them?