Security Horror Stories (Weekly Roundup)

This Week’s Security Horror Story :  Have you ever noticed how most legislation that is introduced to protect us against terrorists seems to end up doing little or nothing to help us ‘win the war against terrorism’, while adding another layer of inconvenience and restriction on ordinary people for no apparent good purpose?

Many of these new measures are naïvely introduced by politicians with good intentions but bad understandings; by people who can legislate more quickly than they can think.

To read an analysis of the latest example of legislation that does nothing to fight terrorism, please click the link.

Next time you go through airport security screening, please be sure to be well behaved.

Did you know that if you upset the TSA, you risk being entered into a special database of theirs that keeps details of people who make its screeners feel ‘threatened’.  Whatever you do, don’t threaten a TSA screener with the brutal application of logic or common sense.

If you work for a government agency, airport, airlines, railroads, or bus system, the TSA may retaliate for your ‘threatening’ a screener by calling your boss and secretly complaining about you.  Or, if at some future stage you apply for such a job, you may find any entry about you (or someone with a similar name…) coming back to haunt you too.

The nastiest part of this is that in two or three or 10 or 20 years time, you will probably have absolutely no memory of the alleged event, and no way to credibly rebut the allegations, or to give your side of the story, or to try and prove that it was not you, but someone else entirely.

This is a dreadfully un-American and unfair situation.  If the TSA have a legitimate grievance, they should formally raise it with you and get some type of third-party dispute resolution process to rule on the issue.  They should not secretly record their side of the story only and then trap you with it, many years later.

One thing is for sure.  A lot of these entries will be ‘defensive’ entries by screeners who choose to enter a ‘complaint’ of their own to protect them in the case you subsequently complain about them or their behavior.  Whatever the circumstance, their side of the story will be far from impartial and unbiased.  Years later, it will be their written word against your inability to even remember anything about the situation, and – worst of all – you might never even know about it.  You might find that the really good job you seemed certain to get somehow mysteriously goes to someone else at the last moment, with the hiring manager acting strange and embarrassed.

Details here.

Bottom line :  any time you have any type of altercation with the TSA and it escalates to a point where they in some form or another are able to ascertain your possible ID, you should make your own contemporaneous notes about the situation as soon as possible, and then follow up with a freedom of information request to the TSA requesting details of all information they may have stored about you in any of their files or databases.  If they write back and tell you they are holding no information, keep that response, so that if at any future stage you have problems, you can point to that response and claim that it must be a case of mistaken identity.

Maybe even keep a copy of this blog entry, so you can explain why it is that you went to the unusual length of asking the TSA if they were keeping any information about you on file.

1 thought on “Security Horror Stories (Weekly Roundup)”

  1. Pingback: Miscellaneous Weekly Roundup » The Travel Insider

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top

Free Weekly Emailed Newsletter

Usually weekly, since 2001, we publish a roundup of travel and travel related technology developments, and often a feature article too.

You’ll stay up to date with the latest and greatest (and cautioned about the worst) developments.  You’ll get information to help you choose and become a better informed traveler and consumer, how to best use new technologies, and at times, will learn of things that might entertain, amuse, annoy or even outrage you.

We’re very politically incorrect and love to point out the unrebutted hypocrisies and unfairnesses out there.

This is all entirely free (but you’re welcome to voluntarily contribute!), and should you wish to, easy to cancel.

We’re not about to spam you any which way and as you can see, we don’t ask for any information except your email address and how often you want to receive our newsletters.

Newsletter Signup - Welcome!

Thanks for choosing to receive our newsletters.  We hope you’ll enjoy them and become a long-term reader, and maybe on occasion, add comments and thoughts of your own to the newsletters and articles we publish.

We’ll send you a confirmation email some time in the next few days to confirm your email address, and when you reply to that, you’ll then be on the list.

All the very best for now, and welcome to the growing “Travel Insider family”.