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October 22, 2007

How to Smuggle a Bomb Through Airport Security

(Okay, I hope that title doesn’t get me a visit from Homeland Security…)

According to a government report released last week, the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration agents made almost 300 attempts last year to smuggle bombs past security screeners at three major American airports. Twenty percent of the bombs passed through undetected at San Francisco International Airport, sixty percent at Chicago O’Hare, and seventy-five percent at Los Angeles International Airport.

Clark Kent Ervin, a former Homeland Security inspector general, calls this “a huge cause for concern” and says that the screeners’ poor performance might encourage terrorists to try smuggling bombs and other weapons on board planes.

Okay, now here’s a thought: Is it possible that terrorists might be less emboldened by the screeners’ poor performances themselves than by the fact that the government saw fit to release the report including specific details?

This is nothing new, by the way: A few years back, the government released a study of which American port cities were most vulnerable to terrorist attack and why.

October 18, 2007

Big Brother is Driving You

In 2009, General Motors plans to add Stolen Vehicle Slowdown to its OnStar system. This new technology will allow police, once they’ve located a car that’s been reported stolen, to remotely cut power to the engine and slow the vehicle to a stop.

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will be added to the OnStar service by default, but customers will be allowed to opt out of it.

Given the many ways this could be abused, or even hacked into by people not at all related to law enforcement, would you be completely comfortable with a system allowing outside access to your car?

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