Naked Body Scanners, “Enhanced” patdowns, and more… what you need to know what going through airport security…
When you travel, you will often bring devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets that store your personal information. Protecting the information from these devices from prying eyes can be a bit complicated, but can be extremely important when traveling to certain countries. Devices can be confiscated, and you want to...
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) receives most of its media attention for its actions along our southern border. However, as the largest component of the Department of Homeland Security, CBP has a much greater role in your foreign travel experience than the TSA could even dream of. Bringing Digital Data into the U.S. Processing...
With 25 years in the FBI working on counter-terrorism, Steve Moore’s analysis of the TSA’s complete failure
is a worthy read.
Kenneth G. Lieberthal of the Brookings Institution frequently travels to China. When he does, he follows a routine that seems straight from a spy film.
- He doesn’t bring his own laptop and cell phone. Instead, he brings “loaner” devices. He erases them before he leaves the United States, and he wipes them clean when he returns.
- When he’s in China, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are always disabled, and he never lets his phone out of his sight. When having sensitive discussions, he doesn’t just turn off his phone, he removes the battery because he knows his microphone could be turned on remotely. (Sound paranoid? This has happened in the U.S., though it was with a warrant.)
- He only connects to the Internet through an encrypted, password-protected channel. He copy/pastes his passwords from an encrypted USB thumb drive rather than typing them to thwart keylogging software. (“…the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”)
Apparently, U.S. Customs considers damaging (whether intentional or accidental) the embedded chip in your passport to be grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S.
The article talks about an instance where Customs chose to deny a young child access to the flight, effectively denying the entire family travel. Reportedly, the kid had accidentally sat on his passport, which creased the cover and broke the RFID chip.
According to the CBP agent, breaking the chip in the passport “shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport,” and that the airport was deemed justified in denying the family passage. (In what world is it custom’s job to determine your emotional connection to your passport?)
Ridiculous. While intentional tampering is inappropriate (and unnecessary with the wide availability of RFID blocking passport wallets) accidental damage should never result in travel restriction. While it is impossible to accurately determine accidental vs. intentional damage, the passports can be verified without a functional RFID, and there is no reason to deny passage.Read More
There’s some pretty compelling evidence that a passenger is more likely to be selected for TSA enhanced imaging screening if she is an attractive female. Interesting, since there haven’t been many incidents of air travel related terrorist attacks perpetrated by pretty young women with nice figures. Over 500 complaints were analyzed, and the trend is clear… It seems that having the agent selecting passengers for screening separate from the agents viewing the output is insufficient, since the agents can coordinate activities.Read More
PrivacyCast has a great overview on connecting safely to public WiFi networks when on the road.
- Use (AND VERIFY!) SSL connections when possible
- Use a VPN or Proxy
- Be careful what networks you connect to
Definitely worth a read…Read More
Looks like the TSA may have detained the wrong guy. Senator Rand Paul was detained by the TSA today after setting off an alarm on the naked body scanners. He was later released, but this has got to agitate an already vocal opponent of the TSA’s invasion of traveler rights.Read More