Wil Wheaton on the TSA

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:03 pm UTC

hanecter wrote:including children and sexual assault survivors. WHAT THE FUCK.

You can't exclude people from security measures because, if you do, terrorists have been known to use those people. Of course, the TSA is so shitty at figuring out who goes through extra screening. They do it randomly, I think, which is stupid. Really, who's more likely to attack the plane: a six year old girl speaking in English with her mother, or the two Arab men separated by 10 people in the line sending each other signals? Oh, but you can't pick on the latter party because that would be profiling which is always bad, apparently.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Belial » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:07 pm UTC

It's cute because you think the measures would be effective at all anyway under any conditions short of a full cavity search.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:11 pm UTC

Belial wrote:It's cute because you think the measures would be effective at all anyway under any conditions short of a full cavity search.


What we should do is what Israel does: question the passengers.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby hanecter » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:22 pm UTC

Belial wrote:It's cute because you think the measures would be effective at all anyway under any conditions short of a full cavity search.

Exactly. We're molesting children and sexual assault survivors for no benefit in safety.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:27 pm UTC

hanecter wrote:
Belial wrote:It's cute because you think the measures would be effective at all anyway under any conditions short of a full cavity search.

Exactly. We're molesting children and sexual assault survivors for no benefit in safety.

But it looks like we're concerned about safety, and isn't that all that matters?
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby hanecter » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:43 pm UTC

I sincerely hope that was sarcasm.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
hanecter wrote:
Belial wrote:It's cute because you think the measures would be effective at all anyway under any conditions short of a full cavity search.

Exactly. We're molesting children and sexual assault survivors for no benefit in safety.

But it looks like we're concerned about safety, and isn't that all that matters?


Not if the security measures in question don't actually work.

And if they violate everyone's privacy in the process.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:49 pm UTC

Of course it was sarcasm. I thought it would be more obvious than you all found it. My bad.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby folkhero » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:20 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:What we should do is what Israel does: question the passengers.

How many interviewers would be required for a large airport like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and how many would be required for a small airport like Valdosta Regional Airport? How much money would it take to get these interviewers trained, and how much to pay their salaries? What would the benefits be in terms of lives saved? If your goal was to save lives (American or otherwise) can you think of a more efficient way to use those dollars and man-hours?
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Dark567 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:25 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:What we should do is what Israel does: question the passengers.

How many interviewers would be required for a large airport like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and how many would be required for a small airport like Valdosta Regional Airport? How much money would it take to get these interviewers trained, and how much to pay their salaries? What would the benefits be in terms of lives saved? If your goal was to save lives (American or otherwise) can you think of a more efficient way to use those dollars and man-hours?
See, they don't actually interview all the passengers. In practice they only interview Arabs. Thats why they can do it efficiently.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:25 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
folkhero wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:What we should do is what Israel does: question the passengers.

How many interviewers would be required for a large airport like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and how many would be required for a small airport like Valdosta Regional Airport? How much money would it take to get these interviewers trained, and how much to pay their salaries? What would the benefits be in terms of lives saved? If your goal was to save lives (American or otherwise) can you think of a more efficient way to use those dollars and man-hours?
See, they don't actually interview all the passengers. In practice they only interview Arabs. Thats why they can do it efficiently.

They interview all the passengers. A few years ago, my parents and I went to Israel. We're all caucasian, Jewish, and two of us were children but they interviewed us anyways.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:If your goal was to save lives (American or otherwise) can you think of a more efficient way to use those dollars and man-hours?

Well, when you take money that is currently being spent on a 0% efficient process like body scanners, and put it towards a, let's say, 5% efficient process such as interviewing, you improve efficiency, regardless of whether or not you can actually interview everyone.

Interviewing four people could actually make the country safer, while scanning every single person does not.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby folkhero » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:24 pm UTC

It's probably marginally better than the scanners, but that doesn't make it anywhere near good. Employing professional petitioners to ask The Lord to not let any airplanes be destroyed would also probably be better than the scanners because at least they won't kill anyone with ionizing radiation. The point I'm making is that if we have this money that we've decided to spend on preventing deaths of Americans (or people traveling in America), then we can come up with things to do that are dramatically more efficient than either the scanners or interviewers.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Velict » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
folkhero wrote:If your goal was to save lives (American or otherwise) can you think of a more efficient way to use those dollars and man-hours?

Well, when you take money that is currently being spent on a 0% efficient process like body scanners, and put it towards a, let's say, 5% efficient process such as interviewing, you improve efficiency, regardless of whether or not you can actually interview everyone.

Interviewing four people could actually make the country safer, while scanning every single person does not.

My take on this: the intelligences agencies actively work to make America safer. The TSA's role is a little different; if nothing else, they exist to make people feel safer. I doubt many policy makers in D.C. really think that the TSA plays a significant role in making us safer. By the time a terrorist plot reaches an airport in Nairobi or Amsterdam, there isn't much to do be done.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Qaanol » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

Velict wrote:My take on this: the intelligences agencies actively work to make America safer. The TSA's role is a little different; if nothing else, they exist to make people feel safer. I doubt many policy makers in D.C. really think that the TSA plays a significant role in making us safer. By the time a terrorist plot reaches an airport in Nairobi or Amsterdam, there isn't much to do be done.

I am America. The TSA makes me feel less safe, feel that my constitutional rights are less safe, and feel that the United States of America as a free non-police-state is less safe.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:53 pm UTC

Interviews are fundamentally similar to scans and share similar vulnerabilities. They are not any more 'secure' or 'efficient' for purposes of detecting and preventing terrorist attacks.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Glass Fractal » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:11 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Interviews are fundamentally similar to scans and share similar vulnerabilities. They are not any more 'secure' or 'efficient' for purposes of detecting and preventing terrorist attacks.


They do have the advantage of not violating people's rights, at least not in the same way. I wonder how effective it would be. Are there any statistics on a trained interviewer's ability to detect lies?

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Dark567 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:48 pm UTC

I don't recall any study about human lie detection showing it to be much better than chance, except for a few outlier 'wizards'.
Although I read an abstract recently that indicated lie detection across cultures is more difficult even than normal lie detection.

It doesn't really matter, on the level of fundamental security vulnerabilities the actual capabilities of the interviewers mater very little, it's easy to construct an attack profile that is undetectable to the interviewer or bypasses the screening altogether. (It doesn't matter how good the interviewer is if the person they are interviewing is unaware they are carrying a bomb, or if someone just slips a baggage handler a Benjamin to get a package on the plane for example)
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Velict » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:52 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:
Velict wrote:My take on this: the intelligences agencies actively work to make America safer. The TSA's role is a little different; if nothing else, they exist to make people feel safer. I doubt many policy makers in D.C. really think that the TSA plays a significant role in making us safer. By the time a terrorist plot reaches an airport in Nairobi or Amsterdam, there isn't much to do be done.

I am America. The TSA makes me feel less safe, feel that my constitutional rights are less safe, and feel that the United States of America as a free non-police-state is less safe.

That's certainly the position that most civil libertarians would take, but it's a hard case to make if you want to say that most Americans agree with the civil libertarians here.


EdgarJPublius wrote:It doesn't really matter, on the level of fundamental security vulnerabilities the actual capabilities of the interviewers mater very little, it's easy to construct an attack profile that is undetectable to the interviewer or bypasses the screening altogether. (It doesn't matter how good the interviewer is if the person they are interviewing is unaware they are carrying a bomb, or if someone just slips a baggage handler a Benjamin to get a package on the plane for example)

I'm inclined to agree. Our best chances to foil terrorist plots are not in the airport security line.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Isaac Hill » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:57 pm UTC

Velict wrote:My take on this: the intelligences agencies actively work to make America safer. The TSA's role is a little different; if nothing else, they exist to make people feel safer. I doubt many policy makers in D.C. really think that the TSA plays a significant role in making us safer. By the time a terrorist plot reaches an airport in Nairobi or Amsterdam, there isn't much to do be done.

Plus, no one wants to be the guy who suggests, let alone implements, a reduction in "security" in case there's a terrorist attack the next week. Even if it can be proven that the eliminated secrity measures wouldn't have caught the bad guy, or even if the bad guy is caught by other means, the next election cycle would be dominated by ads saying, "Congressman Blah voted to reduce airport security, leaving America vulnerable to attack by terrorist Yadda al Yadda*." Congressman Blah would be painted as al Queda's inside man in Congress.

* even if the terrorist isn't Muslim, he would be in the ads
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:16 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.


Why can't we follow this policy? Virtually all of the people who have tried to attack us are also Arabs. I'm not sure why people think that profiling is automatically bad.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Malice » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:20 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Dark567 wrote:http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.


Why can't we follow this policy? Virtually all of the people who have tried to attack us are also Arabs. I'm not sure why people think that profiling is automatically bad.


1. If we only look at Arabs, any Arab would-be terrorists will simply recruit non-Arabs.
2. There have been numerous terror attacks in the US perpetrated by non-Arabs, from Timothy McVeigh to the guy who flew a plane into the IRS building; although that doesn't hold up when we're talking about strictly air travel terrorists... a sample size so small it's essentially meaningless.
3. Profiling inconveniences, insults, degrades, and indicates the second-class citizen status of the targeted minority. Oh, and it also tends to anger them. Where do terrorists come from again? Oh, right, now I remember, they form spontaneously in trash piles wherever freedom lives.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Velict » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:39 am UTC

Malice wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Dark567 wrote:http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.


Why can't we follow this policy? Virtually all of the people who have tried to attack us are also Arabs. I'm not sure why people think that profiling is automatically bad.


1. If we only look at Arabs, any Arab would-be terrorists will simply recruit non-Arabs.


Basically this. Suppose they start getting Nigerian Muslims to commit terrorist asks (like AQIAP has in the past). Then we're racially profiling blacks because they're terrorists? I can only begin to imagine the uproar there.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:08 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Dark567 wrote:http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.


Why can't we follow this policy? Virtually all of the people who have tried to attack us are also Arabs. I'm not sure why people think that profiling is automatically bad.


Don't be stupid. Terrorists make up a non-existent proportion of Arab fliers. You'd be perpetrating an unjustified stereotype, inconveniencing and belittling thousands of innocent people for no purpose.

It pisses me off that people even consider this potentially viable.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:37 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Dark567 wrote:http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.


Why can't we follow this policy? Virtually all of the people who have tried to attack us are also Arabs. I'm not sure why people think that profiling is automatically bad.


Don't be stupid. Terrorists make up a non-existent proportion of Arab fliers. You'd be perpetrating an unjustified stereotype, inconveniencing and belittling thousands of innocent people for no purpose.

It pisses me off that people even consider this potentially viable.


I never equated "most people who try to attack us via planes are arabs" with "most arabs try to attack us with planes." That is absolutely ridiculous. However, if one group is more likely to be dangerous, we should probably pay more attention to that group.

Malice wrote:Profiling inconveniences, insults, degrades, and indicates the second-class citizen status of the targeted minority. Oh, and it also tends to anger them. Where do terrorists come from again?

Are you implying that we cause terrorists with our actions?
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:45 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Malice wrote:Profiling inconveniences, insults, degrades, and indicates the second-class citizen status of the targeted minority. Oh, and it also tends to anger them. Where do terrorists come from again?

Are you implying that we cause terrorists with our actions?

What, you weren't aware that western policies contribute to the matter? Well that seems rather naive.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:16 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Dark567 wrote:http://www.slate.com/id/2279753/
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id ... _article=1 *
Seriously, interviews are even worse for rights. The reason Isreali security is so good is that they screen ethnicities for the interviews. Even if they give them to everyone, the ones for Arabs are much worse.


Why can't we follow this policy? Virtually all of the people who have tried to attack us are also Arabs. I'm not sure why people think that profiling is automatically bad.


Don't be stupid. Terrorists make up a non-existent proportion of Arab fliers. You'd be perpetrating an unjustified stereotype, inconveniencing and belittling thousands of innocent people for no purpose.

It pisses me off that people even consider this potentially viable.


I never equated "most people who try to attack us via planes are arabs" with "most arabs try to attack us with planes." That is absolutely ridiculous. However, if one group is more likely to be dangerous, we should probably pay more attention to that group.


You did equate the two when you decided that all Arabs should be targeted for discrimination and inconvenience. Let alone the fact that doing so would bring absolutely no benefit.

Do you even have real evidence for your assertion that 'most people who to attack us... are arabs'? Or are you just making a fanciful generalization based on a small percentage of attacks?
Here's a clue, aerial terrorism against the U.S. has been around for a lot longer than ten years. And as others have pointed out already, it's not as though extremist Muslims are a homogeneous ethnic group anyway.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:32 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Malice wrote:Profiling inconveniences, insults, degrades, and indicates the second-class citizen status of the targeted minority. Oh, and it also tends to anger them. Where do terrorists come from again?

Are you implying that we cause terrorists with our actions?

What, you weren't aware that western policies contribute to the matter? Well that seems rather naive.

There's a difference between saying that and saying that we provoked these terrorists. Yes, obviously American-Soviet proxy wars contributed to the rise of Al-Qaida, but we did not mistreat them into attacking us.

Edgar wrote:You did equate the two when you decided that all Arabs should be targeted for discrimination and inconvenience. Let alone the fact that doing so would bring absolutely no benefit.


You're right, we should only target people that we know are terrorists for extra screening. But barring Minority Report technology, we should probably pay more attention to groups that are more likely to attack us.

Do you even have real evidence for your assertion that 'most people who to attack us... are arabs'? Or are you just making a fanciful generalization based on a small percentage of attacks?
Here's a clue, aerial terrorism against the U.S. has been around for a lot longer than ten years.


Well yes, but we should probably be concerned with present threats and not past ones.



Interesting stuff. Unfortunately, there are two problems with his arguments. First, while it's true that there will be evildoers who don't meet the evildoer profile, the point of the profile is that evildoers are more likely to fall into that category, not certain to. As for the fear of additional invasion of privacy: given how things are with the TSA now, as far as public opinion goes, interview profiling would be, at worst, a lateral move and the security effectiveness of it would be greatly increased.
Last edited by sourmìlk on Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:35 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Malice wrote:Profiling inconveniences, insults, degrades, and indicates the second-class citizen status of the targeted minority. Oh, and it also tends to anger them. Where do terrorists come from again?

Are you implying that we cause terrorists with our actions?

What, you weren't aware that western policies contribute to the matter? Well that seems rather naive.

There's a difference between saying that and saying that we provoked these terrorists. Yes, obviously American-Soviet proxy wars contributed to the rise of Al-Qaida, but we mistreat them into attacking us.

Really, western hegemony, centuries of colonization, economic oppression, don't factor into your picture at all? After all, if you're oppressed and have no political say in the matter it's expected of you to be passive until those with power decide that you deserve to be treated as fully human. Certain ideological notions of proper resistance against oppression serve only the oppressor.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:25 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Really, western hegemony, centuries of colonization, economic oppression, don't factor into your picture at all? After all, if you're oppressed and have no political say in the matter it's expected of you to be passive until those with power decide that you deserve to be treated as fully human. Certain ideological notions of proper resistance against oppression serve only the oppressor.

No, particularly as we funded Al-Qaida and then they chose to go after purely ideological enemies like Israel.

I removed the completely irrelevant parts from your post. Drag one more topic into an Israel debate and you will be removed. -Hawk
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:45 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:Really, western hegemony, centuries of colonization, economic oppression, don't factor into your picture at all? After all, if you're oppressed and have no political say in the matter it's expected of you to be passive until those with power decide that you deserve to be treated as fully human. Certain ideological notions of proper resistance against oppression serve only the oppressor.

No, particularly as we funded Al-Qaida and then they chose to go after purely ideological enemies like Israel. Speaking of Israel, many of the terrorist organizations they deal with started there activities before Israel committed any of the acts one might consider atrocities

Most forced segue ever.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:47 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:Really, western hegemony, centuries of colonization, economic oppression, don't factor into your picture at all? After all, if you're oppressed and have no political say in the matter it's expected of you to be passive until those with power decide that you deserve to be treated as fully human. Certain ideological notions of proper resistance against oppression serve only the oppressor.

No, particularly as we funded Al-Qaida and then they chose to go after purely ideological enemies like Israel. Speaking of Israel, many of the terrorist organizations they deal with started there activities before Israel committed any of the acts one might consider atrocities

Most forced segue ever.

The point of it was the show that terrorism need not arrive from oppression. In other words: terrorism isn't necessarily (or perhaps even usually) the result of our mistreatment of a people.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:13 am UTC

Even given that, I'm sure you can see how the standard response to said acts of terrorism can radicalise otherwise peaceful people against us? In the end, it's moot point who started it, what matters is that our strategy for dealing with it is counter-productive.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:15 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Even given that, I'm sure you can see how the standard response to said acts of terrorism can radicalise otherwise peaceful people against us? In the end, it's moot point who started it, what matters is that our strategy for dealing with it is counter-productive.

How do we know that it's counter-productive? I mean, sure the current strategy is very unproductive.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:24 am UTC

Correction: could be counter-productive. Since we never hear about the attacks which didn't happen, it's hard to know for sure.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:36 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Correction: could be counter-productive. Since we never hear about the attacks which didn't happen, it's hard to know for sure.

Hmm...

based on the fact that it appears to work in Israel, I'd say it's most likely not to be counter-productive. Clearly Israel and the USA are different, but not in any significant way in this case that I can think of.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:09 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Edgar wrote:You did equate the two when you decided that all Arabs should be targeted for discrimination and inconvenience. Let alone the fact that doing so would bring absolutely no benefit.


You're right, we should only target people that we know are terrorists for extra screening. But barring Minority Report technology, we should probably pay more attention to groups that are more likely to attack us.


If we already know who the terrorists are, screening at the airport is irrelevant. And if we don't know who the terrorists are, screening at the airport is... irrelevant, since it can't actually tell us who they are.

As already mentioned multiple times now, the 'groups most likely to attack us' are not ethnically homogeneous, and even within the larger category (Muslims) the number of actual threatening individuals who belong to that group is infinitesimally small. So even if screening did work (make no mistake, it doesn't) focusing on Islamic fliers would not appreciably increase the chances of success but would significantly increase the violation and discrimination against a large group of citizens.

But screening doesn't work.

Do you even have real evidence for your assertion that 'most people who to attack us... are arabs'? Or are you just making a fanciful generalization based on a small percentage of attacks?
Here's a clue, aerial terrorism against the U.S. has been around for a lot longer than ten years.


Well yes, but we should probably be concerned with present threats and not past ones.


Present threats like what? Law Abiding citizens who happen to be (or resemble) ethnic Arabs?

And at the same time we should apparently ignore other potential threats, past and future?

It is also profoundly naive to assume that because less than a handful of recent incidents have involved members of a particular group, that future attacks are more likely to come from the same group.



Interesting stuff. Unfortunately, there are two problems with his arguments. First, while it's true that there will be evildoers who don't meet the evildoer profile, the point of the profile is that evildoers are more likely to fall into that category, not certain to.


Profiling is fundamentally a zero sum game, when you choose to focus on one group you are implicitly choosing to relax scrutiny on others.
And, you are ignoring the likelihood that terrorists would circumvent the profile by disguising themselves as members of other groups.

As for the fear of additional invasion of privacy: given how things are with the TSA now, as far as public opinion goes, interview profiling would be, at worst, a lateral move


Would you feel it was a 'lateral move' if some group you belonged to was the target?

and the security effectiveness of it would be greatly increased.


No actually, the opposite of that.

The whole fucking point of the Schneier article is that you can't separate people into groups where one is 'more likely to be a terrorist' and the other is 'less likely to be a terrorist'. Terrorists are rare, they can come from any background or profile and they are likely to disguise their true profile anyway. If you establish a 'profile' for terrorists, even if it is an accurate one, you are only inviting them to defy it such as by disguising themselves as members of groups outside the profile, or by recruiting members from outside the profile. And, terrorists are not fundamentally different from their profile in any obvious way, anyone with a little coaching could muster enough sincerity to pass even an intense interview.

sourmìlk wrote:based on the fact that it appears to work in Israel


Based on what evidence exactly?
One could reason that because there have been no successful attacks on any American flight since 9/11 that the TSA 'works', but this would be justt as wrong.
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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby Zamfir » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:36 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:Correction: could be counter-productive. Since we never hear about the attacks which didn't happen, it's hard to know for sure.

Hmm...

based on the fact that it appears to work in Israel, I'd say it's most likely not to be counter-productive. Clearly Israel and the USA are different, but not in any significant way in this case that I can think of.

The size of air travel might be one...
compare:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airports_in_Israel#By_passenger_numbers
with
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_busiest_airports_in_the_United_States#By_total_passengers_.282009_preliminary.29
I dug into the sources, and from some FAA excel file the total boardings in the US for all airports was 696 million in 2009 (including transfers probably, but those have to be secured too. Some other sources mention 630 million boardings.)

The top 5 of Israel adds up to 14 million passengers/year, and the rest has less then 45 thousand passengers. Call it 15 million for all airfields in total, to be on the safe side. I cant find boardings alone, but roughly half would make 7.5 million boardings.

So per capita, US airports handle 2.3 boardings/year/capita, and Israel about 1. Not so surprising, since the US has a large volume of internal air traffic, more than pretty much any other country or similarly sized region in the world.

Of course, that means that incoming international flights (also a potantial risk) are a larger fraction of Israeli traffic than in the US. But even the combination (domestic boardings + arrivals from foreign countries) will be larger for the US, in total but also per capita.

On top of the larger volume, the US traffic is spread out a lot more. Ben Gurion handles 12 million passenger/year, 80% of all air traffic in Israel. That would make it something like the 30th airport in the US. Eilat and Sde Dov do practicallly all other traffic, and they would be around the 100th and 150th largest airport in the US.

So the US has to secure far, far more passengers, at a lot more different places than Israel. And security is not much better than its weakest spot, so the US has to think about security measures that can be realistically applied to hundreds of fields, not the handful of Israel.

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Re: Wil Wheaton on the TSA

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:40 am UTC

So, it's not necessarily a matter of the procedure itself being ineffective, but the fact that it can't scale up?
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