Guide: Smuggling liquids on a place

liquids-on-a-plane_resize.jpg Thankfully, there are more people out there that feel as I do about some of the so-called “security” we are getting for our tax dollars.  And they are way smarter than I am, so they write insightful things about the problem.  So there are frequently new posts out there from which I can draw.  The latest is this simple “guide” to taking your liquids on a plane with you.

My latest experiment with TSA security happened by accident. I recently flew to Memphis on business, and while I was there I bought my wife a souvenir bottle of Vidalia onion salad dressing (pictured at left [well, not on my site when I rip his text]). Vidalia onions are one of the four food groups of the South, the other three being barbecue, fried foods, and gravy.

. . .

I took my time packing up my things, watching her wrap the bottle loosely in the paper and drop it into the trash barrel.

I looked around casually. There weren’t very many TSA agents servicing the area, and they were joking around, screening oncoming passengers, watching the X-ray monitor. Everyone’s attention was focused elsewhere. No one was watching me.

I moseyed over to the walkway and glanced in the barrel. It was filled with half-empty coffee cups and discarded water bottles. There, on top of the trash, wrapped in its protective paper, was my salad dressing.

. . .

Calmly, I reached down into that unstable barrel of atomic liquid and grabbed my salad dressing. Then I calmly boarded the moving walkway, and stuffed the salad dressing down my pants. The TSA lets you keep things there, apparently.

No one came after me. I have to be honest, it was almost like they wanted me to take it. The hardest part was returning a few minutes later to take these pictures on my cameraphone.

Mission accomplished, I suppose.  Read the full article for more details and the camera phone pictures that go along with the story.  This story has been covered by several of my favorite web sites/blogs/smarty-smart folks.  Schneier rightly points out that this probably isn’t a smart thing to brag about online and that he probably wouldn’t have been so glib had he been caught.  Boingboing, other the other hand, looks at this from the critique of DHS security standpoint:

The reason this “smuggling” technique works, of course, is that liquids aren’t dangerous. Everyone knows this — even the TSA. That’s why they don’t guard the barrel after they confiscate your wine, water, and salad-dressing. The point of taking away your liquid isn’t to make airplanes safe, it’s to simultaneously make you afraid (of terrorists with magic water-bombs) and then make you feel safe (because the government is fighting off the magic water-bombs). It’s what Bruce Schneier calls “security theater.”

So take your pick of viewpoints – probably unwise and overly risky or possible because everyone realizes liquids aren’t that risky.  Or both, which is what I think – he wasn’t doing himself a favor by doing this, but it wasn’t likely to be caught given how non-dangerous liquids are and therefore unprotected after “disposal” anyway.

[tags]Liquids on a plane, How to smuggle liquids onto a plane, That Zug guy[/tags]