Security: The Weekend in Review

In the good old days, the world nearly ground to a halt during the weekend. That’s not so anymore, and that’s why we’ll take a quick look at some interesting things that popped up this past Saturday and Sunday.

The TSA notices stuff!

In this case, the video that we’ve talked a little about before, where Jonathan Corbett (his blog and video here) proves that the body scanners, a.k.a. nude scanners, nude-o-scopes, pornoscopes etc, can be easily fooled by carrying the item you wish to smuggle in a side pocket. This is possible since the images of the front and back of the person in the scanner are viewed and analyzed on a black background, and objects will show up in that same shade.

The TSA calls the video “a crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures”, in what can only be called a poorly written, hasty attempt at discrediting what is obviously a major weakness in the body scanners. Instead of addressing the issue, the TSA has chosen (once again) to ignore and ridicule those who dare to challenge it.

Security cameras installed in Muncie schools – sign of growing trend

Wilson Assistant Principal Sandra Whitaker said the cameras — more than 60 installed there — have had a positive impact on the school.

She said they are just “another tool” for creating a better learning environment.

Brian Lipscomb, security chief for MCS, noted recently that the cameras at the middle schools were part of the district’s Action Plan for Security Enhancement, developed last year, under the category of “future goals and objectives.”

Cameras in schools (and kindergartens, for that matter) was long frowned upon, but the trend is clear both in the US and in several European countries – cameras are there to stay, and even if most schools try to limit the number of cameras used, the use of them is spreading.

Cameras at both schools can be monitored from the desktop computers of the administrators.

And there are more cameras to come. Cameras will be installed next at the Muncie Area Career Center, according to Lipscomb.

What do you think about camera surveillance in schools? Let us know in the comments!

In Texas, Homeland Security Act used to block FOIA requests



A review by the Austin-American Statesman found that government lawyers have argued that the law shields diagrams of school classrooms, drawings of underground rock formations and exterior pictures of the Governor’s Mansion.

The article also mentions that this blocking of a.o. camera recordings has been going on at least since 2010.


In 2010, concerned about perceived inequities among the Birdville school district’s three high schools, a local resident asked to look at blueprints of one school’s athletic area.

But administrators for the Tarrant County district refused to release the information, which until recently had been posted on its website.

The reason: terrorism.

The building plans “detail particular vulnerabilities of the high school’s athletic area to a terrorist attack,” such as the location of “fire alarms, sprinklers, electrical outlets, entrances, dimension of walls, and switch boxes,” stated a letter filed with the state attorney general’s office, which decides open records disputes in Texas. The drawings could “provide potential killers with the outline of their attack.”

After the DoS’s redaction fail the other day, one would think that both state and federal governments should consider the negative press and opinion such wide use of laws intended for other purposes might lead to.

“Israelis” disrupt Vegas to Heathrow flight?

The AP has the following comment about a flight being “disrupted” on its way to London:

Neither police nor British Airways would confirm a report by Britain’s Sky News that the men were Israeli passport holders who made “threatening comments” regarding Iran.

So… the AP made that up themselves and couldn’t get it confirmed? Apparently.

In other UK news:


The brother of former EastEnders actor Gemma McCluskie, whose headless torso was found dumped in a canal, has been charged with her murder.

Tony McCluskie, 35, of Hackney, has been charged with his sister’s murder after her remains were found floating in Regent’s canal in East London on Tuesday.

Detectives believe she was killed after attending the opening of the Royal London hospital in nearby Whitechapel.

Not a very healthy family relationship, in other words…

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