PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun!

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Box 01After blogging a few weeks ago about the airline screening playset, I went ahead and ordered one.

Each day, I would check my mailbox, eager with excitement about its arrival. Today, it finally arrived. I rushed to open it and began what would be hours of exciting play. Here’s what came in the playset:

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Set 01

I was a bit disappointed in the toy’s lack of realism. There was only one passenger to be screened. Where were the long lines? The passenger’s clothing wasn’t removable for strip searching. The passenger’s shoes couldn’t be removed either. Her luggage fit easily inside the X-ray machine. There were no silly warning signs not to carry guns or bombs onto the plane. And there was no No Fly List or Selectee List included in the playset.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 01

Another oddity was that the toy came with two guns, one for the police officer and one that either belonged to the X-ray screener or the passenger. The luggage actually opened up, and the gun fit inside. I put it through the X-ray machine, and it went through undetected. Perhaps this is where the toy came closest to reality.

The biggest departure from reality was that the passenger had a cheery smile on her face.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

Continue Reading

When Clacks Squawk: The New Keystroke Surveillance

Keyboard Tracking

You thought keyboard clacking was just annoying noise. Little did you know your clacking is broadcasting what you’re typing!

Berkeley researchers have developed a way to monitor your keystrokes without installing a device into your computer. Thus, far, keystrokes can be monitored via special software or other devices installed into people’s computers (either directly or via a virus or spyware). This new technique relies on the clacking of your keyboard. According to the AP:

Continue Reading

Councilman: Just What Does it Take for a Law to Be Vague?

Wiretap

To nobody’s surprise, my colleague and electronic surveillance law expert extraordinaire Orin Kerr at the VC beat everybody to the punch in announcing that the 1st Circuit reversed the panel in United States v. Councilman. As Kerr concisely explains the panel decision in an earlier post:

Continue Reading

How Private is Our Email? Councilman’s unfinished business

Privacy of Email - Councilman

In United States v. Councilman, a 1st Circuit panel held that email intercepted contemporaneously with its transmission did not fall under the protections of the Wiretap Act.  The case went en banc and an opinion has yet to issue. Orin Kerr at the VC just wrote a post about recent developments about the issue.   He writes:

Congress has introduced a number of statutory amendments to try to settle the matter. The best was introduced on April 28: Senator Leahy introduced S. 936, the E-Mail Privacy Act of 2005, which is a very short and sweet solution. The Leahy bill adds just a few words to the definition of “intercept” under the Wiretap Act to make its already implicit temporal scope textually explicit. It’s an elegant and correct amendment.

Continue Reading