SadButMadLad's Blog

Just another blog complaining about anything and everything

Posts Tagged ‘Security


Laser printer toner cartridges are to be banned from being taken on planes in hand luggage. More specifically, printer cartridges over 500g in weight are to be banned. Stupid or what!

Firstly, how many people take a laser printer cartridge with them when they fly. Not just in their luggage, but in their hand luggage. 0.0001% of all passengers I guess picking a number out of the air.

Secondly, a laser cartridge is not a small thing. They’re about 550 x 350 x 260mm or about 21.5″x13.75″x10.25″. So if you take one you don’t have much room for anything else in your hand luggage and when airlines charge you for any luggage in the hold you’re not going to think that a printer cartridge is so important to take with you in hand luggage.

Thirdly, most laser cartridges are over 700g, especially “max print” style and colour ones. Cheaper ones are around the 300g mark. So we have this arbitrary limit as an attempt to try to say “look we are being sensible, we have scientists working out the size of bomb that will cause a plane to crash and we have set the limit accordingly”. Just like the limit for liquids being set a stupid low limit because anything larger “could contain enough explosive to cause a crash”, even though no amount of the “liquid” bomb could have been used in reality.

To try to ensure that we are scared about such amounts they ensure that security experts blow up 400g of PETN in huge explosions. What they don’t emphasis is that this is “under controlled conditions”. Also that the explosions do not use the same equipment as the terrorist used. Has no one told you that the experts who recreated the liquid bomb took over 30 attempts before they managed and they had an ideal setup and didn’t have to carry it or get a suspicious looking package past security. Sorry, scrap that last point. Security don’t look for suspicious packages anymore. They check their list of banned items and remove any item that might be so classified. So nail clippers are banned but pens aren’t – a pen thrust into someone’s neck can be fatal, a nail clipper can only cause a bit of bleeding. Security is no longer about intelligence but about following procedures.

So are we going to have to take laser cartridges in clear plastic bags? Will the security operatives allow empty laser printer cartridges to be taken on board or will they show the same intelligence they have exhibited previously and remove even empty ones. Don’t they know that taking empty laser cartridges to a recycling point is “green” and that green issues trump all other issues. We’re ignoring the CO2 used in flying just as the eco terrorists ignore the CO2 used in their a guilty pleasures. And I mention empty laser cartridges because the weight limit means that they are the only ones that can be taken on planes now.

The government have just shown that they are stupid and unthinking and always react retrospectively to terrorist threats by this stupid ban. Such a ban has nothing to do with actual security. It’s all to do with security theatre. The government is more scared of the public ripping them to shreds on the extreme off-chance that a printer cartridge actually lead to a bomb explosion on a plane than they are of terrorists themselves.

If the government thought properly about security they would rip up the current setup and start again from scratch. They would think about security even before the passenger got to the airport and they would do it in such a manner that caused minimal disruption to the passenger. The current method of imposing bans causes more disruption to passengers and a terrorist will have succeeded in their task – even if they fail. Security should start before a passenger arrives at the airport. If you start security after the check-in you end up with long queues at check-in – an ideal target for a suicide bomber. The security only needs to be light and right. That’s because 99.999% of people who fly are not terrorists. Security should be concentrated on those are stand out for what ever reason along with random checks to ensure that security is never the same so terrorists can’t learn and work around any checks. All that the current bans will do is make the terrorists choose another method, leading to the security services always playing catch up. Security should be done all the time everywhere in an airport with police looking at how passengers move around the concourse. Security should be able to question passengers even away from the metal detectors, but in ways that is not about “have you packed your case yourself” type questions but about “where are you going? are you looking forward to the sunshine?”.

I predict that if a terrorist attempts to use a sex doll to take explosives on a plane, that the government will ban sex dolls from being taken on a plane. As a sop to those who want to take sex dolls on holiday with them, they might state that sex dolls must be carried on in a deflated state in clear plastic bags and that it must have all three of its orifices examined.

Written by sbml

November 2, 2010 at 00:00