Friday, July 25, 2008

So What's the Deal With: TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

So what's the deal with these TSA-approved luggage locks that supposedly foil pilferers but which have a mechanism that allows TSA employees to open them with a special key so they can rifle through our luggage looking for contraband?

Some not-mutually-exclusive possibilities:

1. A practical compromise between the competing interests of airline security and privacy.

2. Why can't the airlines just do something about the pilferage?

3. Give me a break! Like those special TSA keys never find their way into the wrong hands.

4. Just another part of "security theater," the government-manufactured illusion that terrorist attacks can be reliably prevented.

5. A violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

6. Equivalent to walking ourselves into the gulag and handing the jailer the key.

I say, it's definitely Security Theater, probably not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and not quite equivalent to self-gulagization, although it certainly feels like walking toward the gulag.

Also, no, the airlines can't do anything about the pilferage; yes, the TSA keys probably get left in restrooms or on break room tables from time to time; and nothing that is at root theatrical can ever be truly practical.

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