Thursday, February 17, 2011

Luddite Security: Blame the Victim

A student makes a motion sensor out of some electronics and a soda pop bottle. What happens? The school gets evacuated on a bomb scare.

A college girl peps up her sweatshirt with a blinky LED circuit. What happens? She's surrounded by 40 armed security guards, ready to kill her.

Somebody accidentally leaves their electronics project on a seat in mass transit. What happens? The train and station are evacuated, and outside roads are blocked during the investigation.

And let's not forget the 2007 Boston LED blinkenlight bomb scare. Fortunately, the two arrested had charges against them dropped, but not before lots of Bad Stuff happened to them.

Star Simpson's breadboard LED circuit was treated as a "hoax device". As if she was trying to create a bomb scare. Security misinterprets the device. Rather than approach her and ask, they immediately assume she's a suicide bomber because of things they are imagining about her. Their imagination turns out to be wrong. This was not a spy thriller movie with the bad guys walking around with movie-style exposed wire and battery bombs strapped to their body. But Star is responsible for their Luddite imaginations. In fact, as stated in the article, they're "shocked" that someone would walk into an airport like this.

Yeah, we're all supposed to imagine the same stupid things you do, rather than our own things--like how much fun it would be to have a blinking LED display on our clothes rather than a screen-printed swear word.

At the evacuated school, rather than find out the story by talking to the kid, they called the police. How many opportunities were missed to get the real story from someone known to the people at the school, with a known home address, at a school that claims to promote technical creativity? Those opportunities were cast aside so that the horrible soda bottle with wires could be examined by a police robot. Woo-hoo, your tax dollars at work!

Then, rather than admit it was all nothing they had to go looking for trouble. The soda bottle wasn't a bomb. It wasn't even dangerous. But maybe there's something we can use to justify our stupidity at the home! Search the home and look for something that might look like a bomb from the movies! Then we're the great heroes, not Luddite fools.

So, after the fiasco caused by the school administration and police at the school, they go running off to invade the kid's family home. Cause? The kid didn't have a bomb, but he had electronics, which, like, you know, are part of a bomb so we got to find the rest of the bomb. That we conjured up out of our imaginations in the first place.

Wonder why all kids can do is play video games? How do we treat youngsters who like to make things for themselves? Build up a breadboard, get 40 cops pulling guns on you. Build up a homespun project, get the police searching your house, looking for an excuse to justify their own over-reaction. Go back to your Playstation, Billy. And don't let me catch you taking out the screws, either.

Don't scare the idiots. They'll make you pay.

No comments:

Post a Comment