Wednesday Dec 09, 2009

TSA, PDF and the Open Gov't Directive

There has been a firestorm today over the TSA posting a document publicly that had procedures and information that some consider harmful to keeping the public safe when traveling. It is debatable how harmful this action will be. Unless you are in the media of course. But they are missing the other half of the story.

This document had parts of it redacted. Blocked out. So the user thought. Little did they know what was hidden could be easily undone by simply selecting, cutting and pasting.

Technology led the user to believe that the sensitive parts of the document were secure. When in reality they were not.

The folks at the TSA will be fried over this. But what about the applications used to create, read and open the document. If you create a document format who is responsible for following the rules when allowing an user to open it. This seems to be a huge hole that will be ignored.

The Open Government Directive is rushing to get government information published externally within a certain timeframe. In light of the TSA firestorm additional guidelines should be published with regards to what can and cannot be shared. Otherwise we will encounter even more events like this.

Tuesday Apr 15, 2008

Jetblue, E190, the TSA and Contraband

Well decided to take a few days off this week. On my way down to Florida we boarded the trusty Jetblue flight to sunny Orlando. I was suprised since the seating layout showed a 2+2 configuration. I fear it would be a Canadair flight from hell. The whole regional jet phenom allows us to board quickly and to get to our destinations quicker than the old turboprops of yesteryear. But they leave much to be desired in terms of comfort of seating.

It gets close especially if you put 2 large guys together. We are not even talking XXL guys just Large or XL guys. The Embraerer 190 is the perfect 2+2 plane. In Jetblues configuration you actually have leg space in economy minus. Normally my knees are in the seatback in front of me. But what suprised me is the extra inch of width in the seats made such a big difference. Even with the armrest hog next to me it was a comfortable flight.

The flight was 3 hours late not because of Jetblue. They were wonderful as always. But the TSA found contraband on the flight and we sat for 1.5 hours. We had to deplane and be checked for contraband. The TSA had 20 agents, I kid you not, show and to search every thing. Pat downs, wanding and bag searches. They really did a good job in processing the whole flight in 40 minutes. We never were told what contraband was found.

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