25 August 2006

iPods on a Plane

Enough is enough! I have had it with these mother%*#*ing iPods on this mother$&#*ing plane!

Don't drop your iPod in the airplane bathroom. And don't tell the authorities you play massively multiplayer online role playing games and that you're headed to visit with one of your online game chums.

It all started when I got out of my seat to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom, washed my hands, and returned to my seat. A little while later the two stewardesses on the flight crossed each other in the aisle. They had a quick conversation that I was in earshot of.

"I locked off the front lav. There's something in the toilet that's preventing it from flushing. Run some water and see if you can clear it." My face immediately turned red. The seat cover! I thought. It must have been too big to flush! I should have thrown it out!

I was so embarrassed. I tried to act normal ... I took a sudden interest in the contents of the seat pocket in front of me, acted nonchalant and all. I watched as the stewardess got on her hands and knees in the lavatory and did unfathomable dirty work.

Sometime later, I decided it would be best if I forgot the whole thing happened, so I went to put on my headphones and drown myself in iPod music. But ... no iPod. I panicked, checked my other pockets. Where was it? Not under the seat, not in the pockets, not ... anywhere. I looked up to the stewardesses. One of them had run past me in a decent clip. She was carrying a green handbook. She brought it to the other stewardess. They flipped through the handbook, read a page, then made a call. The other stewardess had retrieved a blue metal box and was removing some equipment from it.

I put two and two together. I knew what had happened.

What a story!

Here is another perspective of another passenger on the plane along with a mainstream newspaper story of the incident.

It seems to me that all this overreaction and waste of resources is a giant victory for the terrorists. 52 people detained for over 5 hours, involvement of 4 government agencies including 15+ officials all on the public dime, etc... — what a waste. This isn't the price of vigilance, it's the price of extreme paranoia.

2 August 2006

If the authorities insist on the right to spy on our every move in public — they should not be immune from reverse surveillance

Criminalizing photography in the wake of a recent arrest of a Philadelphia man for using his cell phone camera to snap a picture of the police arresting an individual.
The people who would rule our lives in the most minute ways are now trying to stop picture-taking in public places. They are the ones who should be stopped.

Citizen media tools are in the hands of just about everyone these days. If the authorities insist on the right to spy on our every move in public witness the spread of video cameras operated by police agencies and private citizens alike they should not be immune from reverse surveillance.