Technology-Superstitious Administration

Filed under:Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on March 13, 2008 @ 8:53 am

It’s not a computer unless you can prove to the TSA that it’s a computer … and the older members who can’t tell a computer from a Lite-Brite won’t necessarily take the word of the younger members who can recognize a modern-generation Mac when they see it.

I’m standing, watching my laptop on the table, listening to security clucking just behind me. “There’s no drive,” one says. “And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be,” she continues.

A younger agent, joins the crew. I must now be occupying ten, perhaps twenty, percent of the security force. At this checkpoint anyway. There are three score more at the other five checkpoints. The new arrival looks at the printouts from x-ray, looks at my laptop sitting small and alone. He tells the others that it is a real laptop, not a “device”. That it has a solid-state drive instead of a hard disc. They don’t know what he means. He tries again, “Instead of a spinning disc, it keeps everything in flash memory.” Still no good. “Like the memory card in a digital camera.” He points to the x-ray, “Here. That’s what it uses instead of a hard drive.”

The senior agent hasn’t been trained for technological change. New products on the market? They haven’t been TSA approved. Probably shouldn’t be permitted. He requires me to open the “device” and run a program. I do, and despite his inclination, the lead agent decides to release me and my troublesome laptop. My flight is long gone now, so I head for the service center to get rebooked.

At least this guy had the sense not to try to “touch the items in the inspection area” while they were debating whether it was a wooden duck or a witch. The day the TSA actually single-handedly makes me miss my flight might be the day I start driving on all my trips.

Via Ace’s headlines.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace