Ah, the joy of the current War on Terror. Governments can pretty much order the public to do what ever they want and take away any rights they dont like and if anyone asks why they can just give vague answers like "an ongoing and sustained threat" or "a terrorist plot has been disrupted". Of course if nothing happens thats not because the government was wrong, it is because they were right and they have saved the world, once again, three cheers and pass the ballot box.
This morning people traveling from the United Kingdom were greeted with the news that some of them were planning to blow up airliners going to America. The explosives were supposedly in liquid form and would be taken onto the planes in carry on luggage. So the British government reacted by getting airport staff to hand search people boarding planes and to ban all but minimal carry on luggage in a clear plastic bag like cash, tickets, passport and medical essentials.
The authorities are now forcing people to check all hand luggage, like brief cases, handbags and electronics, including laptops, iPods and, shudder, KEY FOBS. Those little pieces of plastic that open doors in offices. They have things like RFID chips in them to allow the door to recognize the cards. Obviously the terrorists were planning on using these little pieces of plastic as detonators or something. What else do we know will have similar chips in them? Yup, passports! For security reasons we now have to put chips in passports but ban chips in key fobs. Course you couldn't use a passport for the same purpose, no, sure if you blew up your passport then you wouldn't be able to get through immigration at the other end.
The whole thing seems more than a little stupid, but one thing makes me suspect it's a hoax. One simple little image. Airports full of people in queues. If there really were terrorists with bombs trying and failing to get on planes the authorities would have cleared the airports. Do these key fob detonators only work at altitude, is that why my keys don't explode when I throw them onto my desk and should I be concerned the next time I get in an elevator?
So dial up public concern, increase travelers paranoia and present a strong united front against terror to the world, after all if people didn't think there was a terrorism threat they may look at their politicians and think why on earth do we vote for those muppets.