Category Archive: Travel privacy

Bag searches at borders reveal more than ornamental nipple clamps

Bag searches at the border are becoming a privacy issue. Simon Davies explains why we need to put our foot down on zealous security officials.  The online world is replete with embarrassing tales of air travellers who have suffered the indignity of having the intimate contents of their luggage aired in public by zealous security …

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Why the Thalys rail attack is a gift to idiotic security barons

By Simon Davies This weekend’s thwarted attack aboard a high speed train in northern France has raised the spectre of a further disintegration of civil liberties and privacy across Europe. Belgian and French authorities have already stepped up rail security, with increased baggage and identity checks and an escalation of armed security at rail terminals. …

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Outrage grows as British Airways bans passengers with beards

By Simon Davies British Airways this week announced sweeping new security measures that will permit the airline to turn away passengers who are carrying a mobile phone that isn’t fully charged. In the past any suspect device could be confiscated. Under the new rules the passenger’s seat is confiscated. Media organisations have been struggling to …

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It’s official. Terrorism tweets are now the lèse majesté of the West

By Simon Davies A 14 year-old Netherlands girl was arrested yesterday for posting a Tweet that was claimed to be a terrorist threat against American Airlines. “Hello, my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan”, the Tweet began, in classic Bin Laden style, concluding with: “I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m going …

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Virgin Airways moves from ‘cool’ to creepy as it forces Google Glass onto its customers

By Simon Davies Until now, Virgin Atlantic has dominated the airline “Cool League” (OK, so there’s not much competition out there, but that’s beside the point). Virgin has the coolest TV ads, the most awesome Premium Economy seats, the most inviting lounges and among the most meticulous customer care in the air. But now Virgin …

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A cyber hijack theory for the flight 370 mystery risks a portable devices ban on aircraft

By Simon Davies The latest theory to emerge in the ongoing mystery of missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is that an onboard mobile phone was used to disable the plane’s communications system and take over the controls. If this idea takes hold it may very quickly trigger a global ban on the carrying of portable …

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European hotels edge toward universal reporting of guests to police

By Simon Davies The next time you check into a hotel in any European country – or indeed in many countries outside the EU – chances are you’ll be required to fill out a guest registration form. At the very least this form will demand information such as passport number, nationality, home address, telephone number, …

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An exciting new Periodic Table reveals the elements of surveillance

By Simon Davies Getting to grips with how the world ended up under a blanket of extensive surveillance can be a challenge, even for the experts. Surveillance is now so deeply embedded in our societies and legal systems that understanding its causes is a full-time task. With this in mind Privacy Surgeon is pleased to …

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Why Britain’s neurosis about illegal immigrants is bad for our privacy

By Simon Davies In case you missed this nugget, two weeks ago UK border guards swooped on US comedian Joan Rivers as she attempted to land a fishing boat in the company of a TV crew. It was an understandable mistake. Cunning illegal immigrants are apparently adopting ever-more ingenious tactics to board this island, including …

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British Airways wants to know you: a case study in absurdity

 By Simon Davies If it wasn’t for such stiff competition, this week’s Idiocy Award should have gone to the creepy new British Airways “Know You” programme, which empowers airline staff to conduct an online trawl for passenger information such as photographs and blog entries. The company says it wants to learn more about higher-value flyers …

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