Thursday, October 10, 2013

Airports and travel

This post on airport security reminds me of how nervous I get every time I reenter the United States:
I recently asked my young son whether he thought he could travel by himself to visit his grandmother in Victoria, Canada. He said that he could navigate the airports fine and getting into Canada was no problem but he was afraid of the security people coming back into the United States. Bear in mind that my son is American.

It's not just the US. I'm also nervous reentering Malaysia. Our various hops through airports in the Middle East this year and last year also convinced me that while going through security makes me nervous even when I have had some past experience with them, the ones in the Middle East had me quaking.

Put it down perhaps to some irrational fear of people with authority - in this case absolute authority in deciding whether I am allowed to enter their country. Also perhaps check one off for uncertainty - uncertainty on how uniformly laws are going to be enforced or not enforced. Another check for the natural tendency for those in authority to behave capriciously.

Things had been getting better in the US - CIS were actually friendly for a time - and then 9/11 pretty much turned things around. Capriciousness is something that makes our transformation into a surveillance state (and this is happening everywhere) something to be afraid about. One way the US can head is towards an atmosphere of a surveillance state on par with the Middle East. The sign that this is happening is this:

Its not difficult to imagine searches expanding to items other than electronics.

And this post on the price of visas only reminded me of our previous visa travails and the capriciousness of visa approvals.

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