2008-10-15

Dark suspicions confirmed...

Back in the murky days of my former life in the now-demised Soviet Union, we used to have a saying "You own what you guard." This was in reference to people who would abuse their access to whatever assets they were charged with managing and embezzle and steal, and extort unpunished, protected by their office. Store managers would "buy" directly from their storage and resell on the black market goods that were in short supply, making multi-hundred per cent margin in the process. Local farmers' market management would extort bribes from farmers with perishable produce in order to "pass" the health and safety controls...

Sad to see that the drive to provide more security from the highly overhyped extremist threats results in the same type of abuse of authority--not that I had any illusions about the effects of practically unchecked power on individuals endowed with it.

Case in point: a Transportation Security Administration employee stealing valuables from the very bags he screened. Not a huge surprise, but I am glad it is coming out in public at last.

Just a few months ago, at the FUDCon Boston, we were collecting money to help out a friend whose platinum wedding ring was "lost" in a TSA screening on the way to Boston.