back to article Planning to fly? Pour out your shampoo, toss your scissors, rename terrorist Wi-fi!

A US airline delayed a flight on Sunday evening after an unidentified person somewhere in or around Los Angeles International Airport picked a rather unfortunate name for a Wi-Fi hotspot. American Airlines Flight 136 from Los Angeles to London was grounded for nearly a day after a passenger spotted a Wi-Fi network named "Al- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My hotspot is called Ny-Dnrqn

    Do you think I can get away with that??

    1. MyffyW Silver badge
      Coat

      Security Services: Be proportionate in your response, don't do the Terrorists job for them.

      Practical Jokers: Air travel is no laughing matter. Keep calm, carry on. Check your custard pies and amusingly named SSIDs in as hold luggage.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well its official. The terrorists have won.

    They have us quaking in our boots, sensitive to the slightest little thing.

    Jesus Christ, what happened to the collective spines that we had when we were *really* getting the fuck bombed our of us by the IRA?

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      1) Newspapers realised that people love to be scared by something, and exploited the gap in the fear market left by the product recall of the threat of nuclear obliteration to push terrorism. If you look at the figures, rationally speaking terrorism is harmless when compared to such lethal and dangerous activities such as driving a car.

      2) Newspapers started carrying utterly fucking absurd criticism of the police/security services over not being able to put together 2 incredibly tiny clues out of a batch of around 20 billion such clues to come to a conclusion that it obvious in hindsight, but you'd have to be clairvoyant to put together beforehand.

      Stung by the criticism, security services take a totally paranoid approach to terrorism tipoffs like this in terror of ignoring something that turns out to be a clue that is overlooked which ends up costing several hundred lives and leads to the public demanding the severed heads of the people who weren't sufficiently paranoid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In a moment of extreme clarity here in Canada, an RCMP (Mounties) officer answered criticism from the public and media about the fact that prior to a recent "terrorist" incident there was evidence that one of the perpetrators had expressed anger publicly over something that "should have been picked up by the security services".

        The officer's response was something along the lines of (and I paraphrase here) "there was unsufficient evidence of this leading to the atrocity that was committed and, contrary to what some people believe, it is not a crime to be angry or have unsavoury opinions in this country."

        I just wish more people would realise that this is the proper response to this kind of situation.

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Newspapers

        Those too, but it's mainly the bureaucratic/politician complex.

        Newspapers started carrying utterly fucking absurd criticism of the police/security services over not being able to put together 2 incredibly tiny clues out of a batch of around 20 billion such clues

        Those poor security forces. They are being forced to be retarded!! But seriously, did any newspaper carry anything along the lines of the above criticism, instead of grandious hailing of "those who eat donuts and serve to protect our remarkable freedoms"?

        Bruce Fein writes:

        Sermonizing on behalf of the president at Harvard Law School on Sept. 16, John Brennan, current Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and then Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, declared: “[O]ur highest priority is — and always will be — the safety and security of the American people. As President Obama has said, we have no greater responsibility as a government.”

        But the president and DCI profoundly err. They have subordinated liberty to an effete quest for a risk-free existence, and inverted the nation’s philosophy and Constitution.

        The highest and only priority of government was elaborated in the American Declaration of Independence: to secure unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, i.e, wisdom and virtue. The Declaration endorsed John Locke’s version of the social contract elaborated in The Second Treatise on Civil Government. Men consent to surrendering their freedom in a state of nature in exhange for the government’s protecton of their liberty and property from domestic or external predation or aggression.

        The paramount end of the social contract is liberty. It accepts the risk of evil or anti-social conduct as necessary and inevitable. Otherwise, safety and security would crush liberty like czarist pogroms crushed Jews.

        A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality is latent in all humans. If safety and security trump all else — as Messrs. Obama and Brennan assert — then every creature on the planet is a candidate for extermination at the whim of the president and DCI.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          > "Those too, but it's mainly the bureaucratic/politician complex."

          Or for a more radical but less popular point of view, The politicians only say what people want to hear and the newspapers only print what people want to read so they buy their newspapers. That leads one to conclude that the main problem is the people who read those newspapers and vote for the politicans.

    2. Shady

      The power of nightmares is highly illuminating.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is not just the terrorists that have one but the state also. All the airport security is brainwashing people into accepting a police state.

    4. JP19

      "They have us quaking in our boots"

      "sensitive to the slightest little thing."

      Not really.

      When your job is fighting terror and there isn't any you have to make do with fighting anything that faintly whiffs of terror like jokes, someone having a sly e-cig on bus, and now Wi-Fi hotspot names.

    5. Sparx

      true, just seems to prove the real terrorism is actually the fear of that which you are told by the ones with the most interest in its promotion.

      1. wayne 8
        Pirate

        Those who stand to gain from threats of Terrorism

        Overload the system. More of this type of behavior. Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Overload the TSA with inane threats until the system is chasing its tail.

        Aim to misbehave.

    6. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Who is that exactly?

      "Well its official. The terrorists have won."

      100% Agree. Yet it is not Al-Qaeda or ISIS that I'm scared of (I mean really, who names themselves after a routing protocol? - OH NO, HERE COME THE JUDEAN PEOPLE'S EIGRP!)

      If it is not the 'terrorists' of fame that I am scared of, just who is it that is terrorizing me?

      So yes, the terrorists have won (the real ones).

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        "Well its official. The terrorists have won."

        "100% Agree."

        I can't agree 100%. Because the correct word is "it's".

    7. EddieD

      I think that the difference is then it was the UK under threat (with US funding) - now the US feels under threat, so we have to react

    8. LucreLout Silver badge

      what happened to the collective spines that we had when we were *really* getting the fuck bombed our of us by the IRA

      What happened? The IRA did much of their bombing in the 80s & early 90s in London where most people were English. Most people in London now are not English, so English courage no longer makes up the same proportion of the response as it once did; It has been replaced with fear. My foreign born colleagues bring many talents to the table, and many fine qualities, but an overabundance of spherical fortitude isn’t one of them.

      How that relates to America? Well, almost every time they fight without the British, they get their ass kicked. As a result, they only ever really feel safe if we’re holding their hand. If our hand is shaking, theirs will too.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        "Most people in London now are not English"

        For fuck's sake, give it a rest. That's simply not true. You should put down your Daily Mail, turn off Sky news, and actually go outside and experience the real world.

        According to Wikipedia*:

        The 2011 census recorded that 2,998,264 people or 36.7% of London's population are foreign-born

        Given that this country appears to be becoming increasingly hostile to visitors from other countries, thanks to rabid rhetoric from the likes of the idiots in UKIP, I'd suspect this figure has actually gone down since 2011.

        *Yes I know this is not an authoritative source, but it's better than uninformed bleating

        1. LucreLout Silver badge
          Megaphone

          For fuck's sake, give it a rest. That's simply not true.

          You don't want it to be true, because it doesn't fit your world view, but it is nontheless, completely true.

          According to Wikipedia

          Even you must realise you've gone wrong already, right?

          The 2011 census recorded that 2,998,264 people or 36.7% of London's population are foreign-born

          So your numbers, which are 3 years out of date, take account of exactly zero illegal immigrants - the LSE think this is between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people. And you still don't see why that makes them garbage? The ONS shows that 60% of the birth rate for London is to foreign born mothers. Even taking the lefty view that being born here is all you need ever do to "be English", you must see that the tide is against you?

          The ONS also state that more than half the increase in population is due to immigration. So to round down for you to keep it to a level you may understand, if half of the population increase is by birth and half of that is by foreign mothers, only 25% of the new people are English by parentage.

          Jesus was born in a stable, but he wasn't born a horse, nor was he feted as a derby winner. So being born here isn't enough to be raised with English values - for that you need stronger familial ties to the nation. I don't have stats for this, and I know you don't either, but even you can't possibly think that London is populated mostly by second or third generation English born. It isn't.

          Given that this country appears to be becoming increasingly hostile to visitors from other countries, thanks to rabid rhetoric from the likes of the idiots in UKIP.

          I don't vote UKIP, and probably never will. Has it not occurred to you yet that the reason for their storming the polls is the naieve, pseudo-liberal, pro-immigration ranting of people like yourself, dancing up and down as soon as anyone dare voice a view that is not your own? Get over yourself for fucks sake. You're not special. You aren't somehow more enlightened than everyone else because you don't comprehend why unfettered immigration has changed England. You're just another guardian reader with a chip on their shoulder. Perhaps you should read more widely, or open your eyes a little wider?

          I'd suspect this figure has actually gone down since 2011.

          Now you're just lying. At best, only to us; At worst, to yourself as well.

          And before you start screaming racist, because I can sense you're about to, neither I nor any of my friends have married English people. We've all married foreign nationals. Their world view and values are not the same as the English. If you remove the English from England, what do you really have left? And should you really be suprised if the values of what remains differ from those that went before them? You can't have English courage without English people, and London just doesn't have enough to English left to "Keep calm and carry on".

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            Their world view and values are not the same as the English. If you remove the English from England, what do you really have left?

            The English are whatever particular group of people happen to call England home. Until a couple of hundred years ago everyone and their dog invaded us. Even the French managed it for a while. And even though there've been no military invasions for a long time there have been plenty of immigrants. Far from being a problem I believe that it's one of the things that makes England strong. We are all the result of thousands of years of invaders and immigrants. It's worked well so far - why stop it now?

            The only real definition of an Englishman is 'someone who lives in England'.

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              The only real definition of an Englishman is 'someone who lives in England'.

              It really isn't, though I can see why the rise of UKIP would perplex someone who shared your view.

              Take my mate Fred, for example. Fred is a Frenchman. Try and tell him he's an Englishman because he lives here, and one of you will have a bloody nose.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            You don't want it to be true, because it doesn't fit your world view, but it is nontheless, completely true.

            It is true because it is backed with facts.

            Even you must realise you've gone wrong already, right?

            I acknowledge that Wikipedia is not an authoritative source. If you are that concerned about accuracy, please go and find the source of the statistics quoted there, and show me how these differ.

            So your numbers, which are 3 years out of date, take account of exactly zero illegal immigrants - the LSE think this is between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people. And you still don't see why that makes them garbage? The ONS shows that 60% of the birth rate for London is to foreign born mothers. Even taking the lefty view that being born here is all you need ever do to "be English", you must see that the tide is against you?

            The figures I gave are the ones available - those taken at the last census.

            The LSE figures state, "undocumented migrants oscillate between 417,000 and 863,000". These are figures for the whole of the UK, which has a total population of 64 million, so these account for maybe 1% of the population. I see no reason to believe they are any more concentrated in London than anywhere else, particularly since it is more expensive to survive in London than the rest of the UK.

            Even if 'foreign born mothers' have been breeding like the proverbial rabbits in the three years since the census, this is going to only affect the figures by a few percent at best.

            Jesus was born in a stable, but he wasn't born a horse, nor was he feted as a derby winner. So being born here isn't enough to be raised with English values.

            Jesus (if he existed), also was not a man made of straw. Your argument is both a straw-man and a complete nonsequitur; the one thing (even though it is nonsense) does not lead onto the other.

            Has it not occurred to you yet that the reason for their storming the polls is the naieve, pseudo-liberal, pro-immigration ranting of people like yourself, dancing up and down as soon as anyone dare voice a view that is not your own?

            I didn't claim to be pro-immigration. I simply questioned the veracity of those things you presented as facts. Which aren't. The rest of this particular argument of yours is pure ad hominem attack and does nothing to strengthen your argument.

            If you re-read my statement, I also didn't claim that you vote UKIP. I claimed that hostility towards foreign visitors is drummed up by people like those in UKIP.

            I also don't read the Guardian, except for occasionally Charlie Brooker's column which is very entertaining. In general, I find most newspapers to be presenting one political opinion, or another, as fact, so I avoid reading them, and try to find news reporting that is as impartial as possible, often from more than one source to filter out the bias.

            Now you're just lying. At best, only to us; At worst, to yourself as well.

            Really? I'm lying about what my opinion is? Thanks very much for telling me what I really think. You are free to disagree with me, but calling me a liar just makes you a liar yourself.

            And before you start screaming racist, because I can sense you're about to, neither I nor any of my friends have married English people. We've all married foreign nationals. Their world view and values are not the same as the English.

            Wow, you can really tell what I'm about to say? Well then, you must be psychic too! I wasn't actually going to call you a racist, as I don't believe mud-slinging is necessary in a civilised discussion. However, since you brought it up:

            You clearly think that anyone who is not English should be somehow less entitled to live here in the UK, whether they are legally entitled to or not (just as UK citizens are legally entitled to live in the rest of Europe, as many do). This implies that you think foreign nationals are less deserving than British ones, which implies that you think they are in some way lesser. This, I am afraid to say, does make you a racist. The fact that you have married a foreign national does not actually have any relevance in this matter. Nigel Farage's wife is German, but several UKIP members hold very unpleasant opinions towards foreign nationals (as well as women).

            If you remove the English from England, what do you really have left? And should you really be suprised if the values of what remains differ from those that went before them? You can't have English courage without English people, and London just doesn't have enough to English left to "Keep calm and carry on".

            You are aware, are you not, that Britain is entirely composed of immigrants? What you define as 'English' is a various amalgam of Saxon, Norman, Viking, French, etc. cultures. Our language is so difficult for non-native speakers to learn because it is so irregular, being made up of an amalgam of so many different sources. London has always been a trading city, with a large transient population. Nothing has really changed, except the gradual downward spiral of people's racist opinions in this country.

            It started off in the '90s with talk of 'illegal immigrants' - the figures for which have always been inflated by the right wing press to bolster their viewpoint. I'm fairly widely travelled, and I've still never met one. Other countries in Europe have much larger problems with these (such as the flood of refugees coming across the Turkish border into Eastern Greece). There is a real problem of what is now called 'people smuggling', where people are essentially smuggled here and sold into slavery as sex workers, or in 'hand car washes' and nail bars, and the police, at least where I live, do a very good job trying to tackle it with increasingly limited resources. This is where the real problem lies, which the politicians and right-wing press seem to be unconcerned with.

            These days, the hatred seems to have turned towards those legally entitled to be here; I can see no other word for this other than racism. I personally know several EU citizens living and working here in the UK, just as I know several UK citizens living and working abroad in the EU. Nobody seems to be talking about the UK citizens going to Ireland to claim the (more generous) dole there, but it happens. A lot.

            At the end of the day, people are people. In broad terms, there are good people and bad people. If you claim that there is a correlation such that English = good and foreign = bad, then you are wrong.

            So what I would suggest, is that rather than repeating whatever you have read in the right-wing (or left-wing for that matter) press without filtering it through your brain first, stop. Think. Observe. Gather facts. Base your opinions on those, not on the opinions of others. Taking what you are told at face value just makes you an idiot, and someone else's puppet.

          3. IsJustabloke Silver badge
            Stop

            You married foreign nationals....

            Which means that you probably spend a lot of time in the company the foreign nationals that make up their friends and families and so will undoubtedly have a view coloured by that experience.

            This is akin to the small vocal minority that use internet forums who somehow come to believe that their collective view / wisdom is in fact the correct view.

    9. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      The goal of the terrorist is to alter the behavior of the State to such a degree that the citizenry destroy the State for the terrorists. Only what I've known since the 70's courtesy of "War in the Shadows." I posted that sometime back but you hit the nail on the head much better. Definitely worthy of an up vote and hopefully CotW!

  3. Robin

    Fakes on a Plane

    Well, the airline pretty much has to act on such reports, but who would report that in the first place? Surely the real 'Al-Quida' would be a little more covert in the naming of their hotspots?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fakes on a Plane

      Or if I name my hotspot Hhywstn/a9IeiciU7sNvET4LEL8i30Kwb/5SGlfhte+N9+D6 does this instantly gain me accomodation at the Guantanamo Bay Holday Resort?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fakes on a Plane

      "The airlines pretty much have to act on such reports"

      No they don't. Any more than they have to act on warnings that flying unicorns are orbiting the tower.

      The ignorance and stupidity of people paid way too much for us to accept this kind of response didn't start with the "war on terror", of course. It goes back far enough to be a "Murcan" tradition.

      Idiocracy (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/) wasn't a low brow satire. It was a prophecy.

      1. zen1

        Re: Fakes on a Plane

        I gave you a +1, but generally flying unicorns don't kamikaze the tower. Conversely though, all the bad guys have to do is instill the perception of a little fear and they've won, whether anything happens or not. The security guys have to be right 100% of the time or they're accused of either taking a zero tolerance or crying wolf. I see it as a no win situation for the good guys, but we could get a little more spine when it comes to being able to decipher media hype from relatively legitimate threats.

        An SSID certainly isn't a threat.

      2. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: Fakes on a Plane

        > No they don't. Any more than they have to act on warnings that flying unicorns are orbiting the tower.

        It's not ignorance or stupidity. It's a simple case of covering your arse and increasing your own importance.

        Security, police or practically any institution have nothing to lose by inconveniencing the public, no matter what the pretext. If a flight gets delayed by a security scare, then whoever made that decision does so with impunity. If asked to defend their actions, a reply of "national security" goes unquestioned and frequently praised.

        So given that it costs them nothing to take such action, but leads to a shitstorm of apocalyptic proportions if they get it wrong, there is no question which way they will go. If the inconvenience and headlines their action causes can be leveraged to increase fear awareness which will only ever lead to increased job security, then there's no possible downside. Unless, of course, you're a passenger.

      3. TitterYeNot

        Re: Fakes on a Plane

        "Idiocracy (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/) wasn't a low brow satire. It was a prophecy."

        That's a relief! Silly me, I thought it was a documentary...

    3. Anomalous Cowturd
      Joke

      Re: Al-Quida?

      I thought that was the Islamic version of Poundland... ;o)

      I'm here all week. Or maybe not.

      1. Jedit

        "I thought that was the Islamic version of Poundland... "

        Beware of their cheap shoddy knock-offs. I don't care how they brand their products - you can't get one virgin for a quid, let alone 72 of them.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Al-Quida?

        and in the Islamic Hogwarts, I believe al-Quidditch is compulsory on games afternoons.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Fakes on a Plane

      Just goes to show once again that while terrorists aren't smart, they don't have a monopoly on stupidity.

      I'd like to see some cleverer fake-terrorist SSIDs, though. I'll offer "Bin laden with apples", celebrating the climactic scene of Ten Apples up on Top.

  4. ThomH Silver badge

    If I name my hotspot "United States Perfect Freedom Democracy Network", will I get a free upgrade to first class?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. lambda_beta

        they will still think either you are an American terrorist

        Actually, they'll think you're an isis terrorist masqurading as an Al-Quida banker who is masqurading as an American used car salesman who thinks that Obama was born in Iran, and really working for the Hamas while masqurading as a black.

        Just remember it's not Wi-Fi hotspots that kill people it's packet switching that kill people.

        It's all very simple .. we lost.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      @ThomH Perfect Freedom and Democracy would be hunted down and destroyed by the US - and many other countries.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Seriously

    " get taken seriously by the Transportation Security Administration, airlines, and airport officials. ®"

    The TSA are not capable of taking ANYthing lightly, they are chosen for their lack of humour, empathy, sensibility and possibly humanity, OH and the ability to don a pair of rubber gloves faster than you can say the word 'bomb'!

    1. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: Seriously

      ...while investigators looked into possible threats...

      What possible threats? That a device might be set to explode when it lost contact with its "home" network? Like when the plane was moved? Rendering a plane inoperable on the ground isn't like turning an airborne plane into a brick, but keeping the passengers on board seems to still be putting their lives at risk.

      I suspect the biggest threat was that jokes could undermine the seriousness of the TSA and DHS (and their budgets).

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Seriously

      "The TSA are not capable of taking ANYthing lightly, they are chosen for their lack of humour, empathy, sensibility and possibly humanity"

      I think you may have missed a word there: judgement.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Seriously

      they are chosen for their lack of humour, empathy, sensibility and possibly humanity

      Well I suppose it's an improvement from the previous 'first come, first hired, no vetting required' system they were using, or maybe not.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Seriously

        I have a friend that worked for the TSA just after it's inception. He didn't stay... Probably because he didn't want his last shred of humour, empathy, sensibility and possibly humanity ripped from his soul.

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Indeed, the terrorists have won.

    I realize that what was done has been almost a running joke for a few years, but now someone decided to do it. And 5 will get you 10 that the security paid particular attention to the grannies and children in their search so they wouldn't be accused of profiling.

    We have airlines and security taking things to extreme, various spy agencies running amok, governments screaming about if you have nothing to hide..., even street conversation is becoming more guarded lest prying ears hear something that sounds bad. Not just you Brits, but we here in 'Merica too are having this. Some crazy goes a bit nuts in a mall or elsewhere and the first question is: "Is it terrorists?". Same goes for some clown climbing the fence at the White House.

    I shudder to think what would have happened if, during WWII, we all had this same mindset. It's almost like the media and government want another terrorist attack. One for the ratings, the other for more repressive power.

    1. NotArghGeeCee

      @Mark 85 Re: Indeed, the terrorists have won.

      "...I shudder to think what would have happened if, during WWII, we all had this same mindset. It's almost like the media and government want another terrorist attack. One for the ratings, the other for more repressive power..."

      Gosh, I don't know. If there had been such a mindset then there may have been forced internments and relocations of Japanese-Americans. But I am sure that such a mindset would not have existed back in the enlightened 1940's.

      Oh, hang on a minute...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_Japanese_Americans#Expulsions_and_population_transfers_of_World_War_II

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. PleebSmash
    Facepalm

    This could have been avoided by renaming it "Al-Quida-Free Anti-Terror Network"

  8. Khaptain Silver badge

    Statistically speaking

    According to Wikipedia there have been 20 attacks on airports since around 1975... So around 1 attack every second year on a global scale.

    Statistically speaking the odds are "extremely" small of ever getting killed by a terrorist attack.

    According to a small article, here, the odds are 1 in 20 Million. Just for comparison the odds of being hit by lighting are 1 in 5 million... The chances of dying in a car crash are 1 in 19000....

    The guy goes on to explain that even if the 39 documented cases of attacks that were interupted were actually successfull you would still only be running a 1 in a million chance..

    Maybe the TSA et al need to start reviewing statistics, or is it just a case of certain governments keeping the public in a controlled state of fear..... It makes you wonder who the true terrorists really are...

    Apparently counter-terrorism is a multi billion dollar industry....

    1. dan1980

      Re: Statistically speaking

      @Khaptain

      If we started funding agencies and government departments/bodies by their effectiveness and contribution to the public good then we'd be in a sorry state. Oh wait, no, the other kind of thing - much better off and with more money for things like health and education and caring for the elderly and improving vital infrastructure and lowering tax rates and investing in new developments and alleviating the plight of our fellow humans. Yes, that's the one.

      Of course, one could at least put forward the argument that the money being spent on all this and the strictness and inconvenience and invasion of privacy it all entails is the reason the actual risk of being killed in a bomb blast or terrorist attack hasn't gone up despite the current threats.

      But then, if you put forward that kind of argument then you would probably want to have some statistics and, you know, evidence to back it up.

      So yeah . . .

    2. mrjohn

      Re: Statistically speaking

      yeah, but planes are expensive and you aren't

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Statistically speaking

      Who uses fear to motivate people? I think we know who does that the most. Who uses arms in pursuit of political and economic goals? The same people.

      The TSA is part of a huge government bureaucracy. Their goal is therefore compliance not effectiveness. It is a bonus for them that they know security protocols are irrelevant.

  9. Bloodbeastterror

    Skelband...

    ...beat me to it. The terrorists have won.

    And to repeat an anecdote thst I've posted somewhere before...

    Jeremy Clarkson (UK Top Gear) was pulled by a US cop for a minor traffic infringement. He asked the cop "Can't we use common sense here?" and the cop replied "We have laws. We don't need common sense."

    Walking blindly into 1984...

    1. Tapeador

      Re: Skelband...

      Just repeat to yourself what Jeremy Clarkson said - he didn't apologise humbly and say it's all his fault. He didn't own up. He challenged the officer in quite an annoying way. He was being obnoxious and slappable i.e. Jeremy Clarkson. I think the cop could have used common sense up to that point but Jeremy Clarkson being irritating and provocative gave him little choice. Good on the cop I say.

      And even if it is a zero-tolerance approach to traffic infringements, that's not what George Orwell was concerned about, nor should it have been.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Skelband...

      @Bloodbeastterror

      There are three main problems with using "common sense". First, it is, as the saying goes, not all that common. Second, providing for leeway means that inconsistency and unfairness can occur*. And third, in the ridiculously litigious and finger-pointing societies we live in, exercising 'common sense' can sometimes land you in hot water.

      * - There is almost always leeway in the way police officers apply the road laws, in terms of warnings rather than fines and of course there will always, therefore, be inconsistency, which can lead people to view things as unfair and thus breed ill-will towards the police. Personally, I think allowing officers to use some judgment is worth those downsides but there is still a very defensible reason for them 'following the letter of the law'.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: letter of the law

        "Personally, I think allowing officers to use some judgment is worth those downsides but there is still a very defensible reason for them 'following the letter of the law"

        This is a tricky one. On one level it's nice to think of good old PC Dixon on his beat in Dock Green giving a young lad who's stealing a couple of apples a clip round the ear and sending him on his way. Problem is when he sees another young lad doing the same thing, but takes him down to the station and prosecutes for theft, but only because he'd once had an argument with the lad's mum, and they've had a feud ever since. Consistency is of application is fundamental to the law.

        And at a second level, even if the law is applied consistently - e.g. every time someone is caught doing 38 in a 30 zone they are prosecuted - then it's only fair and just if the police make a realistic effort to ensure that every time someone does 38 they WILL be nicked. If it's a 1000-1 chance that you'll only be done on any given instance, then it isn't justice, it's randomness. If a law can't reasonably be enforced then it should be repealed, and alternative approaches identified.

        1. DocJames

          Re: letter of the law

          I don't think your second level is appropriate. Laws exist but are rarely needed and rarely are enforced - eg shoplifting is rare, given the denominator of number of people in shops. Staying with shoplifters, I'd be very surprised if 1 in 1000 or more were caught, let alone prosecuted. This doesn't mean that laws against shoplifting are bad: just that we (as a society) have more important issues than ensuring shoplifting is reduced. 1 in 1000 is reasonable for shoplifters; I'd not accept that for murder - and neither does society.

          Whether you accept that for 38 in a 30 zone depends on your other values. I think speed limits should be better enforced, and probably universally reduced in residential areas to 20mph. [awaits flaming :-/ ] Justice surely depends on making sure that everyone who does 38 in the same context has the same risk of being nicked, rather than the absolutist statement that everyone should be caught - ideal but implausible.

          1. Tweetiepooh

            Re: letter of the law

            38 in a 30 is well over the limit but I think the police need to look at other factors that just the speed and the limit. Doing 30 past a school at end of school day could be in the limit but could be dangerous and careless (maybe variable limits so reduce limits at those times) where as exceeding the limit (slightly) when there is lower risk could be more easily overlooked. Hopefully a live police man (as opposed to some automated system) should be able to take these factors into account. It's not simply they let someone "get away with it" but use judgement about how to respond.

            1. DocJames

              Re: letter of the law

              I think variable limits, although an initially attractive option, increase the complexity of driving. Until we have self-driving cars I think the additional problems outweigh the advantages.

              If I was in chargeWhen I rule the world, I'd impose 20mph limits (actually, I'd switch to kph speed limits but we'll keep this simple) in all residential areas, try to make all other urban roads 40mph, and rather than imposing all manner of speed limits on roads that used-to-be-rural-but-now-are-suburban try and stick to the above rules.

              And I'd tell the AA, motoring journalists and everyone else who supports death/injury to humans in the guise of "improved business" that driving speed between 2 points in a built up area is rarely related to top speed. (This idea is generally too complex for them to follow)

        2. dan1980

          Re: letter of the law

          @Pen-y-gors

          "This is a tricky one."

          Pretty much exactly my point. It is a defensible argument to say that it is more important for the law to be consistent than to be fair but it is equally defensible to say that law must be tempered by the human factor - something which is impossible to put into any system of black-and-white laws.

          It's messy but then so are human affairs so that's what you must expect and accept. If we were perfect enough to make perfect judgements all the time then we'd hardly need the laws and their enforcement in the first place!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terrorists win.

    What a revolting state of affairs. After 13 years of these embarrassing proceedings this story manages to catapult itself straight into my top 10 of the most pathetic WOT related incidents. Apparently, we deserve no better. And yes, anon. No need for a SSSS ticket.

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    skelband beat me to it:

    "Well its official. The terrorists have won. They have us quaking in our boots, sensitive to the slightest little thing."

    The point of terrorism in general is to terrorize; the stated point of (some of the) middle-east-based terror groups is to cause more and more disruption in the west to normal functions such as air travel, not by actually disrupting them themselves, but by vaguely implying they PLAN to disrupt them and have the response (from TSA et. al) disrupt them much more. (Although some *cough* ISIS *cough* seem to simply plan on murder and mayham.)

    A) Having this much of an overreaction to a silly network name demonstrates this clearly. B) Furthermore, why didn't someone just spend a few minutes to physically locate the source of the network (probably some phone or mifi) rather than disrupting the whole airport? Tracking down a wifi network's via signal strength is not hard at all.

    1. tapanit
      Big Brother

      "the stated point of (some of the) middle-east-based terror groups is to cause more and more disruption in the west to normal functions such as air travel, not by actually disrupting them themselves, but by vaguely implying they PLAN to disrupt them and have the response (from TSA et. al) disrupt them much more."

      Indeed. If TSA were judged by the actual impact of their activities, they should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting terrorists.

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Linux

    OK, overreaction time!

    As the article states, if this had been someone trying to disrupt air travel--mission accomplished!!

    I sincerely doubt that the terrorists will precede an attack by broadcasting wifi from jihad.net or "ISIL WLAN".

    (Tux, because he's flightless too!)

  13. Martin Maloney
    Trollface

    More forbidden humor

    I have an Ebola joke for you.

    (pregnant pause)

    Oh, never mind -- you probably won't get it.

  14. lucki bstard

    @Skelband

    Probably because now its the US who are discovering domestic terrorism (Oh the irony) and they are realising its not as nice when it happens to them as when they do it to other people.

    The US does tend to like to be seen to be doing something; and the TSA etc do exist to show that something is being done. That it is ineffective is not the point.

    I just wish the US would have less spin and more honesty, I may not expect a politician to tell the truth but I object when they (like Tony Blair) smile and say its for my own good when they lie. I still think the US would have been better to have invaded Iraq, said it was for the oil and then made it a province that can petition for statehood in 50 years.

  15. skeptical i
    Thumb Down

    tracking the wifi hotspot

    @Henry Wertz 1: I was thinking the same thing. Instead of holding up the entire flight, why didn't someone just track down the hotspot and give the operator a stern talking to? I'm sure some of the more tech-savvy passengers could have done this if the TSA couldn't figure it out.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: tracking the wifi hotspot

      I bet he or she didn't know their phone was capable of being a wifi hotspot - more likely a friend toyed with it when they asked for help.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My eyes are dim, I cannot see....

    OK, so in future we need to name our WiFi hotspot 'No, not terrorists at all, nothing to see here'?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when

    When do airline passengers get stripped naked, cavity searched, trussed up like turkeys and loaded into individual cubicles for all flights?

    * Mind you, some would enjoy this.

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: So when

      "* Mind you, some would enjoy this."

      Any pointers on flight carriers or perhaps likely routes? It's been a while and I'm due for another Real Soon Now.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: So when

      Don't you be giving RyanAir any ideas ok?

      No clothes? Less weight ==== More profit.

      Remember that RyanAir would like you to be able to stand up for all of a flight just to pack more people in. If they could load a plane line the Waterloo & City Line on a bad day then they would.

      Careful what you wish for!

    3. Alien8n Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: So when

      Fairly standard for a few people I know.

      My uncle regularly gets the full cavity search treatment due to having lots of middle eastern stamps in his passport. He's a H&S manager in petrochemicals so is often in places like Iraq, Saudi Arabia etc.

      I once worked with one guy who was looking at the timber industry in Peru. His flight back was via Venezuela with a change in Miami. As soon as he landed he was whisked off the plane, strip searched and marched onto his next plane under armed escort and the passengers in the seats next to him replaced with armed air marshalls all the way back to London. To make matters even more perverse the client who had arranged his trip to Peru? The US State Dept.

  18. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Joke

    Just be thankful...

    That the network wasn't named "Al-Quida Free Terror Network 02", or they would still be there, plane grounded, while they search for the first one.

  19. FelixReg

    Top this

    Those poor passengers would still be on the tarmac if, when they searched for the evil bad guy they found a kid with a cookie chewed in the shape of a gun.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They did exactly what they should have done

    This is a perfect example of the airlines and authorities doing exactly what they should and why every ass clown who induces these terror type issues should burn in Hell. Only bottom feeders do this kind of crap.

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: They did exactly what they should have done

      "This is a perfect example of the airlines and authorities doing exactly what they should"

      The WiFi access point wasn't even on the plane in question. We're dealing with dumb asses who shoot first and ask questions later.

    2. JP19

      Re: They did exactly what they should have done

      You know internet trolls can get 2 years in pokey now.

      1. dan1980

        Re: They did exactly what they should have done

        @JP19

        I laughed out loud at that so up-voted. I re-read it and laughed out loud again so take this as a second up-vote.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: They did exactly what they should have done

      "What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

      By any other name would smell as sweet;"

      I'm not sure why a genuine terrorist would feel the need to set up their own WiFi hotspot at an airport when "talking on a mobile phone, looking anxious" is perfect cover. However, if I was concerned about it, I wouldn't ground flights. First, I'd offer free WiFi throughout the airport, then I'd watch out for all private hotspots (not just the ones with suspicious names) and I'd listen silently, checking the number of connections and their distribution.

    4. fruitoftheloon

      Re: They did exactly what they should have done

      If you have kids, I have a sneaking suspicion that the teenage years may be a little challenging for you...

      If so, I wish you the best of luck.

      Kind regards,

      N.

  21. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    Joke

    No Jokes

    "It goes without saying that airports are not the place for jokes ..."

    And yet, Ryanair soldiers on.

  22. corestore

    On of my networks...

    ...announces itself to the world as 'To Know Is To Die'

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: On of my networks...

      In that case you'd better steer clear of airports...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let's just say, a "youth" at a party creates a wi-fi hotspot called 'da bomb' - which I think indicates that 'something is jolly spiffing' and then forgets all about it. Many weeks later they're at an airport waiting to go on holiday when their young sibling is needling them for Internet access for their tablet so they're current 'free' micro-purchase app can hook up to the 'net and actually run, so they turn their wi-fi hotspot back on...

    So based on this event - 'Da bomb' would then get the airport shut down??

    Yup, the terrorists have won and they don't even have to do anything - we've been sufficiently stoked up by our media and Gov't agencies that living in abject fear is our only hope of survival...

    (I used to work for the MOD in the early 1990s and other than checking under my car each morning (because I would be asked if I had as I entered work and they could somehow tell if you hadn't) I never gave terrorism another moment's thought - even though I was apparently a valid target for the IRA. Living in fear isn't really living).

  24. king of foo

    hmmm...

    If I was on that plane I'd maybe laugh, then definitely get a bit sweaty. If they'd played it really lighthearted and said "hey, who's the joker with the stupid WiFi address" and said "dude" had stood up and taken a bow, then changed it all would have been well. But they didn't.

    I can't really say exactly how I'd have felt in that situation but I can see people who were actually there being grateful for the action taken. Fear is fear; sometimes our fragile psyche requires our "keepers" to act out of hysterical paranoia rather than quiet apathy. I know what I'd have found worse; inaction.

    1. kdh0009

      Re: hmmm...

      Maybe I'm just not vigilant enough but I can't say it would ever occur to me to report an SSID name to a member of the cabin crew whilst sitting on the tarmac.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: hmmm...

        If I was in a plane waiting on the tarmac, I'd assume any WiFi I could connect to would cost a fortunate in data charges and wouldn't even have thought of looking!

      2. king of foo

        Re: hmmm...

        Agreed - I wouldn't have raised an alarm if I saw that ssid - tbh it would more than likely have been mine. The hotspot on my mobile is currently "I kick cats guess who I am"

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: hmmm...

          Have to admit, it's probably the sort of prank I'd play at home and then forget I'd done.

          Like the time I recorded a new shutter sound for my camera, which I had completely forgotten about when I lent it to a girlfriend for one of her solo trips. Cue slightly annoyed call from Greece "Why does your camera say Paedo every time I take a picture?"

  25. Justin Case

    Sympathy for the devil

    ...the authorities, that is.

    Let's face it, if the terrorists were of completely sound mind and intent on doing domething naughty with a wi-fi network they probably would not have named it such. Then again, are terrorists who believe in the 72 virgins etc in possession of the complete picnic? I'd say, probably not.

    So, given the nature of the adversary, it's probably a good thing if matters like this are acted upon and investigated. If only to deter the hiding of things in plain sight.

  26. Gaz Baaaaaard

    I'm afraid

    Be afraid, be very afraid!

  27. Robert Ramsay

    My hotspot is called "Google Surveillance" and no-one's ever bothered me at an airport :-)

  28. scrubber
    Flame

    TSA

    When will people realise the TSA are NOT there to keep you safe:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPqSmpMsm1g&list=UU1yBKRuGpC1tSM73A0ZjYjQ

    And the cops are the modern mob:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-texas-profiling_wittmar10-story.html#page=1

    And the IRS likes the look of that:

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/10/27/irs-doesnt-care-that-you-havent-committe

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

  29. Nifty

    In other news

    Cameron nearly gets knocked over by a jogger

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bravo!

    Lovely bit of trolling. Buy that man a drink!

  31. Arachnoid

    Wolf.........

    Like the boy that cried Wolf if the security services keep over reacting to such things based on the teeny,tiniest,smallest piece of evidence the public in general are going to get rather more and more insensitive to the situation.Then when the water does peek over the dam the citizens are going to think its once more just another excersize of authoritarian muscle flexing.

  32. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    SQL Injection

    The names of all of these hotspots are surely recorded in the airport and kept in a database somewhere. I hope that the application or stored procedure validates the hotspot name properly, otherwise some fellow or gal with a hotspot name like Bob'); drop table HotSpots;-- would cause havoc with their systems. But then I'm sure that they often take backups, as we all are supposed to do.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No sense of humour...

    It does remind me of a case some years back, way before 11/9 (I'm British, not American) where a musician turns up with a violin case.

    "What's in the case, Sir?"

    "A machine gun, what do you think?"

    This promptly followed by a visit from the boys in blue and him being black-listed by the airline.

  34. batfastad

    We do not negotiate with terrorists

    No we just bend over. And over time, we become them.

  35. nigeb

    My hotspot is call Mos Eisley Spaceport. Maybe I should change it; after all it is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  36. Mark Jan
    Flame

    Security Theatre

    It's all just security theatre, but it makes most people feel safe. At a recent "security check" at the airport I was told that the freezer bag I had my toothpaste, gel etc in was too large and I would have to put said items into one of theirs. As I began to take out the items from my plastic freezer bag to put into their airport security approved one, the security man said that wouldn’t be necessary and simply folded my bag and then put both the folded bag and its contents into the airport security approved plastic freezer bag. Suddenly everything was alright again and the security threat had been nullified. I looked at him and without wanting to say how crazy it all was for fear of being arrested as a national security threat, I simply said that he had a job to do. He embarrassingly replied that he agreed it was all nonsense!

  37. cortland

    Al Kyder and Terry Wrist -- 2006

    http://www.domknight.com/in-defence-of-al-kyder/

    excerpt:

    The War On Everything team bought tickets on a Virgin Blue flight as Al Kyder and Terry Wrist, and when these individuals failed to board the plane, Virgin helpfully read their names out, giving the piece an excellent punchline.

  38. stringyfloppy

    Not surprising they delayed the flght, since they once detained someone for flying with a copy of "Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban" because Azkaban looked like an Arabic word.

  39. Simon Harris Silver badge

    A river runs through it

    I see there are quite a few companies and organisations around Oxford with 'Isis' in their name - they'll be having some fun on their trips to the US!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wasted opportunity there

    should have went with SSID:

    'I am sitting in 10A and have a bomb. allahu akbar'

    or somesuch... obviously don't sit in 10A - just close enough to watch the hilarity.

    If possible chose the seat after selecting a suitable passenger with handy TSA dulux colour chart....

  41. ecofeco Silver badge

    Game over

    Well that's it. The terrorists won after all and now they don't even have to use half the resources they used to.

  42. Kepler
    WTF?

    One thing I don't understand . . .

    Why didn't LAX ground all flights until the mystery was investigated and resolved?

    Although the wireless hotspot with the scary-but-misspelled name was discovered by a passenger on Flight 136, there was nothing in the article that indicated — and the article presented no reason to think — that the hotspot was actually on the plane. Based on what is in the article, all we know is that the hotspot was located "somewhere in or around Los Angeles International Airport", and somewhere within range of the plane.

    Since there was no evidence (or at least none presented in the article) of a connection between the hotspot and this particular plane, why weren't all planes grounded pending investigation?

  43. Dylbot

    Hah, I've got a habit of using weird names for my hotspot, and for a while it was "Hooks for Hands". Pretty sure that'd have earned me a nice stay in a back office and a forcible prostate massage. Luckily I've since changed it for the much wittier "Pretty Fly for a Wifi".

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    collective punishment. whose side are guards on?

    That sounds far more like collective punishment by guards than sensible security.

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