The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun!

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Box 01After blogging a few weeks ago about the airline screening playset, I went ahead and ordered one.

Each day, I would check my mailbox, eager with excitement about its arrival. Today, it finally arrived. I rushed to open it and began what would be hours of exciting play. Here’s what came in the playset:

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Set 01

I was a bit disappointed in the toy’s lack of realism. There was only one passenger to be screened. Where were the long lines? The passenger’s clothing wasn’t removable for strip searching. The passenger’s shoes couldn’t be removed either. Her luggage fit easily inside the X-ray machine. There were no silly warning signs not to carry guns or bombs onto the plane. And there was no No Fly List or Selectee List included in the playset.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 01

Another oddity was that the toy came with two guns, one for the police officer and one that either belonged to the X-ray screener or the passenger. The luggage actually opened up, and the gun fit inside. I put it through the X-ray machine, and it went through undetected. Perhaps this is where the toy came closest to reality.

The biggest departure from reality was that the passenger had a cheery smile on her face.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

To make the toy more realistic, I required the passenger to show her ID, which she didn’t have. Indeed, the playset didn’t come with an ID card, so it wasn’t the passenger’s fault. But I had the screener cheerfully deny her the right to board the plane. Ha!

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 03

But she still had that silly smile.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

I wasn’t ready to give up, however, so I decided to have her searched from head to toe with the magnetic wand.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 04

But she still had that smile.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02


I then knew what I had to do to get that smile off her face — I had the screeners search her luggage by hand and destroy it in the process.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 05

But she was still smiling.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

So I created a No Fly List. But there was a problem. The passenger had no name. Nevertheless, I had the screener tell her that she was on the list and that she couldn’t fly until she went through the bureaucratic hassle of trying to clear her name from the list. I had the screener tell her that it could take her weeks or months to set things right, and that there was no guarantee that she would ever get off the list unless she knew top officials in the Bush Administration.

But she was still smiling.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

What was wrong with this woman? Was she just so happy because it appeared that TSA’s security was “really working to protect us”? Apparently so. She just wouldn’t stop smiling. So finally, I had the cop shoot her dead.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 06

 Originally posted on Concurring Opinions

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics.  This post was originally posted on his blog at LinkedIn, where Solove is a “LinkedIn Influencer.” His blog has more than 950,000 followers.

Privacy+Security ForumProfessor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz of the Privacy + Security Forum (Oct. 24-26, 2016 in Washington, DC), an annual event that aims to bridge the silos between privacy and security. 

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