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  • EEVblog #129 – US Airline TSA Security Rubbish & the $9 fee

    Posted on November 27th, 2010 EEVblog 51 comments

    Dave cuts loose on all the US airline security and TSA rubbish, their stupid reactionary process to every new security threat, and the new $9 “Security fee” for all packages going into the US of 453g (16oz). How will affect local business who export to the US

    Thanks to Don McKenzie:
    http://www.dontronics.com/pdf/APO_US_surcharge.pdf

    And don’t try and ship any item with a tiny lithium coin cell in it!:
    http://auspost.com.au/personal/dangerous-goods-personal.html

    The Royal Mail are increasing security for US bound packages, but has as yet not passed on a cost:
    http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=400033&mediaId=3800088

    Reminds me of the Jack Black Tenacious D song:

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    • Paul

      Hi Dave,
      Great rant! We are a very small company exporting most of our Australian made electronic product to the North America; so now we are not only being slammed by the weak $US we are now hit with this extra ‘tax’. It is also worth noting that no packages over 453 grams can be sent on passenger planes so this adds a further delay.

    • http://www.toddfun.com/ Todd Harrison

      Dave,

      I combed the net and tons of forums. Lots of chatter about this in Australia but no other country is charging any extra fees. And the US is not imposing any added fee from what I can find.

      It appears to be a naked grab for $$ by the Australia Post for doing very little different. I’m sure there could be some added cost to any higher security processing but that couldn’t be more than a few cents per package. 9$ per package over 16oz seems damn ridicules even if the AP personally examined the content of each and every parcel!

      I think the Australia people need to standup to the AP a lot more then they need to rant and shake their fist at the US government.

      Don

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Quote

        “This surcharge has been introduced solely to
        cover the costs of the revised security
        arrangements required by the United States, and Australia Post reiterates that the circumstances are beyond our control.”

        So either Australia post are flat out lying and are overcharging, or it really does cost $9 in some way shape or form.

        In any case it’s the US’s stupid reactionary restrictions which caused all this, so they are the root cause of this and hence deserve everything they get.

    • rasto
    • Jimmy

      If its just Australia Post money grabing use another courer service. Why cant I send a lithium battery buy mail is it because one of there staff might steal my posted gps tracker and I can catch him stealing. Surly is is safe or how come I can take my mobile phone, watch and laptop on a plane with me?

      • MaxHeadroom

        …because dynamite is a long cylinder and a battery is a long cylinder and no I’m not joking. :)

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          Explain a CR2032 battery then?
          The world’s gone mad I tell ya!

          • MaxHeadroom

            detonator cap

    • Primoz

      This restriction is going to be lifted for shure in a month or two :) I personaly think this is due Black Friday, Christmas rage and their domestic market recovery :) Think, it doesn’t really pay out to buy anything right now from Aussies if you’re American. You would rather buy from local business and help it recover.

      But that’s just my opinion.

      From Europe with best regards :)

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        this restriction is going to be lifted for shure in a month or two

        I sure hope you are right!

    • http://www.brianhoskins.co.uk Brian Hoskins

      Think McFly, THINK!!!!

      Love it.

    • Neil

      Lithium batteries have always been classified as hazardous materials. So much so that in Dec 2000 the UN committee for the transport of hazardous goods released a manadory test for batteries (both individual cells and packs) containing Lithium.

      As I recall, batteries or battery packs that do not have the UN safety approval have to be shipped in a box marked with a catagory 9 hazardous material sticker, with another stating the nature of the hazard (Lithium battery) It should also be marked as not for transport on PASSENGER aircraft.

      That is for batteries that do not have the UN safety approval. I don’t believe that there are any restrictions on a battery or pack that has the approval.

    • Mike

      From a US view point what’s not to like about this policy? Foreign goods are more expensive giving the local guys a better chance.

      Backdoor protectionism.

      From the UK.

    • PLJack

      Give me my damn country back!
      Or at least give my country’s sheeple to someone else.

      We only have ourselves to blame for the state we are in.
      In my experience the only thing that goes away when you ignore it are your rights.

    • robert

      Oh, how I hate this crap…

      “This video contains content from BLAH BLAH BLAH and is not available in your country.”

      The ‘anti terrorism’ measures more and more lead towards a situation so splendidly portrayed in ‘V for Vendetta’.

      In Germany there’s __again__ a discussion going on about storing comprehensive internet communication logs for __every single user__ for half a year or more. Although the first attempt to do this some years ago had been rightfully thwarted by our highest court.

      I wonder when they’ll put all of us into prison because of the things we might do in the future (like voting for a different party in the next general election).

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Huh? you can’t see my Youtube Video in Germany? Are they really filtering stuff at that level?

        • Slinger

          No, there is no censorship of youtube or anything else AFAIK in Germany. Some youtube videos are unavailable because fucking Sony has the rights to the music in them etc., though this applies to many countries.

          Robert was talking about a different issue – ISPs holding data on your internet usage for 6 months. Some Kraut pollies have been squawking about this recently.

          • Slinger

            Shit ! I just tried to play that Tenacious D video that you put up next to your 129 blog. Guess what I got – nix plus this message ‘This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment. It is not available in your country.’

        • PedroV

          Hey Dave!

          The second video with the song is the one that is locked, copyright bullshit.

          Dave some sugestions:
          I would be really happy to see a full tutorial about batteries. All the battery info like their capacity, “empty” voltage point, etc..
          This for typical batteries off course!

          Would also be very cool further stuff on pcbs and manufacturing process.

          Also information about high speed pcb design, capacitance routing, ground planes, etc..

          I’ve viewed all your videos, THUMBS UP to you! ! !

    • alf

      Yawn. And this is of interest of anyone involved in electronics? Review a meter, talk electronics, please. I get plenty of this shit on mainstream news. Good thing Adafruit’s Ask An Engineer is on tonight so I can get my fix of good hardware hacking info. Your loosing touch Dave with your audience, don’t take down The Amp hour with you. My next Amazon order won’t get you a 6% commission. Now back to my nap

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        If a post is not of interest to you then don’t watch it. The content was clear from the title and description.
        Not everyone likes every aspect of my blog. Some love the rants, some hate the reviews, some will only watch tutorials, some hate the live shows, etc etc it is impossible to please everyone, so I just do what I like.

    • ThunderSqueak

      So, what *is* the appropriate tipping for a happy ending at the gate?

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        It would be funny to ask!

    • Brian

      Good rant. Americans don’t like it much either other than all the ignorant ones who are terrified of everything and just want to be full of food and watch TV.

      Unfortunately, this is the problem with democracy the rational people in any country tend to be the minority.

      For what is is worth, I think the pilots have an exemption at this point because the unions made a stink.

      • sophie

        Americans who want to be “full of food”. hehe.

    • ac

      Did you see this SNL skit
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZM4Bpt3xZU

      Hilarious

    • Dakota

      Here in th US, we’re getting increasingly pissed off at our govt. I half heartedly say the pledge of allegiance now because I feel no respect to the govt, just the citizens. And even then, only some of them. For us EE hobbiests out there, getting parts from china is a pain in the @$$. I have to wait a freakin week for customs to look through my electronics. The biggest problem with that is security doesn’t even know how to identify a bomb. They see wires or circuit boards and then freak out. And how about when I order ingredients for home-made fireworks? Every transaction has my information registered with the US govt. They probably would put me on their stupid “right-wing extremist list” too. Sneezing on the wrong person puts you on that one. And where is our $14 trillion dollar debt composed of tax money gone too?!?

      • http://msjaye.com MsJaye

        “I half heartedly say the pledge of allegiance now because I feel no respect to the govt, just the citizens.”

        You know that the US is the only country in the developed world that makes its children recite a screed of allegiance to their country every day in school? I can only figure this doesn’t scare the hell out of people in the US because they’ve all been brought up with it. It sure scares the hell out of me.

        Perhaps try giving this a read:

        http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/11/americathe-grim-truth.html

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          You know that the US is the only country in the developed world that makes its children recite a screed of allegiance to their country every day in school?

          That is frigg’n scary!

          Great link!

          • Sherry W

            Just a point of order, back in 1943 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that government schools couldn’t force students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. :)

            Otherwise I’m a Yank and I agree with your assessments!

            • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

              Unfortunately they went on in the 1950’s the change it to include “under God”, and “In God we trust” on the bank notes etc.
              That was a massive and unfortunate step backwards.

    • Strube09

      Dave,

      I work for a battery pack manufacture here in the US. Don’t even get me started on the issues with us importing and exporting our lithium based cells from china and two our customers. It is crazy. We have certain DOT standards that our cells have to be certified to and UL list each of our cells (which there are 100s of different ones).

      Plus UPS and Fedex have introduced their own requirements based on the amount of lithium content because they are afraid of the lithium batteries burning up and crashing their planes.

      I am just glad I design the electronics… I let our purchasing and shipping departments worry about all of that.

      Strube

    • BOFH

      Haha, my new favorite moment on Youtube:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyDyAHAfN7Q#t=2m23s
      “-Where they grope you up, give you a feel, oo-oh yeah!”

    • Edward

      Dave, I live here in the US, and you are absolutely spot on with your view of this reactionary bullshit. We have a problem where elected officials are locked in with support by the powerful union leaders and government-entitlement recipients and the common sense folk’s voice has been diminished.

      Hopefully we can throw these bastards out over the upcoming election cycles. That process is in “beta” as of last election.

      You’re exactly right – Israel has solved this problem.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Hopefully we can throw these bastards out over the upcoming election cycles. That process is in

      • Mk2

        Edward, I’m afraid you’re confusing “problem” with an “excuse”. No US politicians care about public safety (if anything, they would be happy to see another terrorist attack broadcasted on TV). Similarly, no politicians in Australia care about child pornography on the internet.

        They all want just one thing: more power. More money to spend, more seats to take, more interference with our lives. There are no real differences between Republicans and Democrats in this regard – they just tend to select (slightly) different excuses for exactly same actions.

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          They all want just one thing: more power. More money to spend, more seats to take, more interference with our lives. There are no real differences between Republicans and Democrats in this regard

    • Pyr0Beast

      400grams is still a lot of energy.
      Noone said it is necessary to limit yourself to one package.
      Just one needs the detonator and all the rest are dummies.

      Or pack this stuff with pyrophoric compounds which will severly burn or kill anyone that opens the package.
      And add magnesium to it, making it impossible to extinguish the fire. Perhaps add some oxidizer and you could detonate it as well.

      Strangely noone thought that gun cotton could be incorporated in ordinary clothing.
      You could also make a suitcase out of it. Who would know ?

      • mike

        @Pyr0Beast

        What you’re saying makes it absolutely clear that they themselves don’t even believe these reactionary measures would actually stop anything. Either that or they really are that incompetent. Either way, it’s bullshit.

        But, our bureaucratic governments need an excuse to tax the hell out of us, and honestly most people believe every word that’s spoon-fed to them. Will electronic strip searches and being molested in airports stop a single terrorist? Nope. Mr. Average Joe seems to believe it though, and that’s all they need.

        @Caveman
        “… so it is only a matter of time until our TSA security goons are issued gyno and rectal speculums.”

        Don’t give them any bright ideas. 10 years ago I would have been surprised. Now, not so much.

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          Interesting thought.
          If you asked people 10 years ago if they would tolerate the new TSA stuff (or the Patriot act et.al) they would likely have said “over my dead body”. The government marketing campaign has indeed been very successful!

    • Caveman

      “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” Herman Goering, sitting in his jail cell April 18, 1946

      What next? In California we currently have a scandal because murderer Charles Manson was caught with a cell phone, apparently one of 8,000+ confiscated just in Kalifornia state prisons so far this year. Most of these are reportedly smuggled in in body cavities, so it is only a matter of time until our TSA security goons are issued gyno and rectal speculums.

    • stoianchoo

      Well if there was a ass bomber – a guy who smuggled a bomb in his ass – will they probe everybodys asses? That’s scary crazy!

    • Tech_guy

      Dave you are right on, all this crap generated by the 911 false flag operations so they can take away are rights. I like in the US in Texas and you are spot on!

    • JoeO

      Dave: I just found your website and it is nice. However, please stick to electronics because your politics is lacking. In this video you blast Bush however it is Obama who has authorized the sexual molestations at the airports. Obama can stop them. But he hasn’t.
      Keep up the good electronics work.

      • phunkz

        If Obama don’t want to be reelected he would be shorten or stop the security protocols. The republicans are waiting to roast him for such a decision.

        @Dave: More thumbs up than i actually have for this rant.

    • Ben

      Dave,

      If you lived in the United States, you’d be a truer patriot than most Americans! (The two-party system: same sh*t, two different piles).

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        We unfortunately have the two party preferred system here too.

    • Hakon

      It relly must be a bad humor that people from Germany here get pissed of both about the U.S. government and the so called GEMA which is part of the German government and not letting youtube share music so that I can’t watch that Tenacious video…
      Is it just any government that pisses me of?

      best regards from GEMAs native country,
      Hakon

    • Mike Welch

      Lived in the States all my life (Dallas area) and got to visit OZ > 10 years ago. I think Aussies are in many ways more American than Americans are these days. I can’t say when exactly it happened [911] but at some point around the year 2000 [911] sensibility was overthrown in favor of absolute reactionary insanity and it’s now to the point that little innovation takes place like it used to because of restrictions on just about everything. If you’re a chemist, the so called “War On Drugs” is a constant headache just to get stuff that you need to do your job. If you’re working with manufacturing, you can be nit picked to death over anything some jackass thinks could pose a threat in some form. I really stand behind the original intent of the founding of this country but somehow, and in a relatively short amount of time somehow [911] we threw out reason and quit standing up against things that I’m afraid will just cripple us further now. It sucks and I want to move to Australia immediately while I can still buy permission.

      But depending on the climate, I’ll be sure to leave my #1 precision Phillip’s screw driver and fingernail clippers, both of which have been either threatened or actually have been confiscated prior to a flight within the USA and Canada because they were a effing threat.

      I’d love to see the guy who threatens to take down a carrier jet using his fingernail clippers…”Stand back! Or I’ll cut your nail past the quick!”.

      Nice site, BTW :P

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yes, I’ve heard the hobby/home chemistry scene is all dead now, and that’s really sad. Kids can’t even bring an electronics project to school in the US without teachers calling the cops thinking it’s bomb :-(

    • Ghydda

      One of my favorite quotes of all time:

      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

      – Benjamin Franklin