Anti Gravity: The Yanked Clippers; July 2003; Scientific American Magazine; by Steve Mirsky; 1 Page(s)
It was my nagging fear of inadvertently carrying nail clippers while trying to pass through airport security, as well as my long-standing interest in stupidity, that prompted me to go hear Simon Davies present the first Stupid Security Awards at the Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy in April here in New York City. Davies, director of Privacy International, a nonprofit organization based in London and Washington, D.C., went through almost 5,000 nominations from people telling tales of unnecessary intrusion and harassment in the service of the illusion of security-I mean, seriously, can't sharp fingernails be as lethal as a set of nail clippers?
I also went because overzealous and counterproductive security is a science issue. In December 2002 the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine issued a joint statement complaining that "outstanding young scientists, engineers, and health researchers have been prevented from or delayed in entering this country."