Are Watches Dangerous?

By | September 30, 2005

Bruce Schneier points to a Guardian story about watches being a security threat:

At Labour’s Brighton conference in the UK, security screeners are making people take their watches off and run them through the scanner. Why? No one seems to know.

Bruce rightly points to the absurdity of the idea of a watch being a terrorist weapon — or a timer for one — but to me the bigger problem is about having security personnel check something without them knowing what they’re checking for. What is the point of instructing personnel to get civilians to take off their watch and put it through a security X-ray when they don’t actually know why they’re doing it?

It reminds me of the security officers in my country of abode, Indonesia, waving their metal detectors around the inside of a car without having a clue about what they’re doing. The longstanding joke is they’re testing to see whether the wand detector is on or not. “It’s beeping. It’s working. Great. Thanks for letting me check. You’re free to go now.”

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