But it seems the Transportation Security Administration has yet another use in mind: It spent $1.4 million on a TSA iPad app to determine which passengers to randomly search when they’re about to board a flight.
In the interest of saving you time (and money) when you travel on apps that won’t help you get from point A to point B, we’ve sounded out dozens of road warriors — including flight attendants, serial conference goers, travel writers, CEOs, expats and even a comedian — to find out what they really need when stuck in an airport or mired in the daily commute.
Here are their picks – which just may get you some extra airline points or mellow out on the way to work.
On a vacation with his wife and kids recently, Paul Deas opened his suitcase and found a rude surprise: his MacBook had been stolen. Not only that, but the thief had helpfully left him a note inside, telling him exactly who had robbed him: TSA Agent 5414.
A TSA agent caught stealing iPads and numerous other electronic devices was arrested this week following a sting operation at New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Sean Henry, 32, joins the growing list of TSA workers who have been accused of stealing from passengers as they pass through airport checkpoints across the United States.
Stories about valuable items going missing at airport TSA checkpoints are worryingly common, but it’s not often you can prove your possessions have indeed been stolen by the people employed to protect you. Fortunately, Apple has made iOS devices easy to track when they go missing, and ABC News recently took advantage of this feature to catch a thieving TSA officer red-handed.
In a post-9/11 environment, the TSA is suspicious of everything. Shoes. Bottles of water. What you look like underneath your clothes. Everything
So when Game Collage developer Juraj Hlaváč flew back from last week’s WWDC and was discovered with a mysterious black box in his backpack that resisted all attempts to be scanned by the airport’s security equipment, and mysteriously glowed to boot, the TSA quickly became suspicious.
Luckily, before it became cavity search suspicious, Hlaváč revealed the true nature of the black box in his bag: an Apple Design Award for his app, Bobo Explores Light.
TSA is the latest U.S. federal agency to make a significant investment in Apple technologies in what may be a move away from RIM’s BlackBerry and Windows PCs. The agency is set to start a pilot program that will run over the next three years and will involve heavy investment in Macs, iPhones, iPads, and even Apple TVs.
According to federal documents (PDF link), the security agency plans to spend $3 million on Apple products and has an amazingly wide range of uses for them in mind. The plans go well beyond the scope of Apple investments made by other U.S. government agencies like the EPA and FAA, which focus primarily on iPhones and/or iPads.
Next time you’re making a flight through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport you might want to keep your iPad in your carry-on rather than leave it in your luggage. Or hope Transportation Security Administration agent Clayton Dovel isn’t on duty that day – which he probably won’t be because he just got busted for stealing a bunch of iPads from travelers’ luggage.
The new Timbuk2 Command Messenger 2012 ($140) is nothing like the first Timbuk2 bag I ever owned, some 11 years and 20 pounds ago, back when I was heavily commited to the world of cycling. Timbuk2 called it the Bolo, and it was a real messenger bag — though messengers almost always opted for it’s larger sibling, the Tag Junkie — crafted from a single piece of vinyl and Cordura; just a massive main compartment with not much more than a small pocket sewn on the outer face for coins and maybe a patch kit.
Although it’s just about as tough, the Command Messenger is light years away from my Bolo (and is really as much a messenger bag as a Chevy pickup is an ox cart): It’s sophisticated, uses several advanced materials, has loads of pockets and a trick feature that makes air travel easier for laptop-toting jestsetters. My how you’ve grown, Timbuk2.
Our opinion of the government has never been lower, and every day there is ample proof why. Take the FAA, for example. Despite the absolute lack of evidence that your iPhone can knock a plane from the sky, passengers are still told to turn off their phones. The reason why such a Luddite-like rule exists without any proof? Because there’s no proof iPhones won’t hurt planes, either. Don’t get whiplash shaking your head in utter amazement.