Is the TSA selling ill-gotten goods? And do they do the same in Oz?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by The Hammer, Nov 28, 2006.

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  1. The Hammer

    The Hammer Junior Member

    Jul 28, 2006
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    Remember that Swiss Army knife in your flight carry-on that you’d forgotten about until the guards who x-rayed your stuff at the airport security checkpoint “discovered“ it.
    You wern’t planning on hijacking the fight, or even carving your name into the seat-back tray table.
    It had been a special gift, from a special person who had taken considerable time, and spent about $130 to give you something that they thought would come in handy one day.
    The range of items included were amazing, a pair of tiny scissors, some miniature screwdrivers, tweezers, and a couple of small blades.
    The sort of things that come in handy in your hotel room for making running repairs.
    But that wasn’t how the airport security guards viewed it. This was a lethal weapon - something that could make a mortal man capable of overpowering a hundred other aircraft passengers, gouge your way through the locked, reinforced metal cockpit door, and hijack the aircraft you were travelling on, crashing it into a building containing all of the leaders of the free world in the name of Balsamic Jihad.
    And so it was confiscated. Well that’s what they said they were doing.
    In many civilized countries, these confiscated items are placed into a paper bag on which your name and seat number are written, and you are handed a slip of paper which authorizes you to collect the said confiscated item upon arrival at destination.
    How does it get there? Well prior to departure, an airline staff member will visit the security checkpoint, and all confiscated items for that flight are loaded into one “ship’s pouch” (big envelope), and then taken down and placed into the aircraft cargo hold, out of the way of aspiring terrorists.
    But not the TSA in the USA.
    The TSA sees these newly acquired, “confiscated” items as being theirs’ to have, to hold, and to hock.
    Yes, there’s no second thought here, of returning this confiscated contraband to its rightful owners - unless they’re willing to pay for it once again.
    It will often be auctioned off on eBay - much as a shoplifter or burglar might do with their illicit, ill-gotten goods. Or sold off to help compensate victims, and families of victims of war crimes, as was done with loot belonging to war criminals
    Is it ethical of the TSA to sell these goods?
    They (the TSA) are, after all paid for their services.
    Confiscating possible weapons and flight prohibited articles is their responsibility to help protect passengers and crews, and ensure the security of flights.
    But the income from the sales of these passengers’ personal bounty is extra topping on the cake, and in this writer’s opinion crosses the boundaries of decent and responsible behavior, as confiscated items are now viewed as possible sources of extra revenue, and not just as threats.

    Source: PIREP.org
    PIREP.org :: View topic - Is the TSA selling ill-gotten goods?

    Do they do the same in Oz? I BET they DO!
     

  2. SeatBackForward

    SeatBackForward Established Member

    Jun 20, 2006
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    If you believe the signs at security "confiscated items are donated to charity"
    I'd like to know what charity has such a need for sharp metal objects.
     
  3. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    As I understand it the donation to charity takes the form of auctioning/selling off and donating the funds. Yes they do the same here in Oz and in the UK and going through HKG - its comply or dump it.

    Frankly irrespective of whether you agree with the rules (Why oh why can't I take matches on the plane???? I neeeed them!!!!) if you are too stupid to remember the rules before you fly its your loss. Don't ***** and complain that someone took something off you that you werent allowed to carry.

    I agree its ridiculous - I also agree that its ridiculous that the speed limit on the Eastern Distributor is 80km/h - I could comfortably drive it at about 110 in my car - but I am not allowed. Its a rule - comply or dont and live with the consequences.
     
  4. SeatBackForward

    SeatBackForward Established Member

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    The dilema with the "I don't break the rules so I wont get into trouble" argument - it works fine when there's checks and balances to the rules being changed. But otherwise the rules DO get changed and it marginalises more and more people until suddenly they are breaking the rules.

    Whats next ? Don't bring any non Coca-Cola products onboard? yeah great, until you inadvertantly bring on a pepsi one day "hey but i just wanted a cola flavoured drink". Tough its the rules buddy!
     
  5. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    There is definitely an argument for not allowing diet coke and mentos to be allowed on flights ;)

    Whilst I agree that there are no checks and balances on this there equally havent been any restrictions that have been placed that would be seen to be commercially focussed - i.e. You can bring Pepsi but you cant bring coke kind of arrangements.

    Flying is an option not a right. There is no difference between this and BMW giving you an option to integrate your ipod but not your iRiver. The things that they are restricting are not in fact necessary (with the exception of personl hygiene products that basically now mean all baggage through the US/Europe needs to be checked or very carefully packed).

    If people dont like to a degree that makes it a decision point as to whether they fly then the airlines will suffer and the rules will change (as they did in the UK after the toothpaste plot that went away).
     
  6. SeatBackForward

    SeatBackForward Established Member

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    So continuing the Eastern Distributor analogy - an accident in the tunnel leads the authorities to decree the speed limit in the ED to be reduced to 60km/h. Now 99% of drivers probably could go at 110km/h and not cause an accident - but rules is rules.

    On the basis of safety - they introduce new speed cameras and lofty fines (as a direct consequence of the speed reduction). What would you say when it turns out that these cameras are generating a handsome return?

    The analogy is that the TSA is profitting from a change in ruling for reasons stated as other than "to make profit". Its a matter of checks and balances.

    They are selling the confiscated products - and not having paid a cent for them, they are profitting from them. The authority making the rules is also benefitting from the rules. doesn't that seem as a conflict of interest?
     
  7. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    Does anyone have any evidence that individual TSA employees are selling confiscated items for personal profit? Or is this just being seen as a logical conclusion and an assumption?

    Selling/auctioning confiscated items and channelling the proceeds to charity by following a defined and auditable process is a different matter.
     
  8. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    Hmm cheking out this thread may indicate that the TSA doesnt profit from it - buit anything ona forum is subject to scepticism ;)


    I tried googling to see what is done with the stuff but cant find a reliable source.

    Re the revenue raising from speed cameras - maybe the money could be spent on schools and hospitals and those people that flout the laws and get caught will pay the price. We cant pick and choose which laws we think we can apply or not without repurcussion. The TSA is no different to any other arm of government.
     
  9. The Hammer

    The Hammer Junior Member

    Jul 28, 2006
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    Rules are rules - agreed.
    But occasionally, people INADVERTANTLY have something in their bag which has been over-looked, or simply forgotten about.

    The items are sold on eBay, and at various outlets.

    Confiscation, in my opinion, should mean the item is either destroyed, or returned to its RIGHTFUL OWNER, once the threat has passed.

    Selling someone else's property, and collecting the money for it is, imho, STEALING.

    If the $$'s do go to a charity, then that charity should be one nominated by the person who owned the sold item(s).
    There are charities, and there are "charities" - who's not to say the charity the proceeds from the sales of these items go to isn't a "Free Beer for Friday Night TSA Employees"?

    It's wrong, and unethical.
     
  10. mainly tailfirst

    Oct 10, 2006
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    SJC
    I think a better analogy is, say, a ute with an faulty LPG canister in the back is rear-ended and the resultant explosion in the tunnel results in it being closed for four days with loss of life. As a result the authorities then degree that *all* vehicles entering the tunnel will be searched prior to entry and all aerosol cans as result are no longer allowed in private transport.
    Now there is a chance that a can of WD-40 could cause a bad fire, but the likelihood is so low as to be a risk that people would happily take every day (even forced upon them by others).
    While use of the tunnel is an option, it is the most efficient way for most people to go from A to B so, people wear the stupid rule change.

    That's how stupid rules 'work', the inconvienence/annonyance for the many is justified by pointing to an extreme one-off as the consequence of not following this rule. When asked to quantify the tradeoff, the retort is usually 'how much is one life worth?' To which I usually reply about "$20 grand under the Warsaw convention".

    It is. Why do we put with it?

    mt
     
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