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Stupid Security Competition
Well, the ballots are at last in and the winners announced for the annual Stupid Security Competition. Hosted by Privacy International, this competition sought out the world's most stupid security measures. As you might expect, the MTA and select airports topped the list. You can find the complete list of winners and an explanation for each here.
Most Inexplicably Stupid Award
Runner Up -- Heathrow Airport for quarantining a quantity of green tea
Last September 2002, I was flying through Heathrow Airport. Just ahead of me in the queue at the hand luggage X-Ray checkpoint was an elderly gentleman of Mediterranean appearance whose bag contained some items of interest to the security staff.
The third item was a dual quarter pound cellophane wrapped cardboard package of loose leaf Chinese tea. Unfortunately, it was of a well known variety known as Gunpowder Tea, and had this printed on the packaging.
Obviously this was of such importance, that, despite already forcing the passenger to check his hand bag as hold luggage, it was decided that the tea was allowed, but that the evil word "Gunpowder" was not. Consequently the security staff then rummaged around (thereby delaying me and the rest of the queue) and found a plastic bag into which they decanted the fragrant tea leaves, and confiscated the cardboard packaging!
Obviously, meaning is highly dependent upon context and circumstance.