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27 June, 2008

Bags switched

As BoingBoing observed, yesterday's Guardian (website) included a report entitled "Airport-style security for UK rail stations blocked".

As that suggests, the ridiculous plans to "install airport-style x-ray machines in every London underground and mainline rail stations across the UK were ruled out today amid fears of a passenger rebellion against journey delays.", though it was mentioned that "a handful of bag screening machines and bomb detection dogs will be placed at tube and mainline stations in London and other cities instead." These will be portable and be moved around the network.

Personally, I object to them at all, as their primary purpose seems to be to do something – anything – visible, irrespective of whether it's meaningful, whilst simultaneously normalising the idea that the state can examine private property 'for the greater good'. Existing police powers of stop & search should be adequate without this sort of invasive security theatre.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Curiously, the same Guardian journalist paraphrased precisely the same story under a different headline today, "Stations to get x-ray security", which suggests a rather different interpretation of the issue. Yesterday the message was 'unworkable security withdrawn, mostly', whereas today's has reversed emphasis: 'new security introduced, with caveats'.

So what changed overnight?

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