First, read this story about a possible new device for "airline passenger safety".
Edit@13:30: emmacrew pointed out, elsewhere, that the letter in question is two years old, and that several things in the article are inferences. I believe that much of what I say below still applies, if in somewhat different fashions, even if the device is never used for standard air travel passengers. Moreover, I am not so optimistic about such a bad idea really being dropped.
Then consider that it took me, someone who has only the basic theory of taser operation and CNS (Central Nervous System) 'stun' methods, less than a minute to figure out the basics of a way to not only completely prevent any risk of being stunned by one, but potentially turn it into a viable taser, using materials that are available to anyone with access to a hardware store and a Radio Shack. Advanced versions might require access to any of dozens of online electronics suppliers, for a few parts which are common but not so ubiquitous that Radio Shack still carries them, now that it is becoming an electronics outlet instead of a parts shop.
Specifics of such a device would require more precise knowledge of just which thing they are doing to 'stun' the wearer, and the physical arrangement of the device, but both of those will be fairly readily available should the device ever come into use.
The protective device would be small, trivially concealable in any number of ways, and quite possibly able to pass inspection in plain sight if engineered to look like a more common/everyday item, such as a flat-braid "friendship bracelet" (for just one obvious candidate).
Oh, and let's not forget the fact that anyone with a pacemaker or a history of any possibility of cardiac arrhythmia or seizures, or anyone who has ever suffered a heart attack, would be suicidally stupid to allow such a device to be placed on them, given the risks of lethal "complications" involved with any CNS-affecting 'stun' device being applied to such a person.
So, to review: in the name of 'safety', the FAA is considering required use of a device which will result in the following:
- Disabling any passenger who tries to stop an arising threat (you think they're going to take the time to analyze which of the five people standing up are a threat, and which are responding to the threat?)
- Will not disable any attacker who has even a basic understanding of electronics and CNS stun techniques, and access to Google (or, hell, just access to Google; I'm sure Phrack will have an article about circumventing these if they come into use).
- May, in fact, arm said attackers with a CNS stun device which can be applied to anyone they can reach.
- Places a significant percentage of passengers in a situation where someone who has neither knowledge of their condition (nor reason to consider it a priority, even if they did) has the power to trigger a potentially-lethal situation at, quite literally, the push of a button.
And all of that is without even getting into the aspects of personal privacy and liberty, or any other sort of 'belief' argument. These are purely practical issues with the system that exist even if you believe it is the best idea ever.