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April 20, 2003

The Lighter Side Of Security Hysteria

'World's Most Stupid' Awards

Privacy International of the UK has announced the results of its competition to find the world's most pointless and stupid security measures. Launched in February, the competition drew almost 5,000 nominations from 35 countries. While airports predominated, the entries covered virtually all areas of private and public activity. The winners included:

  • An innocent bottle of spray cologne that caused airport authorities to end up quarantining a hospital emergency room, a donut shop, and a drug store.
  • A package of loose leaf, "Gunpowder" variety Chinese tea. Meticulous airport security workers allowed the owner to keep the tea, separated out into a plastic bag, but confiscated the cardboard container carrying the offending word.
  • The hospital that posted armed security guards on the front door, barring entrance to patients in need of treatment who were not to be carrying a photo ID, while others continued freely to use the side and back entrances, which were not guarded.
Full list, with runners-up.
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