A Heathrow Airport Story about Trousers

From: Schneier on Security

Usually I don’t bother posting random stories about dumb or inconsistent airport security measures. But this one is particularly interesting:

“Sir, your trousers.”


“Sir, please take your trousers off.”

A pause.



The security official clearly was not expecting that response.

He begins to look like he doesn’t know what to do, bless him.

“You have no power to require me to do that. You also haven’t also given any good reason. I am sure any genuine security concerns you have can be addressed in other ways. You do not need to invade my privacy in this manner.”

A pause.

“I think you probably need to get your manager, don’t you?” I am trying to be helpful.

As I said in my Economist essay, “At this point, we don’t trust America’s TSA, Britain’s Department for Transport, or airport security in general.” We don’t trust that, when they tell us to do something and claim it’s essential for security, they’re tellling the truth.