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U.S. Transportation Security Administration Operating Manual Accidentally Posted Online

"Roadmap for Terrorists" On How to Evade Detection

1 min read
U.S. Transportation Security Administration Operating Manual Accidentally Posted Online

Security lines at US airports just got longer.

According to news reports like this one in the Washington Post, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) classified operating manual was accidentally posted online during a contract solicitation. The manual tells what can go undetected during security searches, as well as what is likely not to be searched. 

As noted by the Post,

"The TSA operating manual, which went online in March, includes information about whom screeners target for special scrutiny and the technical settings used by metal and explosives detection equipment at airports.... the manual also describes procedures used for foreign dignitaries and CIA-escorted passengers, calibration standards and technical limits of detection equipment, and the frequency with which checked bags are to be hand-searched. "

The operating manual was heavily digitally redacted, but the redaction was incorrectly done. Bloggers were able to strip away the redactions, and the manual was open for everyone to see.

A recent blog post here by a lawyer outlines some other recent redaction goofs. Here is how to do it properly, courtesy of the US District Court of Northern California.

The Post says that the TSA claimed, "...the posted manual, dated May 2008, was outdated and was never implemented. Six more recent versions have been issued since that one, a TSA official said."

The TSA, of course, didn't say what percentage of the 93-page operating manual actually has been changed in the latest version; my guess, not too much.

The TSA says it takes this matter seriously.

I'll let you decide about that as you stand waiting in your airport screening line this holiday season..

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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