Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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Interesting development

In a move I assume bruce_schneier can get behind, Dublin-based Ryanair is suing the UK government for losses it says it incurred because of tighter aviation security.

Bruce as long supported the idea of making software companies liable for security problems in their software. The idea being, as I understand it, that without an economic incentive to fix the problems the software companies are content to pass the risk of security flaws on to their customers. This proposed lawsuit appears to be an attempt to do something similar for government-imposed security theater. Since Ryanair is required to comply with the silly restrictions imposed by the UK government in order to stay in business, it is trying to have the government pay for the cost of operating under those restrictions.

For its part, the UK government said, "the 1982 Aviation Security Act gave it the power to implement measures for the safety and protection of the travelling public." Do they have a legal leg to stand on if it can be demonstrated that the measures do not, in fact, improve the safety of air travelers?

And if Ryanair is successful, does this give the American public a tool to use in anti-terror? Could we build a class-action suit against the TSA, the Department of Homeland Security or some other portion of the Federal government claiming that they have not fulfilled their duty to make us safer, and have instead used their position to provide a fertile ground for terror to grow? Probably not. IANAL but I seem to remember something about citizens not being allowed to sue the government.

OK, how about a passenger suit against the airlines? No, they are just complying with regulations and have no choice in the matter.

Well, it's fun to think about anyway.

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