Adam Ruins Security

Oct 04 2015

In this episode, Adam exposes the security theater of the TSA, tamper-resistant medicine seals, signatures on credit-card receipts and much more. Below is the bibliography for the sources he used.


"Actually, there’s very little evidence the TSA has ever stopped a terrorist or found a real bomb."

Lapidos, Juliet. "Does the TSA Ever Catch Terrorists?" Slate. Slate, 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 

"What has stopped terrorist attacks? All the other safety measures we’ve added since 9/11. Like reinforced cockpit blast doors."

Hawley, Kip. "Why Airport Security Is Broken -- And How To Fix It." Editorial. Wall Street Journal [New York] 15 Apr. 2012, Saturday Essay ed.: n. pag. Web.

"When Homeland Security tested them, the TSA failed to find mock weapons and explosives 95% of the time."

Fishel, Justin, Pierre Thomas, Mike Levine, and Jack Date. "EXCLUSIVE: Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports." Good Morning America. ABC. New York, New York, 1 June 2015. ABC News. Web.

"They yanked Tylenol off the shelves and a few months later introduced the world to the 'tamper resistant seal.' People felt safer, the sales of Tylenol completely rebounded, and every other medicine soon did the same."

Markel, Howard, Dr. "How the Tylenol Murders of 1982 Changed the Way We Consume Medication." PBS. PBS, 29 Sept. 2014. Web.

"Yes! It [the tamper resistant seal] makes you feel safer, but it doesn’t actually make you safer. Think about it -- if a murderer is that crazy, there are still plenty of ways they can get around a piece of plastic."

Schneier, Bruce. "The Security Mirage." The Security Mirage. Penn State University, University Park. 5 June 2015. TED. Web.

"But while we were focused on one fluke incident, we ignored the hard truth that 150 people die every year from what’s inside these little bottles."

Gerth, Jeff, and T. Christian Miller. "Use Only as Directed." ProPublica. ProPublica, 20 Sept. 2013. Web.

"Don’t worry, kid. Statistically your family is way more likely to hurt you than a stranger."

Finkelhor, David. "Five Myths about Missing Children." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 10 May 2010. Web.

"Tylenol has an incredibly narrow safety margin. Tylenol says that this is a safe daily dose of Tylenol."

"TYLENOL® Dosage for Adults." McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., 2015. Web.

"But the FDA says that this is a dangerous dose."

United States. Food & Drug Administration. ProPublica. By Janet Woodcock. ProPublica, 26 Feb. 2008. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.

"Acetaminophen, Tylenol’s active ingredient, is the number one cause of acute liver failure in America. In one year alone, it sent as many as 78,000 people to the hospital."

Manthripragada, AD, EH Zhou, DS Budnitz, MC Lovegrove, and ME Willy. "Result Filters." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 20 Aug. 2011. Web.

"A lot of doctors don’t think it should be. The medical journal, The Lancet said that if the drug were discovered today it would never be freely available without prescription."

"Paracetamol Hepatotoxicity." The Lancet (1975): 1189-1191. Document Cloud. Web.

"No one ever compares the signature on the slip to your real one. It’s more security theater."

"The Bryant Park Project." Why Do We Still Have To Sign Credit Card Receipts? NPR. New York, New York, 7 July 2008. NPR. Web.

"Heck, most of the time they’ll call you before you ever notice it happened. Credit card fraud is so pervasive, banks have started covering the cost just so people don’t cancel their cards."

Palmer, Kimberly. "How Credit Card Companies Spot Fraud Before You Do." U.S. News & World Report Money. US. News & World Report L.P., 10 July 2013. Web.

"Now, this home alarm system you have… these things are a notorious boondoggle that does nothing."

Sullivan, Paul. "Weighing the Value of a Home Security System." Review. The New York Times. 30 Apr. 2010, New York ed., B5 sec.: n. pag. Web.

 For More on This Topic

Use Only as Directed, ProPublica and This American Life’s comprehensive co-reporting on the story of acetaminophen toxicity.

Carry On, a collection of essays on the topic of security by Bruce Schneier.

Kingpin, Kevin Poulsen’s investigation into the world of cybercrime.

Watch Adam explain why the TSA doesn't stop terrorist attacks and why your credit card is never secure.