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Your TSA Approved Locks Won't Keep Thieves Out

The TSA requires any lock on luggage to be branded as “travel sentry approved”, so they search the bag without breaking the lock. Those master keys for the TSA to get into the bags have been closely guarded by the TSA. A photograph though appeared in a 2014 Washington Post article of seven of those keys. When lock pickers discovered the photo, they were able to copy the keys .One  person even shared the files on how to on a code sharing site. Now anyone with a 3d printer can print all 7 of those master keys.


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Which seems like a lot of trouble for thieves to go through, when simple snips will cut the lock...if you don't feel like cutting into the suitcase with a box-cutter.

I'very always viewed suitcase locks as a device to keep the zipper from opening accidentally during handling, and once I discovered that European security people didn't have or use the keys (they clipped the locks), I went back to using twist ties or cable ties. Much cheaper, work well.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

I assume locks on suitcase are like locks on our doors, as someone installing one at my house once said, to "keep honest people out".  Or maybe just slowing down the dishonest ones, although not by much, I'm sure, in either case.  A better plan might be to have nothing of value to such people where they can take it.  


The highest probability of theft from our bags seems to be from the baggage handlers.  I wonder how they choose bags to go through?  Maybe by size, the smaller the bag, the less likely they'll have anything but boring essentials?  I hope so.

I've always viewed locks as a deterrent, not as a security vault.  Something to make it difficult for the baggage handler who'd like to snoop through my bag from doing so without inconvenience and making it obvious that it had been done.


I never check in anything valuable.  Those things always come with me in my carry-on bag, which I also keep locked.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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