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Old July 20 2013, 04:29 AM   #1
picardo
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Lax security aboard Starships?

Something that puzzles me: starting with probably Charlie X they have beamed over a whole bunch of people who have subsequently caused all sorts of trouble.

Why doesn't it appear to be strict procedures as to who's given permission to board?

I remember this Lazarus character could freely wander around the ship without anyone disturbing him.

Then samples and artifacts from the ground of other planets are just taken aboard without exhaustive screening. Is it lax security or mere na´vetÚ?
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Old July 20 2013, 05:29 AM   #2
Pavonis
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Dramatic necessity. In-universe, overconfidence.
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Old July 20 2013, 06:06 AM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Federation starship crews tend to be very trusting as a result of the society they come from. As far as screening things before taking them aboard, I would gather that's done by tricorders and shipboard sensors, but they can only scan for things that are known (which allows plenty of opportunities for unknown things to wreck havoc until our heroes put all the pieces together and put an end to them).
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Old July 20 2013, 10:37 AM   #4
Timo
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Also, guests of the Charlie Evans or Lazarus sort are problematic as they are mistaken for human. We should assume Charlie would have a means of bypassing security measures and perhaps just plain teleporting himself around obstacles. Lazarus in turn appeared to pop in and out of the universe at seeming random, being replaced by his alternate self, and implying serious problems for a tracking system falsely believing in the continuity of humanoid existence.

This is thus perhaps even less of a failing in the security arrangements than the organization's inability to contain NOMAD, a known superthreat...

Even with more or less regular guests, the challenge to security arrangements was considerable, and their failures understandable. Khan didn't manage to give the slip to his shadowers until he clobbered them up, an unexpected superhuman move. Doctor Sevrin was a techno-wizard who could run circles around the starship security systems. Mudd just plotted and schemed but did not wander around unguarded; his seemingly harmless cargo was the real threat. The Starnes children were mistaken for, well, children. The various doubles of Kirk were immune to scrutiny.

The ability of Lenore Karidian to steal phasers and poisons and sneak into key facilities is among the more serious failures of the security machine. Just because she blinded Kirk should not have automatically led to her being able to bypass security, especially as her father was suspected of mass murder.

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Old July 20 2013, 10:40 AM   #5
Belz...
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

It's interesting that you bring this up. I'm having a "discussion" on Youtube about this, from a clip from "Brothers" (TNG) where Data takes over the ship briefly. I think Federation security protocols are a joke. In "The Neutral Zone" (TNG) people come to the bridge without authorisation of any kind, and it's only one of several occasions in that series where something like this happens. Hell, people can board Enterprise and take over without too much problem, so long as they overtake its crew ("Rascals" (TNG)).

In "Brothers", Data impersonates Picard's voice. But so what ? Shoudn't the computer ask for a retinal scan, and a personal code, for something like that ? Nope, as long as you are good at imitating people, you can have the Federation flagship do your will.
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Old July 20 2013, 01:05 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Is there any reason to think that a retinal scan would be a better way to identify a person than voice identification? For all we know, both voices and eye-bottom patterns can be faked, but neither can be faked well enough to fool a security computer.

As for personal codes, those are next to useless, as anybody could torture or mind-read them out of an authorized user. It's far more trouble to fake an eye or a voice, probably.

(Except in DS9 "Tribunal", where a mere recording of an authorized person's voice was able to fool a voice-lock. But that wasn't really a Federation security system, more like a retrofit of a Cardassian system - and thus likely a downgrade, because Cardassian systems are lethal and overenthusiastic, therefore not serving Starfleet interests on DS9.)

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Old July 20 2013, 03:52 PM   #7
SchwEnt
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

The issue becomes worse when procedures and technology are introduced as security measures and then never appear again.

As mentioned, there are retinal scans, prefix codes, forcefield barriers, shipwide video monitoring, command codes, locked doors, manual overrides, transporter inhibitors, posted security guards, biomarker personnel tracking, much more.

All seem valid and reasonable. But many of these would derail a plot, so they are overlooked for script convenience as needed... or added, for that matter. But rarely in a consistent manner.
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Old July 20 2013, 04:10 PM   #8
J.T.B.
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

It did seem an odd security protocol in TOS for bridge sentries, when they were posted there, to stand with their backs to the lift door. Are they there to prevent bridge personnel from abandoning their posts? In "Dagger of the Mind" the first thing the sentry knew about the intruder on the bridge was the intruder clobbering him.
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Old July 20 2013, 05:11 PM   #9
Greg Cox
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Stealing a shuttle often seems as easy as boosting a car from a grocery-store parking lot. How often have we seen the scene where Kirk or Picard or whomever is suddenly alerted that So-and-So has stolen a shuttle and has departed the Enterprise without warning!

"Captain! Mokron has stolen a shuttle and is heading for the Neutral Zone!"

"What? Hail them immediately!"
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Old July 20 2013, 05:23 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Well, not really.

In TOS, a shuttle was stolen twice: once by Commodore Decker, an authorized Starfleet officer, and the second time by Dr. Sevrin's troupe after the Doctor had demonstrated complete control of the starship and rendered all resistance unconscious. (Supposedly, Lokai stole a shuttle from another Starfleet asset, but he, too, had complete control over Starfleet equipment and could ignore all safety and security measures.) It doesn't follow that stealing of shuttles would even be possible for the random crook, let alone easy.

In TNG, surprise shuttle launches tended to be conducted by authorized personnel, too. Jake Kurland in "Coming of Age" is a borderline case, but he's supposedly a "Wesley dropout" of some sort, credited as "smart kid" when he turns Starfleet security protocol against itself. It's not really stealing, it's just failing to file a flight plan.

As for VOY, well, they lost a lot of people in "Caretaker". What do you expect when you hire criminals to guard your garage? (Say, the guard in "False Profits" probably wasn't overpowered as such, just compensated for his temporary lack of attention...)

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Old July 20 2013, 06:34 PM   #11
Belz...
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Timo wrote: View Post
Is there any reason to think that a retinal scan would be a better way to identify a person than voice identification? For all we know, both voices and eye-bottom patterns can be faked, but neither can be faked well enough to fool a security computer.

As for personal codes, those are next to useless, as anybody could torture or mind-read them out of an authorized user. It's far more trouble to fake an eye or a voice, probably.
By that logic, there's no point in security ever because it can never be 100% effective. I'm sure this is what the geniuses at Starfleet thought when they designed the 1701-D.

Passwords work. Yes, you can torture them out of people, but it sure beats just turning on the computer. Faking voices is a lot easier than faking one's capillary pattern at the back of one's eyes. I'm simply suggesting better security than the crap we see on TNG.
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Old July 20 2013, 06:42 PM   #12
Melakon
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

I was always sort of amazed how anyone could apparently operate the transporter with ease, whether they were Starfleet or not, their very first time on a Federation vessel. Lazarus, Loki and Bele come to mind. And especially how many times this virtual airlock was unguarded.
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Old July 20 2013, 07:01 PM   #13
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Faking voices is a lot easier than faking one's capillary pattern at the back of one's eyes
On what do you base this claim? Faking a voice is utterly impossible for a human being today, unless said being somehow can transform into the exact duplicate of the one whose voice is to be faked (at least as regards the path from lung to lips). "Close" doesn't count, as your everyday perception of "close" isn't even on the same planet, not for a suitably sophisticated identifying algorithm.

If you can transform your voice-producing organs at will, transforming your eye is a breeze. And if you can fake a voice by using a recording, you can just as easily fake a retina pattern by using an image.

Lazarus, Loki and Bele come to mind.
Lokai and Bele demonstrated absolute mastery over the primitive technology of the Enterprise many times over. They operated machinery with their minds; if something about the childish controls of the transporter puzzled them, they would just bypass the controls and directly operate the teleportation machinery. Anything else would be inconsistent...

As for Lazarus, he supposedly personally created the inter-universe rift, suggesting he's a mad genius of some sort - and exceptionally clever at that, since nobody else has been able to repeat the feat.

Leaving the transporter room(s) unguarded shouldn't really be a problem if it takes a Lokai or a Lazarus to operate the machinery!

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Old July 20 2013, 07:30 PM   #14
Data's Cat
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Their lax security bugs the heck out of me.
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Old July 20 2013, 08:29 PM   #15
TheRoyalFamily
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Re: Lax security aboard Starships?

Timo wrote: View Post
Faking voices is a lot easier than faking one's capillary pattern at the back of one's eyes
On what do you base this claim? Faking a voice is utterly impossible for a human being today, unless said being somehow can transform into the exact duplicate of the one whose voice is to be faked (at least as regards the path from lung to lips). "Close" doesn't count, as your everyday perception of "close" isn't even on the same planet, not for a suitably sophisticated identifying algorithm.
No. If the computer security system were so good as to be able to stop all humanoid impersonators, it would also stop the real person if they had a cold, a sore throat, a worn-out voice from a long night of karaoke, or were grumpy. The computer obviously isn't doing anything like scanning the vocal chords or whatnot, as the methods around the security wouldn't work in that case.
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