Thursday, November 11, 2010

Public More Critical of TSA Electronic "strip searches"

More and more people are standing up and questioning their loss of privacy in many airports throughout the country.  I objected to this invasive search procedure from the beginning.  It always starts with a relatively small loss of liberty at the expense of security, and then it progresses until neither liberty nor security exist.

First, people were told that they must allow TSA to have access to all of their luggage (and it's contents) without respect for the passenger's privacy.  Then, people were told that everyone would be safer if they were required to take off their shoes to be x-rayed.  Now, people are once again told that they should sacrifice a "little" more liberty for some security.

So, the Department of Homeland Security proceeded to mandate that all passengers must subject themselves to a "digital strip searches" (i.e. Full Body Scanners-sample image) or be required to be "pat down" by TSA agents to assure the safety of passengers.  However, the DHS has made the full body scanner the primary means to find dangerous weapons; explosives; and illegal contraband, even amidst concerns from the Chief Privacy Officer at the Department of Homeland Security (PDF-Google docs).

"We have received minimal complaints," a TSA spokeswoman told CNET yesterday. . .
[However, a]. . . growing number of airline passengers, labor unions, and advocacy groups, however, say the new procedures--a choice of full-body scans or what the TSA delicately calls "enhanced patdowns"--go too far. (They were implemented without much fanfare in late October, amid lingering questions (PDF) about whether travelers are always offered a choice of manual screening.)
Unions representing U.S. Airways pilots, American Airlines pilots, and some flight attendants are advising their members to skip the full-body scans, even if it means that their genitals are touched. Air travelers are speaking out online, with a woman saying in a YouTube video her breasts were "twisted," and ExpressJet pilot Michael Roberts emerging as an instant hero after he rejected both the body scanning and "enhanced patdowns" options and was unceremoniously ejected from the security line from Memphis International Airport.
One lawsuit has been filed and at least two more are being contemplated. There are snarky suggestions for what TSA actually stands for, attempts at grope-induced erotic fiction, and now even a movie. . . .
When you travel whether for business or pleasure OPT out of a full-body scan and say that you object to being groped by the TSA.  Claim religious objection, claim a privacy objection, or claim 4th Amendment objection, but whatever reason you cite be polite and firm and let the TSA know that you do have a freedom from "unreasonable search and seizures."
The obvious answer is the one which the TSA and its parent agency, DHS, is to profile passengers for random screening.

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