Thursday, October 28, 2010

The TSA goes even farther

The leadership of the TSA is quite aware of the complaints people have against their Advanced Imaging Technology, formerly Whole Body Imaging. Both the Millimeter Wave and the Backscatter X-Ray devices are virtual strip searches, and at best are on very shaky constitutional ground, and the Backscatter X-Ray technology favored by the TSA also produces deadly ionizing radiation. The TSA is also determined to perform these virtual strip searches on minors.

To quell public discontent, the TSA implemented an opt-out program where someone can go through a Walk-Through Metal Detector and be frisked. If an airport does not have an electronic strip search, or a passenger is not selected for it, the metal detector without a frisking is sufficient to clear a person - but if a person actively does not want to be strip searched suddenly the metal detector is not sufficient to clear a person. This has led to accusations that the frisking is retaliatory for those who do not want to be strip searched.

In spite of public opposition, the electronic strip searches are being implemented at more airports. Assurances by the TSA that the searches are completely safe, that the images cannot be stored, and that they aren’t as revealing as feared, have been shown to be false.

People were still opting out of the electronic strip search; some for safety reason, some for constitutional reasons, and some because they did not want their children to be imaged nude. So the TSA has instituted a much more aggressive frisking for anyone who exercises their right to opt out of being strip searched.

There is new information. Although it is only in the rumor stage, apparently it may soon be the case where opt-out is more difficult, to the point where they are as optional as the "optional" showing of ID to the Travel Document Checker, and some rumors that light pat-downs may become mandatory for everyone. There have not yet been any official announcements, but reports from travelers who heard this from TSOs indicates that the TSA is going even farther is violating the rights of all people guilty of wanting to get from one location to another quickly. The frisking of passengers is to get even more intimate than the already recognized "enhanced pat down". There are even reports of the hands of TSOs going inside the clothing of travelers.

It seemed impossible, but the TSA has made flying even worse, even more uncomfortable, for the public. There is, however, a way to deal with this.

Travelers should always opt out of being strip-searched. When the TSO orders the pat-down, the traveler should be sure to demand that a Law Enforcement Official and a video camera both be present at the time so that sexual assault charges can be filed immediately. Above all, the traveler should always be as polite as possible because any rudeness is all the excuse government goons need to say that the traveler was the cause of any disruption and to have the traveler arrested instead of the TSO.

If the TSO forbids an opt-out, which they should not do but enforcement on the front lines is erratic and up to the unpredictable whims of the front line agents, and the traveler has any minor children also traveling, the TSOs at that location should be reported for child pornography.

It is time to take the war back to the TSA. It is well known that the mindset of the TSA is that every traveler is a potential criminal and should be treated like a suspected criminal. It is time for the TSA to have their employees treated like the criminals they are and report them to law enforcement at every opportunity.

UPDATE: Ironically, the next attack appears to be through parcels shipped by air and not on a person but the response by the TSA is to be more aggressive searches of passengers. Although there is no connection between the premise and the conclusion that is standard operating procedure for the TSA.

5 comments:

rctlfy said...

I'm flying to Europe in December, and I'm thinking I will opt out of the body scan. The xray itself concerns me more than any photos, but it will be interesting to see what the pat down procedure entails.

Ayn R. Key said...

If they touch you in any way you feel is inappropriate, then call the police immediately. This is the only time you will see me advocate calling the cops.

mbattery said...

Hey rctlfy, you might want to reconsider.
The TSA goes TOO far should be the title. Not one to spread rumors, however, yesterday I heard a horror story from a very reliablle source. A sudden illness sent 4family members travelling south. One opted out of the body scan. During the "pat down" the female TSA worker placed her hand inside the womens bra and cupped her breast! The passenger was in shock. Nothing was said or done because of the emergency situation awaiting them at the hospital. I don't feel comfortable with either but given the choice, I would have to choose the x-ray. I do understand the reasons, however, I don't want some stranger putting her hand on my breast!! There has to be a better way. I heard from one of the other passengers on this trip that TSA "fixed" some of those problems. I don't know if that is true or to what extent. I won't be one to test the waters.

Ayn R. Key said...

That would have been a perfect opportunity to file sexual assault charges. In spite of what I wrote, those do not need to be done immediately. They can be done once safely arrived at the destination. But they absolutely must be filed.

That family of 4 must call the police near that airport. They absolutely must if anything is ever going to get done.

Yes, mbattery, it's difficult being the one who goes first. But it needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

@rctify ... Hmm I hope you are not going through Heathrow as I had a horrific experience there at the end of August. I beeped in the metal scanner. So then I got a full body wanding and pat down. Then someone stepped up and told me I had to go in the body scanner. So I very politely asked if I had a choice as I did not want to do this. I was asked why and told it was perfectly safe. My response to that was that it was new technology that has not been tested over a long period of time and they can't know that for sure right now. I then said that I also found incredibly invasive to my privacy and I was unhappy to do that. I was then told my choice was body scan or don't fly ... thats the choice. So making the point that I was very upset about it, I submitted to the body scanner. At which point there was a phone call saying they could not see clearly (and I am slightly overweight but not very much) and then I had to go into a back room with two women and be completely invaded by lifting up my clothes and exposing my bra and breasts while they looked. Of course, there was nothing and I was so livid and upset at that this point that I was completely rude, read the riot act, asked if they were done and stalked out, while all the while being made to feel as if I was unreasonable. If the body scans are so good, why is it necessary to do this. There was NOTHING on me at all that should have been a concern.

At least, in the States, I still get a choice and the girl who did my pat down was professional and frequently told me she was using the backs of her hands when going over sensitive spots ... I felt much less violated than the experience in heathrow.