Author Topic: Has TSA gone too far?  (Read 7468 times)

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Offline Kiska Nirpaw

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Has TSA gone too far?
« on: November 24, 2010, 12:07:41 pm »
It's been a rising debate lately. Sometime around mid-October, the TSA started to step up their securitytheater tactics to include backscatter imaging devices. Basically, these devices take x-RAYted pictures of you under your clothes to see if there is any contraband. There have been reports that the amount of radiation received by frequent flyers could also pose a health risk.

Option 2 is an "extensive" pat down, including feeling between the legs, the groin, under and around breasts, around the buttocks, and even inside the waistband and underwear. These searches are supposed to be done by a same-gendered TSA agent, but many stories surface about males groping woman and vise versa, along with a plethora of complaints and backlash about heavy-handed agents getting way too touchy-feely. Even young kids have been subjected to violent and seemingly inappropriate gropings.

While it's "all in the name of security", many feel their rights are being grossly violated. There seems to be no standard procedure, and some who go through the backscatter machine are still being fondled. Some of the reports talk about former rape victims reduced to tears by aggressive TSA, another report told just how full-monty the imaging devices are when an agent at Miami airport got ridiculed by fellow coworkers for his um, "shortcomings".

A good article on the subject is here: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/10/for-the-first-time-the-tsa-meets-resistance/65390/ Though the terminology in a couple places does get a bit colorful, it's not vulgar.

Some other articles of interest: http://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/rape-survivor-devasted-by-tsa-enhanced-pat-down/
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20023805-10391704.html

A google search for TSA backlash will bring up some interesting stories.

So is this safety or just a blatant abuse of rights? I can tell you, I never had an interest in flying before, and my interest has diminished even further since this nonsense.

Offline Mooshi

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 12:25:38 pm »
Well, duh. A majority of the American public is catching on to this free-for-all "security" grope fest. A cheap peep show that is hiding under a legitimate label called security. Stuff like this isn't that unusual. Like that case while back where a woman was illegaly stripped searched and taped at a police station. People who go on about morals annoy me to death, but even I have to say "get real!" to these clowns in charge of public protection. -_- Just wait. Eventually we'll have another threat in the air and then there will be a massive backlash of the TSA failure to stop such events from happening. That'd be "fun" to explain how a bomb made it onboard a plane because someone was too busy fondling some woman's breasts in the name of security.

Offline Shim

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 12:31:48 pm »
That'd be "fun" to explain how a bomb made it onboard a plane because someone was too busy fondling some woman's breasts in the name of security.

Can't wait for THAT day..

Sort of on topic..What Mooshi just said reminded me of something I saw on failblog. A man was being frisked, and the cop put his hand very near his crotch. The conversation was then:
Cop: "Oh? What's this right here?"
Guy: "..That's my weiner."
Cop: "Oh! Uhh..Sorry to have bothered you. Have a nice day!"

I know i was a simple mistake, maybe people worry a LITTLE BIT too much?

Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 01:07:29 pm »
What would you say if they stopped the new scans and someone did make it on a plane with a bomb that would have been detected by them?

I don't think the scans and the extensive pat downs are the best security solution, but basing security measures around flyer profiles, which they do in Israel, would raise cries of racial profiling and invasion of privacy.  There really isn't a good solution, or one that the public would readily accept.

The worst thing in my mind is not the scans or the pat downs, but TSA's total lack of discussing the changes to the public and trying to sell the need for them.  Did TSA say anything about the changes until people started complaining?

My wife and I will be flying in early January.  I don't know if the airports we are flying out of have the new scanners, but it's likely at least one of them will, since new security stuff is often piloted at BWI.  I have no issue with going through the scanner and I talked to my wife about the new screening before purchasing the tickets and she doesn't either.

Offline Mooshi

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2010, 01:35:00 pm »
If I had a wife and some creep at the airport was making her cry by touching her crotch and other areas, I'll risk the jail time for breaking his jaw... I've read the provided links about that rape victom breaking down in tears from this. That is something that is unacceptable. Stripping away someone's humanity has NOTHING to do with security. It may have started as a sophisticated security measure, but it's already been absused. Those TSA scans reveal a lot if you ever seen them. In a way, it's still profiling. Nothing really changed. It's not making anyone anymore safer. What if someone was flying for the first time and nervous? Let's say this caused these so called "professionals" to pull this individual for further screening. The end result is public humiliation and memories that never go away. While this was before the whole TSA nonsense, I remember being one of those pulled over. Guess what? It was my first time flying. All I could think in my mind was a certain phrase starting with "F" and ending in "you". Had the TSA thing been in effect then...I may have a criminal record for punching someone out. Legalized assault is all this is.

Offline Drake Blackpaw

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2010, 02:42:59 pm »
If I had a wife and some creep at the airport was making her cry by touching her crotch and other areas, I'll risk the jail time for breaking his jaw... I've read the provided links about that rape victom breaking down in tears from this. That is something that is unacceptable. Stripping away someone's humanity has NOTHING to do with security. It may have started as a sophisticated security measure, but it's already been absused. Those TSA scans reveal a lot if you ever seen them. In a way, it's still profiling. Nothing really changed. It's not making anyone anymore safer. What if someone was flying for the first time and nervous? Let's say this caused these so called "professionals" to pull this individual for further screening. The end result is public humiliation and memories that never go away. While this was before the whole TSA nonsense, I remember being one of those pulled over. Guess what? It was my first time flying. All I could think in my mind was a certain phrase starting with "F" and ending in "you". Had the TSA thing been in effect then...I may have a criminal record for punching someone out. Legalized assault is all this is.

Perhaps I see things differently as I'm someone who use to fly a lot for business and have gotten pulled over in other countries a couple times to have my luggage check and stuff like that.  I remember how fun it was to try and explain that I forgot the cord to my laptop and couldn't turn it on to a security person in Germany who understood very little English.

I have seen sample images from the scanner.  Yes, it does show a lot, but it still doesn't equate to a real naked image of a person.  It would be very difficult to take one of those images and say it was this person, especially since they show almost no facial detail.

There have been some horrific pat down stories, but I suspect those are the exceptions.  There are cases where TSA really messed up with a pat down, like the case where the guy with the urine bag due to cancer he had ending up having it spilled all over him during the pat down.  He should have a case to sue the TSA.

I suspect when I fly in January that both I and my wife will walk through the new scanners and go on to the airplane without any discomfort or problems.  If we do end up having to get a pat down and something goes badly, I'll be sure to let you all know.

How do you prevent someone from walking on a plane with explosive down their underpants?  It's already happened once.  And if you say, well only check the people who are obvious threats, how do you determine who is an obvious threat?  Profiling based on race is illegal.  I'm not saying the scanning and pat downs are the best things for security, but what should they do with the current threats that stays with in the bounds of US law?


Offline Kiska Nirpaw

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2010, 02:48:29 pm »
What would you say if they stopped the new scans and someone did make it on a plane with a bomb that would have been detected by them?

I don't think the scans and the extensive pat downs are the best security solution, but basing security measures around flyer profiles, which they do in Israel, would raise cries of racial profiling and invasion of privacy.  There really isn't a good solution, or one that the public would readily accept.

The worst thing in my mind is not the scans or the pat downs, but TSA's total lack of discussing the changes to the public and trying to sell the need for them.  Did TSA say anything about the changes until people started complaining?

My wife and I will be flying in early January.  I don't know if the airports we are flying out of have the new scanners, but it's likely at least one of them will, since new security stuff is often piloted at BWI.  I have no issue with going through the scanner and I talked to my wife about the new screening before purchasing the tickets and she doesn't either.

I think what bothers me the most is:
1) There was no announcement or discussion. It just happened. No warning, no preparation, nothing.
2)There is no standard. A pat down at one airport may be a 20-second cursory deal, while the next one is a full-on criminal frisk that feels like you should be paying them afterwards.
3) There is no other option at the moment. There was a story (and damned if I can find it now) where the guy neither wanted the Nude-O-Scan nor the TSA rub-n-tug, so he decided to cancel his flight. Well, to leave the area, he had to be escorted out by a rather cheesed-off TSA guard, was cuffed, told off, and is probably now on a security-risk list somewhere.

There is an airport over in Israel that has gone 40 years without incident. Do they virtually strip-search everyone? Are they copping feels on everyone? No. They get to know their passengers. They interrogate, they x-ray and pressure test luggage, they may wand you with a metal detector, but they aren't removing your dignity in the process. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Gurion_International_Airport#Security_procedures

Granted, I'm sure some of the stories out there may be a bit colorized, but some of the stuff out there is very believable or has video to back it up.

--The four-year-old screaming for his dad while he's manhandled by TSA
--The mother who watched with anger as TSA touched her 2-year-old in a way that would have her punching any other stranger who did that.
--The bladder cancer patient who had TSA squeeze the bag attached to his stomach containing urine so hard that it leaked all over him ...and he had to stay like that until his flight landed.
--The numerous complaints of being pulled out of the line of sight of belongings and finding money/electronics/jewelery stolen
--The reports of young women being "randomly" selected for an intense groping search.

I thought it was innocent until proven guilty? We'll never do like the Israelis because "That's profiling". No, it's not. I'd rather sit and answer questions than be subject to some heavy-handed TSA's power trip.

And you can bet if I was flying and someone was grabbing my crotch, there would be a lawsuit. There's only one person who's allowed to have their hands there; anything else is sexual harassment.

Offline Arbutus

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2010, 04:11:42 pm »
The thing about these new procedures is that they violate both modesty and personal space in ways that can be extremely traumatic for a lot of people. Personally, I would be willing to go along with it for safety's sake, though, if I believed the people performing the scans and patdowns were responsible, trained professionals who would do their job and nothing more.

But anyone who thinks TSA employees are remotely guaranteed to be responsible, trained, or professional should read this article:

Student pranked by Philadelphia TSA worker

Quote
PHILADELPHIA — A college student returning to school after the winter break fell victim to a prank at Philadelphia's airport by a Transportation Security Administration worker who pretended to plant a plastic bag of white powder in her carryon luggage....

"He let me stutter through an explanation for the longest minute of my life," Solomon wrote. "Tears streamed down my face as I pleaded with him to understand that I'd never seen this baggie before."

A short time later, she said, the worker smiled and said it was his.

The worker "waved the baggie at me and told me he was kidding, that I should've seen the look on my face," she said.

In short, I would be fine with these procedures if I remotely trusted the people carrying them out. But I don't, really.

Personally, I think the effectiveness of the Israeli system speaks for itself, and since I don't have anything to hide, I'd be happy to undergo that sort of intensive interview rather than going through the unprofessional, ineffective security theater we have in this country.

Offline Mooshi

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2010, 04:21:42 pm »
Uh-huh, riiiiiight. This isn't Isreal, this is the USA. A country that is constantly poked fun at when it comes to lawsuits. Remember that women who sued AND WON for spilling coffee on her lap via McDonalds? Yeah the coffee was hot..but durr, coffee is supposed to be hot - no smart person puts scolding hot coffee between their legs and speeds off in a car. But in America, you can sue for many things. A lawsuit on that  "prank"  is more than justified. The reality is these things are another sign of government corruption. Another sign of the government not doing its job and instead strips the rights of others. If someone was strapped with explosives and were pulled over, do you honestly believe they will chuckle and say "Oh, you got me!" No. They would blow themselves up in the screening centre instead. Safe my (insert word of choice here). -.-

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2010, 07:18:50 pm »
This isn't Isreal, this is the USA. ... If someone was strapped with explosives and were pulled over, do you honestly believe they will chuckle and say "Oh, you got me!" No. They would blow themselves up in the screening centre instead. Safe my (insert word of choice here). -.-
In Isreal, the screening area is build as a bomb shelter for exactly this reason. They know what they're doing as far as bombs are concerned.

Quote from: Bruce Schneier
It's magical thinking: If we defend against what the terrorists did last time, we'll somehow defend against what they do one time. Of course this doesn't work. We take away guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We take away box cutters and corkscrews, and the terrorists hide explosives in their shoes. We screen shoes, they use liquids. We limit liquids, they sew PETN into their underwear. We implement full-body scanners, and they're going to do something else. This is a stupid game; we should stop playing it.
http://www.schneier.com/essay-303.html

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Offline Kobuk

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2010, 07:26:35 pm »
Quote
Has TSA gone too far?

YES!

Sacrificing freedom in the name of security is no freedom at all.  :goldpissed:
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Offline Yip

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2010, 07:38:34 pm »
Sacrificing freedom in the name of security is no freedom at all.
I completely agree with this.

Offline Avan

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2010, 02:58:07 pm »
 :D
This article came up in #transcendence on freenode

http://noblasters.com/post/1650102322/my-tsa-encounter
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Offline Serra Belvoule

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2010, 10:16:53 pm »
It reminds me of the video on failblog about a five year old (could be 4, could be six) without his shirt being examined by the security.
Seriously... who trains these people?
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Offline Shim

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2010, 10:19:10 pm »
It reminds me of the video on failblog about a five year old (could be 4, could be six) without his shirt being examined by the security.
Seriously... who trains these people?

I saw that video today. Its crazy.

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2010, 02:18:01 pm »
I don't have time to read all this now, but I'd like to just mention one thing for the scanning machines. Flying Pasties. I don't want to link the website because it may be pushing the PG limit (nothing is actually shown though), but you can google them. They cover your naughty bits and can even have phrases like "Only my boyfriend can see under this" printed on them. :D

EDIT: Ok, after reading this, the main thing I want to reply about is the idea of profiling. It seems we still can't seperate the terms profiling and racial. No one said we would be racially profiling, only profiling based on ACTIONS. And a properly trained person can tell if someone is jittery because they are nervous of flying or because they're trying to hide something. I.E. if they are hiding something, they may be more prone to look around to see if they're being watched. I will say this: While not all muslims are bad, the terrorists we're after happen to be muslim or support said terrorists. So yes, I do suspect that we'll see a disproportionately large number of middle easterners profiled, but I would not equate it with straight up racial profiling.

I have also heard reports of the TSA doing something that sounds like it came right out of the Ministry of Truth from the book 1984. When these pat downs grope fests started as people opted out of the scanners, there have been a few times where the passenger questioned the new tactic and the TSA person said nothing was new and it has always been their policy. Yeah, uh huh. Our memories aren't THAT short.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2010, 04:31:53 pm by Narei Mooncatt »
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Offline Kiska Nirpaw

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2010, 01:34:36 pm »
Well, a bit of an update. After all the press of "National Opt-Out Day", many said it was a bust. I disagree. From the reports on flyertalk.com, many were checking in and saying that the scanners were turned off in favor of funneling everyone through the regular metal detectors. Now, if these are "so necessary", why weren't they functioning on the BUSIEST TRAVELLING DAY OF THE YEAR? Was it to help media spin on the Opt-Out protests? Was it to prevent massive back-ups from protesters? I believe a little of column A, a little of column B. Sure, only a few opted out of the scanners...but how do you opt out of something that isn't there to opt out of?
(Here's the thread for anyone interested: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1152419-media-reports-nood-no-show-merged-threads.html )

What's even MORE interesting, a couple reports I saw said air traffic overall was down 13%. Many on the site mentioned above reported airports being ghost towns. However, rail and car travel were up. Seems people sent the message a different way.

Talking to folks at MFF, many chose ground transportation because of the TSA nonsense. My mate's grandparents just drove up from Missouri to Michigan rather than deal with airport security theater. A ten hour drive in a large pick-up truck vs flying. Yes, gas cost $230 one way, but they'd rather pay that than deal with the TSA.

Also there have been reports of others "helping" the TSA by coming through checkpoints in their skivvies. A woman in a bikini, a man in a Speedo (who had an anti-TSA message Sharpied on his body), and even an adult internet star going through in sheer undies, before an embarrassed TSA agent asked her to put on a jacket.

Another argument against this security nonsense: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1154122-body-scan-wait-purse-stolen-ind.html

Perhaps with enough backlash, those scanners might get mothballed for more than just one day. It sure makes you wonder...if the walk-through metal detectors were good enough for Nov. 24, why aren't they good enough the other 364 days of the year?

Offline Serra Belvoule

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2010, 04:33:11 pm »
I think it's because they think it's costly or something... or that they are just trying to put an image to the public that says "We are here, watching".
Keeping appearance is important, I guess..
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Offline Avan

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2010, 04:45:16 pm »
or that they are just trying to put an image to the public that says "We are here, watching".
Keeping appearance is important, I guess..
"Big brother is watching"
Mmmmmm.... yep.
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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2010, 08:21:43 pm »
I think it's because they think it's costly or something... or that they are just trying to put an image to the public that says "We are here, watching".
Keeping appearance is important, I guess..
Honestly, I think a large portion of airport security is just show. But really, for the overwhelming majority of people, there is no need for real security at all. The mere appearance of heightened security will help deter anyone that's not really serious about causing trouble. It's the rare few that they need to catch.

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2010, 10:23:41 pm »
or that they are just trying to put an image to the public that says "We are here, watching".
Keeping appearance is important, I guess..
"Big brother is watching"
Mmmmmm.... yep.

But just watching isn't doing it for Big Brother anymore, and now he wants to start feeling you up...
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Offline Arbutus

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2010, 10:30:57 pm »

Offline Serra Belvoule

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2010, 03:21:54 pm »
"Big brother is watching"
Mmmmmm.... yep.
And touching. Big brother is now touching.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 03:19:06 pm by Serra Belvoule »
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Offline Avan

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2010, 03:36:58 pm »
 x_x
That's... even more wrong.
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Offline Serra Belvoule

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Re: Has TSA gone too far?
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2010, 03:21:04 pm »
I would like to share this link with you guys:
Proposed TSA Slogans
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