Choose: Strip Search or Molestation

Do you want to be strip searched by the Back Scatter X-Ray or molested with TSA's "Enhanced Pat Down" at Seatac?

TSA is now installing the strip-o-matic machines at the North Satellite security check point. These machines use back scatter X-Ray technology to conduct a virtual strip search of passengers.You can see samples of these strip searches by doing a simple Google Image Search.

Some might say the images aren't so bad. Afterall the agent seeing them will never see the passenger being screened and will not be allowed to have any recording equipment in the room where they view the strip searches. Which, of course, confirms their explicitness.

TSA also claims the machines can't record images.

From the Seattle PI:
Regarding privacy, Parker said images from the machine go to a separate room, where a screener can radio back to the checkpoint if there's something suspicious. She said the screeners who see the passenger never see the image, while those who see the image never see the passenger.

The machines have no capacity to store imag [sic], and the screeners in the room may not have any cameras, cell phones or other recording devices. The TSA also applies a "privacy algorithm" that makes the images less explicit.

The don't appear to be segregating the machines and screeners by gender. You can't be sure who's looking at you and your kids.

Of course the claim that they don't store the images offers little reassurance. It's only a policy decision not to do it. It's not a hardware limitation.

In fact, the US Marshals service used similar machines in Florida at a courthouse.

From CNN:
The U.S. Marshals Service is confirming that it has stored more than 35,000 "whole body" images of people who had entered a U.S. courthouse in Orlando, Florida.

The images captured by millimeter wave technology are more ghost-like and far less detailed than those produced by "backscatter" machines commonly used by the Transportation Security Administration at airports nationwide.
Do you trust TSA to be more respectful or airline passengers than the US Marshals are of courthouse visitors?

Of course, it's entirely "optional." If you don't want TSA member virtually undressing you from a hidden room, you can opt instead for an Enhanced Pat Down. What is that like?

From The Consumerist:
"To call it a pat-down is a euphemism," said a spokesman for the ACLU in Massachusetts. "They really go for it."

He says that -- unlike the antiquated pat-down, which required TSA screeners to use the back of their hands when searching sensitive regions of your person -- the enhandced pat-down allows them to use their palms and fingers to feel and prod passengers.

One traveler who got the deluxe treatment at Logan sums it up thusly: "If anybody ever groped me like that in real life, I would have punched them in their nose."
From the Boston Herald:
Logan airport security just got more up close and personal as federal screeners launched a more aggressive palms-first, slide-down body search technique that has renewed the debate over privacy vs. safety.
For now, you can avoid this disgusting choice at SEA by not using the North Security Checkpoint. You can access all gates by clearing security at any checkpoint.

From the Seattle PI:
Starting Sunday, Sea-Tac Airport will close the North Security Checkpoint while the TSA reconfigures the layout to include the new scanners. Officials expect the closure to last approximately two weeks but say it should not cause delays because TSA will open extra lanes at the other checkpoints and have extra staff on hand to guide travelers.

So for you now, those who pay attention to the farce that is TSA do not have to make that choice at SEA. The only people subject to the strip search or TSA molesting will be those non-frequent travelers who are not familiar with the airport.

This insanity needs to stop. Treating everyone like they are being arrested is not going to help aviation security.  It's not making us safer.

And it is certainly not protecting our freedoms.

1 comment:

Wimpie said...

"Advanced Imaging Technology" is a euphemism created to make people think they are getting "scanned." No one is getting "scanned" -- they are getting strip searched.

The fundamental privacy issue is whether our government has the right to make strip searches routine and mandatory.

There is no question that these machines violate the 4th Amendment.

There are also health issues. Researchers are already coming out saying that the machines aren't safe and could cause cancer. The flat ones (Rapiscan) use X-RAYS on Men, Women & Children, including pregnant women!

Please check out the brochures and info at: