Just wondering what everyone thinks of the recent airport security measures in the US. I am referring to the full body scanners and pat downs.



Tags: Airport, Scanners, Security

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It is exaggeration to claim that pat-downs are invasive and that the photographs are just like nude pictures. I've traveled through many countries where pat-downs are 100% before boarding the plane, and nobody thinks they are being molested.

I am not justifying the scanning as the best method to prevent dangerous materials from being brought into the cabin, I am just trying to point out the wild exaggerations in this thread.
Banjamin, read this:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/10/for-the-first-t...

The point of these new pat downs is precisely to make you embarrassed and uncomfortable enough to submit to the machines next time. The TSA gropers are specifically trained to touch your genitals. Your experience in being patted down in other countries is not relevant here.
Unfortunately not anything that i've found of much interest. But if policies are changing and altering we need statistics backing them. Since 9/11 have we put out any "new" numbers based on terrorist prevention? I think these measure just amplify the fear unfortunately.... but we'll see.
I don't personally take offense to being felt up for security purposes, and it won't feel in the least bit like any kind of sexual incident for me. I'd still prefer the scanner because I'm not worried about the radiation risk [see another link here] or a few so-called invasions of my privacy.

However, my right to impose such invasions of privacy on other Americans is far outweighed by the spirit of our constitution, so I'm among the 20% of Americans who think the invasion of privacy is inappropriate. Even more importantly, there's the slippery slope factor (or "precedence" in jurisprudence) that makes the next draconian measure easier to impose with immunity .

In fact every time one of these fear-based reactions is implemented, I'm thinking "damn, another point for Al Qaeda". Keeping fear alive, right? Yeah, I too would rather take my chances of the plane blowing up. Let's work on longer term countermeasures, even including energy strategies that include less dependence on oil. (The "Ground Zero Mosque" is another, shameful example of how we have enabled those evil doers to subvert principles that America has stood for and has been known for in the world.)

Meanwhile, despite this quarter's scoring of Al Qaeda (et al) 1, America (et al) 0, I give America a point for a sense of humor. Just passing this on because I think this American humor is "historic" in a way. There are links to the video that have stopped working because of NBC copyright enforcement. I don't know how long Hulu plans to keep it available, but at least they have rights to it. 1-1/2 minutes:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/194728/saturday-night-live-message-from-tsa
What I don't understand is why the US isn't using the scanners that I believe are in use in the Netherlands ... it scans you whole body in the same way the US machines do but doesn't take an essentially naked picture it shows an image of a stick figure and anything the scanner picks up flashes as a yellow box over the area the object is found. I'm not worried about radiation or whatever I'm worried about my privacy and I am a particularly private person I would have no objections to the type of scanners I just described. Below is al ink that talks about them.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8435148.stm
Looks interesting and potentially superior. It also looks like it may be a software difference -- a reasonable balance between scanning and privacy.
I think that blogger is as guilty of cherry-picking as the stories about passenger anecdotes he cites. He makes a useful point though, to quote John Stewart "When we amplify everything, we hear nothing". If we scream about the tangential stuff, the core of the matter is lost.
There's an article about how Israel seems to have much more secure, and extremely quick, airports. I'll see if I can find it...the basically they screen people at 2 or 3 points as they enter the airport, mostly by looking them in the eye and asking a couple questions.
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/nov/23/letter-israelis-ge...

on why it's hard for America to do it:
http://www.forward.com/articles/122781/

Anyway, maybe profiling could lead to a better solution, but I'm not an expert in such matters.
Firstly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3yaqq9Jjb4&feature=youtube_gdat...

Secondly: While I really, really want to agree with the fourth amendment argument; I'm not sure about it. It comes down to whether flying is a right. You could always choose to take the train or drive to your destination, which is an opt out of the whole thing.

Thirdly: Gaytor's right about body cavities for one. For two, they let us bring fully charged batteries on the plane. Are they aware of the potential energy stored in a 9 cell lithium ion battery in a laptop and what catastrophic failure looks like? If you intentionally generated an internal short, I'm sure it would be exciting to say the least. Moreover, some things simply aren't dense enough to show on the scanners... like some explosives. These things are the product of lobby money leading to expensive equipment purchases that are unneeded.

Finally: Just because they use a technological means to take a nude photo of you doesn't make it not a nude photo. In my eyes, that makes any scan of a child no different than any nude photo of a child. Would you let a stranger take a nude photo of your kids, or touch their genitals for some other reason than a medical one?
In cases involving private businesses, the constitution was applied where equal protection was not applied. I believe there's already case law saying that the 4th doesn't apply to private travel, but I can't remember at all what it was. I could be remembering wrong, so please take it with a grain of salt. That said, the place where I can see it applying is that i believe the TSA is a government office, which would mean the 4th should apply to them, and since they're doing the screenings, there may be a case. fingers crossed.
badwolf42:
These things are the product of lobby money leading to expensive equipment purchases that are unneeded.

Agreement with that.
Along with the TSA and FAA always looking out for ways to increase their funding and maintain their bureaucracy and jobs.

My main question:
I've never had anyone give a good reason why the aircrews had to go through security checks at all...
I rememebr on 9/12/01, FrontSight offered to take any pilot through theire excellent tectical pistol treaining for free (training levels for any, above and beyond that of most police or military -even SWAT or S.F.)
On 9/15/01, the FAA passed a rule -prohibiting aircrews from carrying a pocketknife.
Even today, they're draging their feet on letting aircrew carry arms. Active police and military can carry, but most don't because it's too much hassle.
Our coverage with air marshals is still barely 5%. With 30,00 departures each day, it won't get better. Accept good real training measures (which anybody -not just police and air crews can meet), and trust the people we're already supposed to trust.

Contrary to allowing infringements on our 4th rights, making us all suspect just to be a little safer, I'd rather relax some of the knee-jerk stuff (liquid bans, tweezers and nail clippers, etc) and go with the experienced and accepted real security measures we see elsewhere.
If air crews were allowed to be armed, and since passengers won't allow control to thugs even if they have a real combat knife, there's not much sense even banning pocket knives and the innocuous things they're confiscating now -vastly speeding things up, and easing stress and bad feelings all around.


good article:
Israel’s Airport Security, Object Of Envy, Is Hard To Emulate Here
System Based on Interaction and Group Profiling Doesn’t Travel Well
By Nathan Guttman January 06, 2010
http://www.forward.com/articles/122781/

It says that we wouldn't adopt these techniques here because of time & money, but what is the current "system" costing us?
They profile groups and ethnicities, yes. Is it rank hypocrisy for us to accept that, to convenience most of us?

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