Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Annoyance at the TSA Outrage

These stories of people taking on TSA and their backscatter/pat down procedures really get me in a tizy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with all of TSAs policies - but the tone of these stories just irks me.

First, you've got the whole backscatter machines are unsafe theme:

But now, as I looked past the 25 people waiting to get into their own country, I saw it: the dreaded Backscatter imaging machine.
I explain that I’m worried that the Backscatter has unproven health risks.

This topic has been covered before and is a myth TSA has been trying to bust. As they explain:

A person receives more radiation naturally each hour than from one screening with a backscatter unit. In fact a traveler is exposed to less radiation from one AIT scan than from 2 minutes of an airline flight.

Next, you've got the whole, you don't have a right to treat me this way theme:

I said, “I am aware that it is policy, but I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional. As a U.S. citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.”

Did you miss the sign that said by entering the security area you're agreeing to the procedures?

But the part that really gets me unhinged is the old: but surely, I shouldn't have to go through this procedure theme:

Now, I’ve read a fair amount about the controversy surrounding the new TSA policies. I certainly don’t enjoy being treated like a terrorist in my own country, but I’m also not a die-hard constitutional rights advocate.

And there you have it - why should I be treated like a terrorist in my own country? Or, as I read it, why should I have any inconvenience - only people who are, or at the very least, look, like a terrorist should have to go through these procedures. Me, I'm special.

We'll ask our troops to fight for us and be outraged when TSA has anything but a perfect record in thwarting attacks - but we'll be damned if we're going to have be inconvenienced.


  1. Anonymous10:45 PM

    I dunno, there are some scientists who are skeptical as to whether the calculations of the radiation dosage on the backscatter x-rays were done correctly. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126833083) I certainly wouldn't want to see children or pregnant women being scanned. It's worth looking into, certainly.

    Frankly, I would argue that we *shouldn't* all have to be utterly inconvenienced, the 99.9% of us who are NOT trying to blow up planes. What we need are better and more widespread "trusted traveler" programs and better profiling (not racial) of potential terrorists. That would go a long way towards preventing Grandma's crochet hook from being confiscated and Uncle Mortimer's sack from being fondled at the security line. Just sayin.

  2. >> Frankly, I would argue that we *shouldn't* all have to be utterly inconvenienced, the 99.9% of us who are NOT trying to blow up planes.

    I guess, from my experience, the back scatter machines just aren't that inconvenient. Assuming the science and privacy are there as promised, the experience takes just a few seconds more than a walk through the metal detector.

    There's always going to be a base level of security for all people, and I guess I don't see why it shouldn't be back scatter (assuming, of course, experts on the subject believe this to be the case).

    Years ago, I recall looking over the shoulder of the X-ray techs and seeing the fuzzy black and white images of our belongings going through the x-ray machine. Now, when I look over I see a sharp colored image. The technology evolved, and as it got better it was adopted.

    The whole point of a metal detector is to assess whether someone has something dangerous on them. They work OK, but are flawed. If back scatter goes catches more cases, why can't it be embraced and used?