Monday, November 1, 2010

There are some things up with which I will not put

The Transportation Security Administration, in its infinite wisdom, has apparently mandated that new Whole Body Imagery "security" machine - the one that takes pictures of your body through your clothes.  And if you refuse to allow representatives of the federal government to take nude photos of your body, you get to be manually patted down by a TSA representative.  And they will feel your crotch and your posterior and your breasts, if you have them.  Because they want the "pat down" experience to be so uncomfortable that people opt to use the machine, instead.  It's faster.

There might be a circumstance under which I might decide that the indignities of the pre-flight screening are worth the trip, but there is no way that I am going to allow my children to be photographed (essentially) nude or patted down (more like "felt up") by strangers.  And they WILL be patted down.  It says so right here.  So, as a mother, I get to choose to allow nude photos to be taken of my children, or to subject them to a deliberately-designed-to-be-uncomfortable pat-down.  What the hell kind of a choice is that?

Dear Pedophiles - go get jobs with TSA!  You can assault children all day long and get paid!  It's like a dream come true!!!

It's clear that this is a Fourth Amendment violation, not to mention a violation of every child porn law in every state in the U.S.  But the people in charge don't give a shit about your privacy or your children's privacy.  Apparently they don't give a shit about the law or the Constitution, either. 

What we need is a cop (maybe one with a passion for protecting kids from sexual abuse...  One I've known for 20 years...  You know who you are!) to take her kids through security, put them through the machine, and then immediately arrest the TSA agents for possession of child porn.  That would get people talking!  I'll buy your tickets!

I do have a third choice.  I am voting with my wallet.  I am not flying commercially, nor are my children flying, until the Whole Body Imaging machine goes away.  The metal detectors have worked just fine for years, and I've taken off my shoes and emptied my pockets and walked through them like a good little sheep.  I've even thanked the TSA agents for doing their jobs, in spite of the hassle and the delay.  But now they've gone too far.

What do you think?  Are you going to continue to fly?  Are you going to fly with your children?  If you are, will you opt for the kiddie porn or the molestation? 

(Interestingly, B.J. disagrees with me, so I'm looking forward to his remarks in the comments...  Be sure to come back and check on how that develops.  It's always fun when he and I argue, we were both on the high school debate team...)


Anonymous said...

Are you okay with doctors looking at your children naked? Daycare workers changing your child's diapers?

I don't know ALL the details but will they be STORING the images anywhere? Because I would assume they will take the picture, if nothing of suspicion comes up it will be deleted? Correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm totally FOR this if it will keep me safe while I'm thousands of miles in the air. Or working in a tall building...

Amy said...

Thanks for the comment dorindmikey. The obvious difference is that I have the option to choose my doctors and day care providers, and if they do anything remotely pervy I can choose to never return to them. I have never been given a choice of TSA agent, have you?

TSA says that they're not storing images, but I don't know if I believe that it's impossible.

The thing is, I don't think that any of this "security theater," as it has been called, actually keeps us safe. I think it's all show. Plenty of people have managed to get onto airplanes with plenty of contraband. xkcd even did a comic about how you could blow up a plane with a laptop computer - . Or 3 ounces of peroxide and 3 ounces of acetone, and you've got yourself a nice little easy-to-bring-on-a-plane bomb -

But I appreciate your opinion, and I know a lot of people share it. Those people are welcome to continue to fly... without me.

Heather said...

Britain uses or used these imaging machines, with the stipulation that they may not be used on children for exactly this reason. My problem is not with the imaging but with what amounts to a punitive sexual assault, if as you say it's specifically intended to be umcomfortable so that people use the machines instead.

What is not discussed is the fact that you do have the legal right to refuse a search. It's even posted, on teeny little signs beyond the search area where you won't see them until after you've gon through security.

Kim said...

Actually, there was recently a *Pilot* who refused to have a whole-body imagery scan taken, AND refused the patdown... who was turned away and not allowed to enter the secure area.

So while we have the right to refuse... we do not have the right to fly.

I moved so that I didn't have to fly as often, but I fly for business. My company would be quite unhappy with me if I fail to make my business trip due to my own actions.

And I have far-flung family. While I moved closer to home in part so that I could *drive* instead of fly... I still have to fly occasionally.

Wimpie said...

You have the UNCONDITIONAL RIGHT to OPT-OUT and especially to OPT-OUT your kids!

These machines totally invade your privacy, maybe give you cancer, and allows the thugs in TSA and other passengers to steal your stuff. Remember, you must remove your wallet, belt, all cash, paper, your boarding pass, passport, EVERYTHING before entering the strip search machine. Anybody can take your stuff.

Google "DONT SCAN US" or go to:
for important safety and privacy information as well as actual images, not the propaganda that TSA is spewing.

morganna said...

I quit flying years ago when the security measures started ramping up. I think the government & the airlines can do whatever they think necessary to make airplanes secure. That doesn't mean I want it done to me. Therefore, I don't fly.

B.J. said...

Amy, I don't disagree with your stance on the subject. My point was more that security and privacy exist on a continuum. If you and others demand that the body imagers are not to be used and successfully lobby the TSA and political leaders to have them removed, the consequence is not having them to scan for the items they are meant to protect against (e.g. knives made of composite materials, liquid explosives worn on a person, etc.).

Perhaps it's worth the trade. Perhaps not. My hope is that something is coming out of tech development to achieve the security desired and privacy we want. I can't drive everywhere I need to go on business so it sounds like my choices are virtual strip search or being groped.

Neil said...

I need to read up more on this issue. I was under the impression that this scanning wasn't exactly like x-ray vision glasses where you could see a naked body, but more of an ultraviolet xray, which would not be of much lurid interest to anyone. But I will check this out.

Anonymous said...

I had to think of this post on Tuesday when I flew through Boston-Logan airport. The had some sort of "scanner" that they asked me to go through and I asked if they were sure it was okay for a "Baby on Board." The very nice, grandmotherly woman said that all the training they had been given said it's fine, but that she would understand if I wanted to opt-out. So, I did.

I was ushered through the powered-down machine and given a very thorough pat-down. I wondered if I would be uncomfortable, but found that it really wasn't terrible. Thorough? Yes. But, it was again, a very nice woman who was doing it and all all times she told me what she was going to touch and over "sensitive" areas she used the back of her hand. Very brisk and professional - and while I felt a little goofy, really it was not a big deal.

I would probably have a different opinion if the woman had been a bee-yatch, but then I get miffed when anyone I deal with is grumpy whether it be the TSA or the dude at Starbucks.

And if it was my kids? Well, depending on their sex & age I'd have differing opinions on who I'd want to "frisk" them. Call it a gender bias, but I think I'd want a woman to check out my son if he was under about 6 or so. And you bet your butt I'd be RIGHT. THERE. watching like a hawk while they did it.

Anyway, just thought I'd share my experience...

RobMonroe said...

You have the right to refuse by not flying. I don't mind the idea - it would appear that the old methods did NOT work in several major instances.

I don't have the time or the energy to worry about the *slight possibility* that someone will keep an x-ray version of me (or my child). My guess is that if it is not this, the next thing thought up will be even crazier and I'm not ready for that.

Signed -
Someone who has to go through this. On Thanksgiving weekend.