Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Transportation Security Administration

Personally, I think the new virtual strip search machines at the airport are an outrageous violation of the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches. If this is not a violation what would be?

The Wall Street Journal in its December 4-5 edition printed an editorial that stated, "The head of the Transportation Security Administration says inconvenience is a small price to pay for safety." Well, Mr. Pistole, I think inconvenience is a small price to pay for safety too. But we are not talking about an inconvenience. We are talking about a gross violation of personal privacy. I have zero tolerance for bureaucrats who defend their actions with rhetoric that conceals the actual issue. Mr. Pistole, you know what this is about and it's not about "inconvenience."

I was also alarmed to hear his comment about an "underwear bomb." Now I thought the entire justification for this, in my opinion, ridiculous policy was the Christmas Day bomber. I thought this machine was supposed to prevent that from happening again. (Never mind that the terrorists have plenty of other ideas to use...) When asked if we even know if these screenings would detect such a bomb Mr. Pistole said that they "never put it on someone and tested it."

What??!!?? They never put a bomb like that on someone to see if it would be detected by these machines? Why not? They're spending millions of dollars on these privacy violating machines and they didn't test to see if it could detect the very device they say is the reason for the policy?
Is this incompetence on the part of the TSA or is the Christmas Day bomber not the real reason for the screenings. I think an explanation is in order.

Furthermore, I have another few questions. Now I'll grant you I may have not read enough about these things and maybe these questions have indeed been answered.

These images are supposed to not be saved on the computer screen. Is there a method for the operator to override that automatic protocol and actually save it? It seems there would be such an option to save it in the case of questionable scans. What safeguards are in place to ensure that the operator does not choose to save an image for another purpose?

If there is such an override option is it possible to email that image somewhere-- like to the TSA offices? Surely there is, since if someone brought a weapon or a bomb the picture would be needed as evidence. What safeguards are in place that would ensure that such email capacity, if there is one, is not abused?

And where is the ACLU? I understand that they do not like the new screenings. When are they going to file a lawsuit? A nativity scene in the town square is a threat to civil liberties deserving of legal action and these screenings are not? Seems just a little bit inconsistent to me.

OK. Thanks for letting me vent.


Suzanne said...

Thanks for venting for me. This is very very concerning to me.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Me too, Suzanne. I can't believe they're really going forward with these things and haven't been stopped by legal challenges.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Suzanne, where is Sarah?? She deleted her blog? Did she start another?