publicandprivatespace

March 12, 2011

TSA: The Constitution and Terrorism — Nicholas Burmeister (1/2)

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 4:58 pm

I did my research paper on the constitutionality of the Transportation Security Administration’s airport security methods, specifically the pat down method. This is the first of two posts, this one being the background information on the TSA and Constitutional Amendments.

The Transportation Security Administration was born out of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. It is tasked with securing our airports and other mass transit stations. Unfortunately, I and many others are of the opinion that they are doing a very poor job of this and that their current methods violate several Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, including two of the Bill of Rights.

The Amendments that are believed to be violated all have to do with search and seizure of persons. They are the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (The website which I linked each of the Amendments to is Findlaw.com. It includes the text of each Amendment as well as the Supreme Court cases related to each one. It is an interesting read even without the context of the TSA.) Each of these documents are designed to protect citizens of the United States from unlawful search and seizure. The amendments and the Supreme Court rulings tell public officials that searches and seizures must be warranted and reasonable in terms of preventing undue stress or harm to the person being searched and unwarranted searches must have reasonable cause. I see these rights as being very important to prevent a police-state from forming.

The TSA does not provide any information saying that their procedure does not violate the Amendments. Their announcement is little more than a propaganda article. It doesn’t even provide any information on the procedure itself, just that it “makes security sense.” And some people do agree with them: in a rather humorous article, a reporter from msnbc.com spoke to several people named Pat Downs to get their feelings about the procedure. Pat Downs from Little Rock said “I don’t really see the problem… It makes me feel safer…” while Pat Downs from Toledo says the TSA should not allow their officers to molest people.

Benjamin Franklin provided his opinion on the subject many years ago: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” This was said at the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1775, years before the Constitution was ratified. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act does not give the TSA permission to tread over and trash our ideals and freedoms to do its job.

What the ATS Act does do is give the TSA permission to keep our airports safe, but there really is no evidence the pat-down is going to prevent another attack. In fact, out of 30 terrorist plots that have been foiled and reported on by the media, 2 involved airplanes, and both of those were only stopped by the failure of their devices while on the planes! The TSA has not shown that they are effectively providing safety measures while maintaining privacy and constitutionality. ‘Evidence’ of the TSA’s effectiveness amounts to a non-specific list of items confiscated (the prohibited items list has over 100 members and a number of arrests made, usually for drug trafficking or fraudulent documentation.

The TSA is no more constitutional than it is effective. In fact, many people say the TSA has done exactly what terrorists have wanted. Terrorism is a tool to strike fear into an enemy:

“Section 802 of the U.S. Patriot Act, titled “Definition of Domestic Terrorism,” provides several definitions of domestic terrorism, including this one “The term `domestic terrorism’ means . . . activities that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.

Terrorism is used to make the people think about their lives as being in the hands of a foreign enemy. Every time a person is disrupted, molested, bothered or becomes fearful about flying or being in an airport, the terrorists have succeeded in their mission, or is it the TSA that is the real terrorist?

Here is Post 2

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TSA: Evidence of Violation of the Constitution — Nicholas Burmeister (2/2)

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 4:54 pm

I did my research paper on the constitutionality of the Transportation Security Administration’s airport security methods, specifically the pat down method. This is the second of two posts. This post is about specific cases of violation of the constitution. Post 1 is here.

A document on the TSA’s website called TSA Myth or Fact? Leaked Images refers to several points of discussion as false and tries to present information proving that. Instead, some of the ‘myths’ are practically ignored while others have evidence proving that they are in fact true. Here are just some of them:

  • Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
    • The TSA calls this a myth and they are correct, less than 4% of people will be patted-down and only for one of a few specific reasons.
  • All children will receive pat-downs.
    • Again the TSA is correct in calling this a myth because, as before, only a small percentage of people are patted down and that percentage does apply to children. Where they are wrong, however, is that the page says the pat-down will be a modified form of the adult pat-down and more respectful due to their age. Here’s two cases of them being ‘respectful’.

Video of an 8 year old having his shirt taken off and patted down like an adult.

Video of a 3 year old screaming and fighting a TSA agent while being patted-down

  • The TSA pat-down is invasive
    • The TSA calls this a myth but never says that the procedure is not invasive, just that it was meant to provide extra safety. John Tyner felt that it was invasive and became the ‘poster child’ for the anti-pat-down movement as the ‘Don’t Touch My Junk’ guy after he was picked for a pat-down and told he would be fined up to $11,000 for refusing. The videos are here, and here. Others mentioned later in the blog agree.
  • Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
    • The TSA twists the facts in their favor on this one. The website says “Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint.  Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day.  The number of complaints is extremely low.” What it doesn’t tell is that complaints about the pat-downs from those who receive them are more than 80%. Just because the people that don’t have to go through them aren’t complaining doesn’t mean they aren’t bad.
  • The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT.
    • While the TSA claims this is a myth, a sexual assault victim named Celeste felt that it is not. She reported that she refused to go through an AIT machine over health concerns and “the agent started yelling ‘Opt out- we have an opt here.’  Another agent took [her] aside and said they would have to pat [her] down.  He told [her] he was going to touch [her] genitals and asked if [she] wouldn’t rather just go through the scanner, that it would be less humiliating for[her]” This seems like punishment to me.

Celeste’s issues didn’t stop at the pat-down being punitive. Her case and others show that the TSA is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment in that when she was searched she was put through undue mental duress. Being a sexual assault victim, she has a fear of being touched, especially by men, and she said that when she was being patted down, it was like a whole new sexual assault. She’s not the only victim having this feeling.

Additionally, victims of sexual crimes are not the only group being harmed by the pat-downs. Cancer survivors are as well. A bladder cancer survivor named Thomas Sawyer (yes that is his real name) and Cathy Bossi, a breast cancer survivor, were both embarrassed and humiliated by their pat-downs. Being a bladder cancer survivor, Mr. Sawyer is unable to control his urine flow and wears a collection bag around his leg. He told the officers about this but was still given a rough pat-down that resulted in his bag spilling all over his clothes. This and the delay caused by the line itself forced him to fly home covered in urine. Ms. bossi was forced to remove her prosthetic breast in full view of the public in order to pass her pat-down. Both called their experiences nightmares that came true.

Bringing people’s nightmare’s to life in the process of conducting a search is clearly not constitutional. Its borderline sadistic and certain TSA officers are being described as exactly that: sadistic and uncaring about the people they are in charge of checking. Many if not most don’t even change their gloves, or use incorrect procedure of storing their gloves, and the dangers of this are obvious.

Nobody deserves this treatment. I certainly won’t allow myself to be molested as a condition of flying. I have no problem with the TSA protecting us from terrorism but the way they are doing it is not right at all.

March 9, 2011

American Citizens Treated like Terrorists

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 11:26 am
By:  Andrea Gillis

The security procedures at airlines are among the most invasive out there.  They are thought to be the main cause for America’s recent decrease in domestic flights (flights that occur within America’s borders).  Many of the procedures include profiling, trained dogs, x-ray screening for carryon luggage, metal detectors, pat-downs, and full body scanners according to John Baker.  The most invasive of these procedures would be the pat-downs, of course, which have been replaced, now, by new Advanced Imaging Technology or AIT.  The AIT stirs up a lot of trouble at airports.  This is because these machines act kind of like a giant X-ray because they take images of a person standing inside of one and send them to a monitor in a separate room to be viewed by a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) operator.  Going through the AIT scanners is almost the same as going to see your doctor for a broken bone, except, instead of just scanning one area where the supposed ‘broken bone’ is, the AIT scans your entire body.  The scanners bother American travelers because of their radiation risk and their invasive properties.

It seems that AIT scanners is the TSA’s approach to protecting the American public from terrorist attacks, but the new technology could be doing more harm than good.  The reason for the harmful tendencies of the AIT is that these scanners give off small amounts of radiation when operated according to Daily Mail Reporter.  To get a better idea of the amount of radiation given off in each scan, imagine the amount given off in an X-ray at the doctor’s office.  Now, divide that by 5,000.  That amount of radiation seems to be miniscule in comparison to the X-ray, but even a small dose of radiation could cause health concerns. 

Most people know that radiation is one cause of cancer.  Columbia University’s Dr. Brenner claims that the radiation from the scanners could result in basal cell carcinoma which is a type of cancer that usually occurs in older people (look at previous link).  Cancer is a serious and life threatening issue.  I am sure most people know of at least one person who has suffered through, is currently suffering from, or has died from cancer.  If I were a traveler, I would be very wary of the radiation given off by the AIT scanners. 

In addition to being dangerous, the AIT scanners push the borders of personal privacy.  The fact that they can see every part of a person’s body is very invasive itself.  The images taken by the machines are directly sent to a TSA operator’s monitor.  Even though there are rules in place, such as no cameras or picture taking devices in the operating room, what stops the operators from seeing every part of a person?  Also, how tight is this rule?  Is it possible for one to break it?

The public’s opinion on the privacy issue varies from person to person, but a lot of people tend to think that the scanners invade their personal privacy.  An online law debate shows people’s views about privacy concerns.  One respondent argues that the scanners don’t stop people from using body cavities to smuggle things through security and that the scanners force people to “participate in pornography.”  The AIT scanning does create images of people’s bodies without clothes on, so the scanners are technically pornographic.  Another respondent from the debate believes that airline security “has gone too far” because of the “machine that will scan your body naked.”  Again, this is a concern that has to do with the pornographic tendencies of the full body scanners.  Is it right that these scanners are in place?

March 7, 2011

Airport Security: Isn’t It Necessary?

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 9:25 am

Security measures, such as pat downs, are necessary for safety in airports. In order to ensure passengers are safe from dangerous criminals, everyone has to be screened in order to make sure no one has any kind of weapon. In this day and age, the risks are too great for there not to be extensive security measures.Because of events in the past such as 9/11, and threats of future attacks, airport security is currently tighter and stricter than ever before. The Transportation Security Administration, body scanners, and thorough pat downs seem to be at the center of the controversy. But how important is our safety? Is complaining about bagging checks, pat downs, and long lines more important than reaching a certain destination alive and safely? Some of the ways to protect passengers is to indeed invade their privacy to a certain extent, but there is no way to adequately screen passengers in a comfortable manner. Personal privacy is one of the utmost aspects of people that must be respected, but when it comes to life or death situations, the proper precautions must be taken. Today, if security suddenly reverted back to the way it was before 9/11, the danger and the amount of people at risk would be immense. If everyone thinks about the risks and accepts the regulations of airport security, we will be able to put aside the frustration that comes with going to the airport and will be able to identify why the security is necessary. Because of somewhat intrusive measures, most people criticize security measure.

Two of the most recently imposed security measures are body scanners and pat downs. These are also the most controversial as well. Using X-rays, body scanners can look underneath clothing to ensure no one has a weapon. Body scanners are expensive pieces of technologies that try to make air travel safer. The article, “Body Scanners at Airports Will Not Make Us Safe” (Lukwatt, 2010) is one of the many articles that claim body scanners won’t make airports safer and are somewhat pointless. “Full Frontal Nudity” (Carden, 2010) emphasizes only the negative aspect of body scanners. The fact that they do show a semi naked photo of the passenger also means the scanner will detect any possible weapons.

Pat downs are also something passengers now hate. With the more thorough pat downs, security personnel now use their hands to check the inner thighs, buttocks, and breasts. More and more people feel they are being sexually assaulted when receiving a pat down. Passengers receive pat downs only if they opt out of the body scanners. Some people claim the body scanners and pat downs are an invasion of privacy and there is no preferable way of screening passengers.Metal detectors and having passengers remove shoes were two previous ways, and are still used today. But metal detectors haven’t stopped dangerous people from getting on an airplane with a bomb. In 2009, a man tried to detonate a bomb that was hidden under his clothes. Such events have led to more security measures.

Such security measures are vital to make sure all passengers will make it to their destination safely. The very high majority of people who fly in the United States don’t plan on endangering passengers. It is the very few criminals that airports are worried about. As long as the U.S. receives threats of potentially deadly terror attacks, airplane passengers will never be safe. Security measures are vital to everyone’s safety.

“Frisky” Business

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 6:18 am

By: Daniel Rieman

The Transportation Security Administration should be held to a very high standard of deference to the laws established in the Constitution of the United States.  It is part of the Department of Transportation and was created in November of 2001. The TSA is charged with three stated mandates, including security for all types of transportation, recruiting and training of security officers and providing screening for explosives of all luggages checked for airline travel.  But there is another charge, which is also important: to operate within the limits of the constitution.

The TSA has accomplished its mandates by implementation a technique of “palms-first, slide down body” frisks. People at airports are offered this option or the option to submit to a biometric body scan, where an x-ray device is capable of rendering an image so precisely that genitals are discernable on the scanner.  Both methods are very intrusive.

Fortunately, legal protection against intrusion exists.  The constitution provides, through the Fourth Amendment, a guard against unreasonable searches and seizures.  The reasonability aspect is usually defined as what society would consider suitable.  This right of protection is exists because everyone is entitled to privacy.  The current frisk and scan procedures violate this privacy.  More importance needs to be assigned to respecting private space at airports in order to uphold the Fourth Amendment. This amendment should apply to airports the same as it applies to the rest of the countryside.  One reason for a refocus of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act is that the searches justified by this act are considered unreasonable to many travelers.  This makes many travelers more likely to see other modes of transportation.

Airport security searches are justified by the “don’t like it, don’t fly” policy, which is neither fair nor in-keeping with the spirit of the Fourth Amendment.  It is after all, our own government which is conducting the searches.  The government entities should be held accountable for accomplishing their mandates.

Bang 'em

Could be explosive.

In addition to violating precedents previously established, some clear cases of failure by the TSA are prominent.  One such case concerns a man passing through a security checkpoint in San Francisco, who was asked to remove his shoes by a security officer.  The security officer slammed each shoe against the ground at full force and then returned them.  Because neither shoe had exploded, they were not dangerous.  I would say, in this example that the TSA failed to uphold its training mandate.

Dangerous?

 While I do not believe that pilots and attendants should be exempt from screening, they should not be subjected to the same security measures.  From the same source as above comes an example of a recurring violation of privacy, as a clear waste of taxpayer money.  An airline pilot, who is subjected to daily searches, is not permitted to have fingernail clippers, but ends up seated securely locked on the flight deck with an ax behind him.  It should be clearly appalling to spend time and funds to violate pilots’ privacy on a daily basis to search for small metal objects, only to provide them later with an ax.

For Emergency Logging only.

March 6, 2011

TSA, The Constitution, and Terrorism — Nicholas Burmeister

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 10:54 pm

I did my research paper on the constitutionality of the Transportation Security Administration’s airport security methods, specifically the pat down method. A lot of the information presented is background on the TSA and Constitution. The Transportation Security Administration was born out of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. It is tasked with securing our airports and other mass transit stations. Unfortunately, I and many others are of the opinion that they are doing a very poor job of this and that their current methods violate several Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, including two of the Bill of Rights.

The Amendments that are believed to be violated all have to do with search and seizure of persons. They are the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (The website which I linked each of the Amendments to is Findlaw.com. It includes the text of each Amendment as well as the Supreme Court cases related to each one. It is an interesting read even without the context of the TSA.) Each of these documents are designed to protect citizens of the United States from unlawful search and seizure. The amendments and the Supreme Court rulings tell public officials that searches and seizures must be warranted and reasonable in terms of preventing undue stress or harm to the person being searched and unwarranted searches must have reasonable cause. I see these rights as being very important to prevent a police-state from forming.

The TSA does not provide any information saying that their procedure does not violate the Amendments. Their announcement is little more than a propaganda article. It doesn’t even provide any information on the procedure itself, just that it “makes security sense.” Actually, that document I linked to itself is one of many focal points of my ire towards the TSA. Some of the “myths” it dispels are merely waved off or skirted around as any good politician would do. Here are just some of them:

  • Myth: All children will receive pat-downs.

o   It says that only children who need extra screening will be patted-down, and it will be modified from the adult pat-down and more respectful do to their age. Here’s two cases of them being ‘respectful

(WordPress-fails-and-won’t-let-me-add-the-video-directly-#1)

(WordPress-fails-and-won’t-let-me-add-the-video-directly-#2)

  • Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
    • The answer to this question on the TSA’s blog skirts the question and never says that the procedure is not invasive, just that it was meant to provide extra safety. John Tyner felt that it was invasive and became the ‘poster child’ for the anti-pat-down movement as the ‘Don’t Touch My Junk’ guy after he was picked for a pat-down and told he would be fined up to $11,000 for refusing. The videos are here, and here.
  • Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
    • This is truly a myth. Less than 4% of travelers will receive a pat-down and only for specific reasons.
  • Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
    • The TSA twists the facts in their favor on this one. The website says “Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint.  Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day.  The number of complaints is extremely low.” What it doesn’t tell you is that complaints about the pat-downs from those who receive them are more than 80%. Just because the people that don’t have to go through them aren’t complaining doesn’t mean they aren’t bad.
  • Myth: The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT.
    • A sexual assault victim named Celeste felt that this isn’t true either. She refused to go through an AIT machine over health concerns and “the agent started yelling ‘Opt out- we have an opt here.’  Another agent took [her] aside and said they would have to pat [her] down.  He told [her] he was going to touch [her] genitals and asked if [she] wouldn’t rather just go through the scanner, that it would be less humiliating for[her]” This seems like punishment to me.

Celeste’s issues didn’t stop at the pat-down being punitive. Her case and others show that the TSA is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment in that when she was searched she was put through undue mental duress. Being a sexual assault victim, she has a fear of being touched, especially by men, and she said that when she was being patted down, it was like a whole new sexual assault. She’s not the only victim having this feeling.

Additionally, victims of sexual crimes are not the only group being harmed by the pat-downs. Cancer survivors are as well. A bladder cancer survivor named Thomas Sawyer (yes that is his real name) and an unnamed Cathy Bossi, a breast cancer survivor, were both embarrassed and humiliated by their pat-downs. Being a bladder cancer survivor, Mr. Sawyer is unable to control his urine flow and wears a collection bag around his leg. He told the officers about this but was still given a rough pat-down that resulted in his bag spilling all over his clothes. This and the delay caused by the line itself forced him to fly home covered in urine. The breast cancer survivor Ms. bossi was forced to remove her prosthetic breast in full view of the public in order to pass her pat-down. Both called their experiences nightmares that came true.

Bringing people’s nightmare’s to life in the process of conducting a search is clearly not constitutional. Its borderline sadistic and certain TSA officers are being described as exactly that: sadistic and uncaring about the people they are in charge of checking. Many if not most don’t even change their gloves, or use incorrect procedure of storing their gloves, and the dangers of this are obvious. Nobody deserves this treatment. I certainly would not allow myself to be molested as a condition of flying.

In a rather humorous article, a reporter from msnbc.com spoke to several people named Pat Downs to get their feelings about the procedure. Pat Downs from Toledo says the TSA should not allow their officers to molest people while Pat Downs from Little Rock disagrees. She said “I don’t really see the problem… It makes me feel safer…” This is a terrible reason to allow the constitution to be violated at will.

Benjamin Franklin is our only founding father with his signature on all four major documents that founded the United States: The Treaty of Paris, Treaty of Alliance with France, the United States Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. It is suspected he knew what he was talking about when he said “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” And this was before the Constitution was even drafted! The Aviation and Transportation Security Act does not give the TSA permission to tread over and trash our ideals and freedoms to do its job.

Ben Franklin: Knew what he was talkin' 'bout.

Frankly, it sickens me that people are so willing to give up their rights for a false sense of security. Its turned into tyranny of the majority where the majority are willing to allow others to be molested, embarrassed, and humiliated so they can feel safe to fly. I’ve been trying to stay rational as far as politics and the current state of the country goes, but this is just one thing I can not be silent about. It’s pretty clear to me that the TSA needs to change its pat-down procedures and its security measures as a whole in order make them more constitutional and less Orwellian nature.

TSA Y U NO CONSTITUTIONAL

There really is no evidence the pat-down is going to prevent another attack. In fact, out of 30 terrorist plots that have been foiled and reported on by the media, 2 involved airplanes, and both of those were only stopped by the failure of their devices while on the planes! (More than 30 Incidents of Domestic Terrorism Attacks Thwarted since 9/11 – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com) The TSA has not shown that they are effectively providing safety measures while maintaining privacy and constitutionality. ‘Evidence’ of the TSA’s effectiveness amounts to a non-specific list of items confiscated (the prohibited items list has over 100 members and a number of arrests made, usually for drug trafficking or fraudulent documentation.
The TSA is no more constitutional than it is effective. In fact, many people say the TSA has done exactly what terrorists have wanted. Terrorism is a tool to strike fear into an enemy:

“Section 802 of the U.S. Patriot Act, titled “Definition of Domestic Terrorism,” provides several definitions of domestic terrorism, including this one “The term `domestic terrorism’ means . . . activities that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.

Terrorism is used to make the people think about their lives as being in the hands of a foreign enemy. Every time a person is disrupted, molested, bothered or becomes fearful about flying or being in an airport, the terrorists have succeeded in their mission, or is it the TSA that is the real terrorist?

To Be Seen Naked or Not to Be: That is the Question

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 4:01 pm

By: Malynda Messer

Nudity has become a common theme on television, billboards, and magazines.  Many people are no longer shocked when they see a naked person in a movie, but rather have come to accept this as a norm.  However, most people don’t consider the feelings they would have if it were their body up on a screen.  But this is exactly what airports have begun to do with what is known as a biometric body scanner.  Biometric body scanners take a virtual picture of a passenger’s naked body in order to identify that specific person in a database and ensure they do not have weapons under their clothes. 

To most this would seem outrageous, however many people have come to expect this type of action from the government.  In an interview conducted by the Independent, many people commented on why they should even care anymore because they have seen the body sold and exploited for far less and this machine isn’t really much different.  Should people really be this complacent about their own privacy?  A clear solution to the violation of ethical standards presented by biometric body scanners would be to remove them from all airports.

There are many ethical issues surrounding these machines mostly involving passenger’s personal privacy.  The most concerning of these issues involves how graphic the images produced by the body scanners are.  The images are so graphic that genitalia and breast implants are visible on the images.  In addition to these images, saved information includes personal information such as full name, address, phone number, flight information, and sometimes social security number. 

This information can be viewed by all employees, and sent to any other database with just a click of a mouse.  Several cases, for example, have been reported of harassment and threats from an unknown source by several women.  When investigated sources of the harassment came back to airline employees.  This indicates that all this information found within airline databases is essentially unsafe, and almost anyone can gain access to personal facts.  This false safety some feel about airports can easily be a misconception.

Not only are passenger’s required to submit personal information such as address, phone number, and full name, but this information is subject to be retrieved or purchased by direct marketers or credit bureaus which can then be matched with other data and used for purposes that were not agreed to. Purposes could include being harassed by e-mails, phone calls, and mail from those creditors that are trying to hoax innocent people into something. The beauty of it all is that passengers would never guess that the creditor would find this information through an airport database so the blame will never be pinpointed but rather just brushed off as some mailing list that was accidentally signed up for. This abuse of power by airlines needs to be stopped.

An even more serious problem that has been brought to media attention recently is the violation of child protection laws. Biometric body scanners have also been called “virtual strip searches.” Should children be required to submit to such an invasive test? This concern however, has not been clarified by officials. Children should not have to be exposed to such revealing tests, but making legislation that protects children 18 and younger from the screening could open up a new opportunity window for terrorists. So for now children will be chosen at random and asked to submit to this scan for the purpose of protecting the “safety of the public” or at least, that’s the scripted answer most government officials respond with. It would seem more logical to clarify controversial issues such as this before implementing such an absurd screening.

It seems that concern for personal space and privacy has dropped tremendously. If nothing else, the fact that biometric body scanners are now affecting children should be enough to spark a boycott. It has also not been proven that these machines are truly improving security, so why should personal privacies be violated? Passenger’s should have the choice of whether or not they want to expose their most personal places especially if these images can be seen by employees and then retrieved by other people. The best solution for these rising problems is to remove biometric screenings from airports until all the current ethical issues are resolved.

“Don’t Touch My Junk”

Filed under: TSA — publicandprivatespace @ 2:23 pm

By: Malynda Messer

Ever since the tragic events of 9/11 security at airlines have been continually revamped through new technologies and procedures.  With what many government officials say is “for the best interest of the country”, machines such as biometric body scanners, trace portals, and more invasive pat downs have been introduced into thousands of airports across the country. However, what government officials have chosen to ignore about these machines is the fact that these new security procedures come with a heavy price to passengers.  The public is beginning to speak out more about the clear violations of privacy that these machines pose.

Because these machines are so new a lot of people are still finding out exactly what purpose they serve and how they work. Trace portals are the most recent machines to be introduced. This machine gives off blasts of air that will dislodge particles from someone’s skin or clothes, sucking them into a filter to be instantly analyzed to determine if that person has been in the presence of explosives or narcotics. Biometric body scanners have also just recently been integrated and have the ability to take an x-ray scan that can see through passengers clothing. From just the descriptions, it is easy to see how these machines can become a headache to any passenger.

Quite possibly the biggest problem these machines pose is the direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. The main concern that airports and passengers are facing today is what should be considered an “unreasonable search.” Trace portals, although minimally invasive to passengers, commonly produce a false positive which leads to many other physically intrusive procedures such as pat-downs and biometric scanners. False positives can come from heart medicines that are chemically similar to explosives, triggering the alarm. What makes this seem even more outrageous is that the false alarms are typically triggered by older citizens who most commonly have heart medicines. Seems a little outlandish that senior citizens would be making an attempt to carry explosives onto a plane. These false alarms lead to unnecessary searches of innocent people that only results in a waste of time, an upset passenger, and an unreasonable search which invades passengers’ privacy.

Trace portals can also identify chemical signatures recognized in illegal drugs. Use of the trace portal in this situation would constitute an illegal search because airport searches are authorized only to identify materials that are a threat to the safety of the airplane. Illegal drugs do not threaten airplane security so passenger’s rights are again compromised by this machine. This machine seems only to be useful for catching all the wrong types of people.  The main concern should be terrorists not senior citizens and drug dealers.

In the case of biometric body scanners the x-rays taken are certainly considered searches, and most people have an expectation of privacy for what is under their clothes and do not appreciate having to submit to such a search. This scan is humiliating and many passengers have fallen victim to exploitation because of the detail of the scans. Passengers should also not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies during this scan, such as evidence of penile implants, catheter tubes, and the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane!

These security machines are diminishing our privacy rights, and more people should band together to help stop the government from taking our personal freedoms. Take for example John Tyner who has become a symbol of rebellion against the new TSA machines. While in the airport he spoke up to an airline official and boldly told him, “Don’t touch my junk or I will have you arrested.” This single line helped spark a movement that we all should jump on board with. There must be another way of protecting the skies other than violating passenger’s constitutional rights. If one man can get this message out there, it would be amazing to see what could be done if everyone spoke up.