#parents #kids #news #privacy Child suffers emotional meltdown as TSA employee pats her down!
Posted Nov 13 2010 3:25pm
Wow, this is beyond insane when our children have to suffer being violated by TSA employees in the name of security, yet Muslim's are to be exempted from this type of harassment due to claims of moral/religious rights and discrimination against their civil rights. Now that we are all subjected to full body scans or pat downs, organizations like CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, is demanding female Muslims dressed in hijab's and burquas only be pat down on the head and necks. Yet the rest of us have to go through this intrusive type of screening? Imagine how a child or adult whose been sexually assaulted will react, let alone your average 3yr old or average adult?
The whole reason airport security and screening escalated to this point is because of the 9/11 terrorist attack on our country by Muslim radicals;since then we have been limited on how much carryon we can bring on a plane and what liquids are allowed and how much. We have since had to start removing our shoes, belts, jewelry and any other item that triggers the electronic screening alarms to beep more than twice. Now since the underwear bomber failed in his attempt to blow up a plane on a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam in 2009 we must be radiated through a full body scan or get a full body pat down, as if we are all criminals, including our children!!
A growing number of airline passengers, labor unions, and advocacy groups, however, say the new procedures--a choice of full-body scans or what the TSA delicately calls "enhanced pat-downs"--go too far. (They were implemented without much fanfare in late October, amid lingering questions (PDF) about whether travelers are always offered a choice of manual screening.)
This image of an adult man was taken using a Rapiscan Secure 1000 backscatter X-ray scanner
These privacy concerns, and in a few cases even outright rebellion, come as an estimated 24 million travelers are expected to fly during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday season. One Web site, OptOutDay.com , is recommending what might be called strict civil obedience: it suggests that all air travelers on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving, choose "to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines" that amount to "virtual strip searches."
Normally, that kind of public outcry might be enough to spur TSA to back down--after all, in 2004 it relaxed its metal detector procedures to allow passengers a second try, and a year later it relaxed its rules to allow scissors in carry-on bags. Plus, the U.S. House of Representatives (but not the Senate) approved a bill saying that "whole-body imaging technology may not be used as the sole or primary method of screening a passenger."
But with a lame duck Congress not even in session until next week, no hearings on full-body scanners currently scheduled, and renewed concerns about explosives in printer cartridges, an immediate reversal seems unlikely.
Instead, TSA is defending its practice. "TSA constantly evaluates and updates screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats, and we have done so several times already this year," a spokeswoman said. "As such, TSA has implemented an enhanced pat-down at security checkpoints as one of our many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe."
One of the many anti-whole body scanner efforts, this is the logo from stopdigitalstripsearches.org
"Administrator John Pistole is committed to intelligence-driven security measures, including advanced imaging technology and the pat-down procedure and ordered a review of certain policies shortly after taking office to reinforce TSA's risk-based approach to security," TSA said. "We look forward to further discussion with pilots on these important issues."
TSA's official blogger, who uses the apparent pseudonym Blogger Bob, went so far as to say this week that: "There is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe."
This is going beyond reasonable to insane. There are several privacy rights groups and advocates working to fight against this, including American Airlines and US Airways unions who do not wish to have their pilots and flight attendants exposed to repeated radiation risks and screenings. They say their pilots and flight attendants already go through rigorous background checks and fly so often it is intrusive and beyond necessary to have them screened at every landing/transition.
CNN reportsIndustry leaders are worried about the grassroots backlash to Transportation Security Administration security procedures. Some pilots, passengers and flight attendants have chosen to opt out of the revealing scans.
More of the units are arriving at airports, with 1,000 expected to be in place by the end of 2011.
"While the meeting with Secretary Napolitano was informative, it was not entirely reassuring," the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement.
"We certainly understand the challenges that DHS confronts, but the question remains, 'where do we draw the line'? Our country desperately needs a long-term vision for aviation security screening, rather than an endless reaction to yesterday's threat," the statement said. "At the same time, fundamental American values must be protected."
The travel industry is concerned that consumers may decide not to take a plane to Aunt Gertrude's for the holiday.
"We have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from travelers vowing to stop flying," Geoff Freeman, an executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, told Reuters.
A 2008 survey found that air travelers "avoided" 41 million trips because they believed the air travel system was either "broken" or in need of "moderate correction," the U.S. Travel Association said. The decisions cost airlines $9.4 billion, the survey said.
One online group, "National Opt Out Day" calls for a day of protest against the scanners on Wednesday, November 24, the busiest travel day of the year.
Another group argues the TSA should remove the scanners from all airports. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-profit privacy advocacy group, is taking legal action, saying the TSA should be required to conduct a public rule-making to evaluate the privacy, security and health risks caused by the body scanners.
Pilots' unions for US Airways and American Airlines are urging their members to avoid full-body scanning at airport security checkpoints, citing health risks and concerns about intrusiveness and security officer behavior.
"Pilots should NOT submit to AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology) screening," wrote Capt. Mike Cleary, president of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, in a letter to members this week. USAPA represents more than 5,000 US Airways pilots.
"Based on currently available medical information, USAPA has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks," Cleary wrote.
Napolitano told industry leaders that biometric identification, such as retinal scanning and thorough background checks will expedite the screening of 80,000 passengers who participate in "trusted traveler" programs, the department said.
But the chorus against the security measures is getting louder.
The website "We Won't Fly" urgers travelers to "Act now. Travel with Dignity."
"We are opposed to the full-body backscatter X-ray airport scanners on grounds of health and privacy. We do not consent to strip searches, virtual or otherwise. We do not wish to be guinea pigs for new, and possibly dangerous, technology. We are not criminals. We are your customers. We will not beg the government anymore. We will simply stop flying until the porno-scanners are history," the site says.
"National Opt Out Day," organized by Brian Sodegren, encourages solidarity on November 24, amid the crush of Thanksgiving travelers.
"It's the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government's desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an "enhanced pat-down" that touches people's breasts and genitals. You should never have to explain to your children, 'Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it's a government employee, then it's OK.' "
According to the group, passengers who say "I opt out" when told to go through body scanners are submitted to a pat-down.
"Be sure to have your pat-down by TSA in full public -- do not go to the back room when asked. Every citizen must see for themselves how the government treats law-abiding citizens," the website says.
The Facebook page of the group includes a litany of complaints about the scanners.
"I'm completely appalled by this," one woman wrote. "What happened to our right to privacy? Has Homeland Security forgotten our rights because they think its going to stop terrorists?"
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has issued its own travel advisory over pat-downs many "describe as invasive and humiliating."
Muslim women who wear a hijab and are selected for secondary screening because of a head scarf should remind TSA officers "that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They should not subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down," the group said.
The TSA has deployed nearly 350 advanced imaging technology (body scanner) units in nearly 70 U.S. airports, administrator John Pistole said recently. "By the end of calendar year 2011, we plan to have deployed approximately 1,000 units."
The agency is exploring enhancements to the technology.
"This capability would make screening more efficient and would eliminate most privacy concerns about the technology," Pistole said.
Privacy concerns aren't the only reason for protests.
Some scientists and two major airline pilots unions contend not enough is known about the effects of the small doses of X-ray radiation emitted by one of the two types of airport scanning machines.
The Transportation Security Administration's advanced imaging technology machines use two separate means of creating images of passengers -- backscatter X-ray technology and millimeter-wave technology.
While the TSA says the machines are safe, backscatter technology raises concerns among some because it uses small doses of ionizing radiation. The use of millimeter-wave technology hasn't received the same attention, and radiation experts say it poses no known health risks.
While there is always the risk of a terrorist sneaking in as a pilot or an airline employee, or a radicalized terrorist getting through security as a passenger, where does the cost of privacy end in exchange for security? As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." Are you still going to fly and give up your privacy rights?