24 November 2010

No, the US government will not allow a public, independent panel to evaluate these machines. They may do it internally and then graciously and secretly decide that the “benefits” catching the one in a hundred million passengers that are terrorists more than outweigh the “risks” needlessly giving 1 in a million passengers skin cancer.

via [The Safety Question, Pt.2 Talking Points Memo](http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/11/the_safety_question_pt2.php).


Good Touch, Bad Touch, T.S.A. Touch

As parents of young children prepare to join the throngs at the nation’s airports on the upcoming Mother of All Travel Days, there’s a new complication. In addition to remembering to pack snacks and toys and diapers, worrying about changing those diapers on a plane with no table in the restroom, and averting the glares of other travelers as your own toddler melts down, now there is another potential obstacle between you and your turkey — the new T.S.A. screening procedures.

What to tell your child about the possibility of a great big machine that can see through his clothes? Or a lady in uniform who might want to pat places that are private?

A flight attendant and breast cancer survivor:

“She put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’. And I said, ‘It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll need to show me that’.”

Bossi was asked to show her prosthetic breast, sticking her hand down her own shirt and removing the prosthesis from her bra.

New York, Orlando join anti-TSA rebellion, TSA mounts PR effort

New York and Orlando aren’t taking the TSA scanner/pat-down controversy lying down. Instead, officials in both places are fighting back. In Orlando, the Sanford airport is reportedly planning to take advantage of a little-known clause that allows airports to opt-out of TSA protection and instead use a federally approved private screening company.

“You’re going to get better service at a better price and more accountability and better customer service,” a Sanford Airport Authority official told a local Orlando news outlet. The airport is moving ahead with the opt-out, and says it will take about a year to complete.

Further north, in New York, Democratic city council officials are plotting to ban the TSA’s nude scanners entirely, Wired reports. No airport or other facility would be allowed to operate a backscatter scanner inside New York city limits.

“We’re not opting out of screening altogether,” Greenfield told Wired’s Threat Level blog. “We’re simply banning one type of screening that hasn’t proven effective.”

Greenfeld and his fellow councilmembers are hoping to spark a chain reaction that leads to other cities banning the scanners. He invited the TSA to sue the city if they didn’t like the ban.

JJ sends us this story:

About a month ago, I was picked out again for the search. I cannot do the scanners/puff machines as I get panic attacks, inhaler always required. I am a small female, wearing skin tight clothes – believe me, I couldn’t hide something if I wanted to. I was proceeded to be felt up, with no warning of what they were going to touch and no offer of a privacy screening. Many onlookers were smiling, including TSA male employees. I was in tears at the end and felt completely violated.

I went to file a formal complaint at the TSA desk, and was given non-working email and website information. I returned to the desk 10 minute later to let them know about it, and they did nothing to correct the situation nor give me better information. After finding where to file myself, I was told they were to have offered me a privacy screening, which they did not. I provided the name of the employee and highly doubt anything was done about it.

Congress people avoiding the scanners

Incoming Speaker John Boehner – skipped through:

As he left Washington on Friday, Mr. Boehner headed across the Potomac River to Reagan National Airport, which was bustling with afternoon travelers. But there was no waiting in line for Mr. Boehner, who was escorted around the metal detectors and body scanners, and taken directly to the gate.

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