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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Backscatter Backlash

Posted by Anthony Hecht on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 2:44 PM

The uproar over the TSA's new porno scanners (and the agency's general fecklessness) is spreading.

Seems that the TSA is facing increasing push-back from passengers, pilots, and others over the new "submit to a privacy-invading full body x-ray scan of questionable usefulness or have your crotch inspected manually" policy.

Nearly a week before the Thanksgiving holiday air travel crush, federal air security officials struggled Monday to reassure rising numbers of fliers and airline workers outraged by new anti-terrorism screening procedures they consider invasive and harmful.

Across the country, passengers simmered over being forced to choose scans by full-body image detectors or probing pat-downs. Top federal security officials said that the procedures were safe and necessary sacrifices to ward off terror attacks.

Jon Tyner, the software engineer in San Diego who refused to be groped and was threatened with a civil lawsuit and a $10,000 fine, is now actually being investigated by the TSA, and they've upped the penalty to $11,000.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she "regrets" the resistance to these new procedures, but they are "necessary to deal with emerging terrorist threats such as a Nigerian man's alleged attempt to blow up a jetliner bound from Amsterdam to Detroit last Christmas Day using hard-to-detect explosives."

One guy's failed attempt last year is not an "emerging threat." It's one guy's failed attempt. People who want to blow up planes will use whatever method of concealing their weapons that you're not checking for. Gaggles of hundreds people waiting to go through security is a bigger security threat than underpants. We're spending too much time chasing after the last method we saw employed and not enough time using intelligence and common sense.

And groping a screaming 3-year-old? Just ridiculous.

Oh, and those machines that supposedly aren't even capable of storing the revealing images they take? Bullshit.

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