The TSA’s rollout of full-body backscatter scanners at airports hasn’t pleased too many people (other than the manufacturers of said scanners). Now a handful of newly uncovered documents show that the Dept. of Homeland Security has been considering bringing that invasive technology out of the airport and out to the public realm.
In a move that makes virtually no sense whatsoever, the Department of Homeland Security has announced a partnership with Walmart “to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.”
In protest of the enhanced TSA pat-down, a woman arrived at the airport this week wearing only lacy black lingerie and holding her white poodle. She had hoped that if she “had nothing to hide” then she could avoid a pat-down. She failed in this endeavor. Naturally, it was captured by a fellow passenger and uploaded to YouTube.
The holidays are here so that means it’s time for the TSA to release a new list of items that you think would bring holiday cheer but actually need to be banned to protect national security. UCBComedy’s The Brig parodies TSA policies in this new sketch that is probably more disturbing (warning: blood n’ candy canes) than uproarious.
Safeguard your junk while asserting your rights in this fetching line of underwear featuring the 4th amendment – the one about unreasonable search and seizure – emblazoned in metallic ink. The maker claims the words are readable on TSA scanners. “Let them know they’re spying at the privates of a private citizen,” reads one of their slogans.
An opt-out protestor wore a bikini through security. [NBC Los Angeles]
A male college student did the same in a Speedo with “SCREW BIG SIS” markered on his back. TSA said he wasn’t detained as he was not a threat. [JonAndEric]
Two protestors at the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix AZ held up signs mentioning “pornoscans,” drawing both “sidelong glances” and “words of support.” [AP]
Half a dozen protestors at Tampa airport talk about tyranny. [TBO]
Overall, checkpoints are running smoothly with no major delays. “Most travelers seemed more interested in getting to their destinations than in making a political statement.” [NYT]
The day is finally here. No, not the day before Thanksgiving. Something far more important than spending time with your family, National Opt-Out Day. People who are doing it plan to, when asked to step through the body imaging machine, opt-out and get the enhanced pat-down instead. Are you gonna do it, or do you think it’s stupid – or worse? Take our poll!
American citizen with free time declines both backscatter scan and patdown upon re-entering country, ends up being able to walk through security without doing either even after cops are called. [NO BLASTERS!]
TSA head makes ad explaining why there’s nothing to fear. Message belied by ominous grey background. [YouTube]
Reporter goes through pat-down to show us how easy it is. “He uses the back of his hand to check the front of my groin area.” [KDAF]
An “I’ll be groped for Christmas” holiday jingle. [YouTube]
Man opts for third choice: stripping down to his skivvies. Is then arrested and walked through two terminals in his underwear. [NBC San Diego]
SNL reimagines TSA as a sexy 80’s hookup company. [Hulu]
Man with a bladder bag says a TSA patdown left him humiliated and soaked in urine. [MSNBC]
Video of frustrated father ripping shirt off shy son so TSA can complete search. [YouTube]
Video of 3-year old girl screaming and writhing during TSA patdown. Her teddy being taken away and going through the x-ray seemed to have set her off. [KGTV]
Airport opt-out day is imbecilic. [Slate]
TSA bumper stickers. “It’s not a grope, it’s a freedom pat.” [Althouse]
There has been quite the cubic ton of stories this past week or so written about the TSA security procedures, the backlash to them, and the backlash-backlash. It’s hard to keep up with them all. So, to keep you sounding smart and making up-to-the-minute references, security guru Bruce Schneier has a massive, yet accessible, link roundup. Keep those wingtips up!
Penn of Penn and Teller went through airport security and got a pat-down. The TSA agent didn’t ask him for permission before touching his crotch so Penn made the cops come down there. In light of recent news, his post about it from 2002 is getting passed around, and it’s an interesting look at how the TSA reacts in a security incident when they’re scared of you, instead of the other way around.
The Smoking Gun has procured internal TSA memos about the security officer who was fired after pulling jokes on travelers by pretending to find cocaine in their luggage.
Like it or not, advanced imaging technology (AIT)–capable of producing highly detailed pics of your naked body–is expanding rapidly throughout U.S. airports. Last month, there were at least 142 AIT units deployed in eleven airports, but by the end of the year that will jump to more than 450 nationwide, spread across at least forty airports (see full list below). The TSA has tried to downplay privacy issues by saying that the units won’t save images, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t. In fact, the U.S. Marshals Service in Florida says they’ve got over 35,000 AIT scans of people saved. They also say that an AIT unit tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse was sent back to the manufacturer with images still stored on it.
The biggest reason not to implement full-body scanners in airports isn’t because it’s weird for the government to have a picture of you naked, it’s because they don’t work, says an Israeli airport security expert.
New security measures announced today by the Department of Homeland Security will eliminate the mandatory screening of air travelers from 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran. Instead, only travelers matching the most current threat information will be put under the microscope.
Starting Monday, some passengers at Boston’s Logan Airport will have the honor and privilege of being the first to be scanned by a new machine that probably costs more than their house. And this is just the beginning of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s plan to install 450 of the sparkly new terrorist detectors in airports across the nation over the next year.