Mar 092017
 
 March 9, 2017  Surveillance  Add comments

Over on TechDirt, Mike Masnick writes:

For years we’ve pointed out the sheer insanity of the TSA’s security theater, which is intrusive, insulting and does little to actually make us any safer. One aspect (of many) that has been particularly troubling is the way that the TSA has basically enabled sexual assault of travelers. If you felt that wasn’t too bad, have no fear, the TSA is apparently increasing the sexual assaulty nature of these searches:

The new physical touching—for those selected to have a pat-down—will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more “comprehensive” physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

Denver International Airport, for example, notified employees and flight crews on Thursday that the “more rigorous” searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”

[…]

This is madness. The answer to the TSA’s awful and useless security theater should never be to give TSA agents more power to sexually assault travelers with “more intimate contact.” This is not about security. This is about the TSA wanting to make it look like they’re doing something, and apparently that includes groping strangers who are just trying to get somewhere. How the hell does sexually assaulting travelers make anyone any safer?

Scott Greenfield adds a few choice words of his own:

Regardless of whether you’re not much of a traveler, and so you don’t really care about other people’s problems, or your fear so overwhelms your reason that you’re willing to have someone else suffer any invasiveness for your own false sense of safety, there comes a point when the question must be answered: are you good with some TSA agent’s performance, rubbing a little girl’s vagina? Or a woman’s breasts? Are [sic] some guy’s penis?

Calling it “more rigorous…intimate contact” doesn’t change where there hands go. Is this conduct, criminal under other circumstances, rendered benign when performed by a guy who reflexively mutters, “would you like fries with that”?

Remember when they told us that the full body scanners would keep us safer and diminish the need for intrusive pat-downs? So now they have BOTH, and the public will go along with this like sheeple. Again.

Between this and the CIA hacking tools leak with FBI director Comey telling everyone, “There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America,” I fear some Americans are first waking up to what some of us have been yelling from the rooftops for years as we headed towards a dystopian society. Frighteningly, some still may not have woken up.

And no, you can’t blame Trump for this, although you can certainly hold Obama and Bush43 responsible for their roles, even though the former made some wonderfully inspiring statements in the wake of 9/11 like:

Those in authority should take appropriate precautions to protect our citizens. But we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms.

But that, apparently, was then. And this is now. The slippery slope was more dangerous than too many appreciated. And our freedoms no longer seem to include the right to be free from sexual assault by strangers wearing TSA uniforms.

Reagan’s nine most terrifying words in the English language, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help,’ should be replaced with, “I’m from TSA and I’m here to grope you.”

 

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