Aug 242012
 
 August 24, 2012  Surveillance, U.S.

Steve Gunn describes what happened to him at Detroit Metropolitan Airport when a TSA agent started asking him questions as part of a “chat-down.”

At first she simply seemed chatty and friendly. She looked at my airline boarding pass and noted that I was coming from Denver. Then she mentioned that I was headed from Detroit to Grand Rapids.

“Talk to my travel agent,” I grumbled.

At that point she asked me what my business would be in Grand Rapids.

“I’m headed home,” I replied.

Then she wanted to know where home was. That’s when the mental alarms went off and I realized I was being interrogated by Big Brother in drag.

I asked her why the federal government needed to know where I was going and what I would be doing. She explained that the questions were part of a new security “pilot program.”

I then told her I am an American citizen, traveling within my own country, and I wasn’t breaking any laws. That’s all the federal government needed to know, and I wasn’t going to share any more.

Read about it on MLive.  These chat-downs or attempts at behavioral detection have become just more of the intrusive and ineffective “security theater” law-abiding citizens are expected to endure.

Some of us will not and do not endure them willingly.  With one exception, I have not flown at all since November 2010. And yes, as I wrote at that time, I’ve foregone some trips I would have otherwise taken.  The airlines lost my business as did the conferences or vacation spots I might have flown to.  I had hoped that this country would come to its senses about air travel, but it seems to have gotten worse instead of better.   Shame on Congress for not reining in these needless and insulting intrusions on Americans’ privacy.

  2 Responses to “Steve Gunn: Just say no when the TSA asks you to ‘chat’”

  1. As long as there are exceptions and preferential treatment for some groups (airline employees, airline customer “loyalty” VIPs, etc.), it’s unlikely the core TSA process will get better for the masses.

    What politician would want to ratchet down procedures, and risk something bad happening?

    If we could only get Senators and Representatives, and their families to have to go through what we go through… imagine the outrage if a Senator’s daughter got singled out for an invasive chat-down or pat-dwn.

    • In my “real” line of work, we are ethically bound to use research-validated methods, i.e., those proven to be effective. I wish they’d apply the same standard to security measures and discard all those that have no proven benefit. THEN we can talk about what’s left.

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