RTT: TSA Edition

Have you heard of the new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)? They’re in airports across the country. Some have them as secondary screening tools/alternatives to patdowns (as they were originally promised they would be kept to), some have them as random primary screening tools (people are randomly selected to go through the AIT instead of the x-ray), and some have them as their only primary screening tools (every single person goes through one).

They take naked photos of your body. They are detailed enough to tell if you are on your menstrual cycle. There has been at least one case where the photos were saved (not deleted immediately as promised).

You CAN opt out of them. The alternative is to have an enhanced pat down. Which involves the TSA agent feeling and possibly squeezing your breasts. And using their palm to feel your genitals.

If anyone else took naked photos of you, or used their hand to feel around your breasts/genitals, it would be a sexual crime. The police have never been allowed to do it without probable cause. Now government employees can.

We need to raise hell about this until it is stopped. I am all for safety, but these do not even necessarily improve safety. The technology is not designed to see the explosive used by the underwear bomber last Christmas, which is supposedly what started these procedures and what they are here to prevent a repeat of. Anything in folds of skin or crevices is not seen. Knives could easily be carried through without being seen. And what’s more, no matter how extensive our security system, a government team whose job it is to try to breach airport security has a more than 90% success rate, under all of our different systems of security. Not with shaving razers. With automatic weapons and other such tools. A determined criminal can get through security. Is it worth submitting to sexual harassment and violation every time we fly when it doesn’t change that fact?

Here are some great articles on it:

Pilots are being encouraged to skip the backscatter due to health concerns. This article also covers some of the outrage, and some of the TSA’s responses to it. I love the line, “You should never have to explain to your children, ‘Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.’ ”

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This is an outrageous story about the TSA. One man decided to leave the airport rather than submit to either AIT or an enhanced pat down, and was threatened when he tried to do so. I understand that it is suspicious for a person to not want to go through security…but I feel that in this case, it is reasonable to not be OK with either option.

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This site has information about opting out, which is completely legal, even though many TSA agents try to convince you otherwise. In other places there is a National Opt-Out Day planned for the day before Thanksgiving. It is a movement for everyone to refuse to submit to AIT on this day especially, to cause a headache for the TSA. The call is to not make it easy for the TSA to use AIT so widely by making the TSA agents uncomfortable by requring them to do a pat-down, which also takes longer and upsets their system. The site also includes great information on some of the risks of AIT and low-resolution images of what the different types of AIT pictures look like.

A low-resolution copy of an image from the lower-resolution AIT technology. The original image, as seen by TSA agents, is clearer.

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The Israeli airport security system has not been breached since 2002, and yet passengers are through it in no time. This exact same system may not work for us, but it at least shows that a non-intrusive successful security system is possible!

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Want to do something about it? Here is information about a Senate TSA Oversight Committee meeting happening TOMORROW. Contact your congressperson and/or the chairpersons and ask if recent TSA abuses are on the agenda. Tell them you are upset by these abuses and want something done.

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And finally, let’s end off-topic with a funny video. I mean, it’s funny, because if I don’t laugh I’ll want to cry.

I have no problem with people having their religion. But when you use your religion to dismiss real concerns on a national level, I have a problem with that.

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OK, some normal RTT to round it out. I currently have my puppy cuddling my feet. And my kitty cuddling my side. I have been getting lots of double cuddles recently. They’re getting more comfortable with each other…and it’s getting colder :-)

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Sending out love and support to the mommy bloggers who are under attack by the government systems that are supposed to be in place to help them out. People are being investigated, and even having their children removed, for blogging. Ridiculous. For more, see Corey’s page. In her normal, awesome manner, she has laid out the problem and given a list of ways you can help.

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I have a big black dog class on Sundays. Not intentionally, but it happens to be all big black dogs. It also happens to have all awesome people. I love classes full of people open to learning and willing to take me at my word! Many of my classes include people who seem skeptical of positive training, just waiting for their dog to not instantly become perfect so they can point to that and say, see?? It doesn’t work! To which I reply, why bother taking my class, then? But Sundays make me happy :-D

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My WordPress theme was discontinued and replaced with this (very similar) one. Now I need get to play around with it and personalize it!

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I got my coupon for 50 free Christmas cards! I need to design and order mine, now! Fun yet overwhelming, I have lots of photos to sift through! Plus, what news do I want to talk about? My biggest news is some I don’t really want to go into…

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I’ll leave it there for now. Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!

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8 Comments

Filed under Companions, Life, Random Thoughts Tuesday

8 responses to “RTT: TSA Edition

  1. I don’t fly very often and the new security measures aren’t making me want to fly at all. What about kids? Do they put them through the machine or pat them down? Not my kids!
    We have a big black dog, well..almost all black. He’s a big softie but very afraid of strangers. Our new puppy is going to look like the dog on your header. Good luck with the class.
    That a woman blogging has lost her children is chilling.
    Thanks for sticking around and commenting. I haven’t been very good at it lately, but I’m hoping that will change once I feel better.

    • I fly less often now, but still relatively often. Flying in a couple weeks. They’re sporadically using them here, random screening. I am not going through one. And yes, they absolutely make kids go through the machine or be patted down. Ridiculous, huh?

      Aaw, poor puppy, I can’t blame him, I’m afraid of strangers, too :-) The dog in the header is my dog, getting ready to run agility! I saw your new puppy, reminds me of my guy. Such great dogs!

      I hope you feel better soon!!

  2. I’ve heard that the Israeli system works very well because it relies on profiling, which would just be something else for people to get offended over. But those images are mortifying.

    Can you train MY big black dog? She’s a brat. I’ll mail her to you.

    • True, it relies on profiling, largely profiling people based on their reaction. If they look nervous, they get questioned more. Makes sense to me…but requires a staff way better trained than any TSA group.

      Haha, send her over, I’ll see what I can do ;-)

  3. Erica

    I’ll be flying in a little bit so I’ll probably have to face this soon. :-P to naked pictures but nothing is going to stop me from coming to see you.

    I love me some kitty cuddles. Athena is super cuddly. I’ll try to make sure her nails are cut before we get up there because she likes to climb. Do you have any ideas on how to make her not hate other animals?

    More to say but I will bug you later.
    <3

    • Take the groping, it’s more of a hassle for them. As a facebook friend said:
      1. You’re either going to get an electronic strip-search or hands in your groin. Your privacy will be violated either way. Why not make the TSA officer uncomfortable too? Maybe change will come by TSA employees complaining to their superiors!
      2. Those images, which are supposed to be deleted, have not always been. Do you want naked pictures of yourself on the internet?

      Hahaha, trimmed nails are good. Parker has a tree which has tons of sisal posts, and there’s a cardboard scratcher for her that Parker has never touched. Does she have any treats that she likes? Fresh chicken? I introduced Toby and Parker by brining them in the same room and mass feeding them amazing treats. They then got excited whenever they saw the other, and looked to me for treats :-)

      I don’t think I told the airline you were taking an animal…because I didn’t know at the time. Is she an ESA? Do you have the paperwork? Either way, call and tell them ASAP that you will be bringing an animal of either kind. Both require advance notification.

  4. You know they get paid about $8 an hour? I worked for the airlines. I agree they all think they’re the shiznit. I was there before and after 9/11 and it’s changed BIG TIME. My sister got the wand and it beeped where the zipper is and she dared them to check it lol. They declined. She’s….um….odd.

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