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Complaints rise over body scanners


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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano [1] on Monday vehemently defended her department's use of advanced imaging technologies and pat-downs at U.S. airports, saying to do otherwise would be "irresponsible" and that passengers who don't like it can "travel by some other means."

 

The metal detectors that "everybody's used to" went into place in the 1960s, and, "It would be unwise to say the least ... not to evolve our technology to match the changing threat environment that we inhabit," she said.

 

This comes two days after a California wan was forced to leave San Diego's airport for refusing to let security officers use full-body imaging or pat him down, telling them, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." At the same time, critics have launched an "opt out" campaign online, calling on those traveling the day before Thanksgiving to refuse full-body imaging, which would force Transportation Security Administration [2] agents across the country to give pat-downs and, critics say, would let Americans "see for themselves how the TSA treats law-abiding citizens."

 

"The government should not have the ability to virtually strip search anyone it wants without cause," says the website OptOutDay.com. "We do not believe the government has a right to see you naked or aggressively touch you just because you bought an airline ticket."

 

Napolitano, however, said she "really regrets" such calls for an "Opt Out Day," insisting such full-body scanners "in no way resemble electronic strip searches" and travelers should "be realistic and use our common sense."

 

"This is just the next generation of travel security," she told reporters during a press conference at Ronald Reagan [3] National Airport outside Washington. She said authorities have looked closely at "how can we best protect security and protect privacy, and keep those passenger lines moving -- all of which are values that have been expressed to us by the traveling public."

 

Specifically, she said, people scanned by imaging technologies with no "pings" are "done" in "about the same" time as those who go through metal detectors. Their images are only seen "in a private area, away from the gate," and those images are "neither retained nor transmitted," Napolitano said. But, if there is "a ping," that "tells an officer where they need to search," and such officers are "really the last line of protection we have for the aircraft," according to Napolitano.

 

"We built privacy screens into the machines, we built privacy concerns into the procedures when they were deployed," she said. "The [advanced imaging] machines have been in development for quite a long time, since before [the failed Christmas Day attack] . All we have done now is to accelerate their deployment. Why did we do that? Because our evaluation of the intelligence and risk indicated that we needed to move more quickly into the non-metal environment, to get [potentially dangerous] liquids and powders and gels off of aircraft."

 

Those who "refuse" advanced imaging machines "can go to a separate area for a same-gender pat-down, which is conducted as a law enforcement pat-down should be, in a very professional way," according to Napolitano.

 

Critics of the latest procedures, though, have been vocal, and online video of the California man's encounter at San Diego International Airport has been viewed by hundreds of thousands. 31-year-old John Tyner recorded much of the incident on his cell phone.

 

When he arrived at the airport early Saturday morning, Tyner had already read extensively about full-body imaging machines and "the possible harm to health as well as the vivid pictures they create of people's naked bodies," according to a posting on his blog. So when TSA agents directed him to one such machine, Tyner refused, prompting one TSA agent to tell him he would have to undergo a pat-down.

 

"After he described the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin," Tyner wrote on his blog within hours of the incident. "Before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, 'If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested.'"

 

When another TSA employee intervened, "I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight," according to Tyner, who said he feels the government took away his rights after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

 

Authorities subsequently told Tyner he couldn't leave the airport without completing the screening because he "may have an incendiary device and whether or not that was true needed to be determined," Tyner wrote on his blog. And, authorities told him, he could face a civil lawsuit and a $10,000 if he left before the screening was completed, according to Tyner.

 

As for "Opt Out Day," organizers say many Americans "only fly around the holidays and may not be aware of the security changes."

 

"Once people are made aware of what is happening, they may have reservations about the new virtual strip searches and enhanced pat downs - especially for their children or spouse or other loved one," OptOutDay.com says. "This country needs security measures in place that not only keep us safe but also do not grossly violate privacy or constitute an unreasonable search, like the current protocol."

 

On Monday, Napolitano said TSA and her department are acting responsibly "with good intelligence, with risk-based analysis," and with partners around the world, but DHS can't be the only ones working to protect citizens.

 

"Look, everybody has a role to play," she said. "And if people don't want to play that role, if they want to travel by some other means, of course that's their right. This is the United States, of course they have that right. But again, this is all being done as a process to make sure that the traveling public is safe."

 

She said efforts by websites like OptOutDay.com amount to saying, "Well, we don't want to be a part of that. We don't want to play a part of security."

 

Napolitano was joined at Reagan National Airport by TSA Administrator John Pistole and other top law enforcement officials as they announced expansion of the "See Something, Say Something" campaign, which urges travelers to notify authorities of any suspicious activity they may see.

 

"Look, we know the threats are real," said Pistole, who spent more than 27 years at the FBI before joining Napolitano's department as head of TSA. "Whether it's 19 individuals with box cutters, an individual with a shoe bomb, whether it's individuals with explosives in liquids, whether it's an individual with explosives in his underwear, or cargo threats, we know that the threats are real. So what steps can we prudently take to make sure that the traveling public is safe?"

 

Asked about concerns over exposure to radiation from advanced imaging technologies, Napolitano said such concerns are unfounded, insisting the effects of full-body imaging machines "have been examined six ways to Sunday" by the entities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Science and Standards Association. They found that the radiation involved is "almost immeasurable, it is so small," she said, adding that the exposure is equivalent to "about two minutes worth of being" on a plane, where passengers are routinely exposed to "miniscule" amounts of radiation.

 

Nevertheless, Napolitano said, if "adjustments" to the latest procedures need to be made, "We have an open ear, we will listen."

 

 

 

http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/11/15/dhs-chief-says-abandoning-airport-scanners-would-be-irresponsible-ca-man-warns-tsa-not-to

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I for one don't get it. Really. Everyone knows thaat these scanners will xray you. I understand how some people like this guy says, ' my personal privacy, etc.' But to me whats more important, 20 - 30 seconds being scanned or and this is not fiction anymore, a nut job with a bomb sits next to you and blows the plane? If you find that the screeners or the airport is posting your pictures on playboy.com, I'm all for suing them until the cows come home. Burt when they are just doing their job and their job is to help you be as safe as possible while you are flying, then again I ask what is the problem? If you have nothing to hide, then the 20 - 30 seconds likely means that you arrive at your destination safely.

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The Mason

I for one don't get it. Really. Everyone knows thaat these scanners will xray you. I understand how some people like this guy says, ' my personal privacy, etc.' But to me whats more important, 20 - 30 seconds being scanned or and this is not fiction anymore, a nut job with a bomb sits next to you and blows the plane? If you find that the screeners or the airport is posting your pictures on playboy.com, I'm all for suing them until the cows come home. Burt when they are just doing their job and their job is to help you be as safe as possible while you are flying, then again I ask what is the problem? If you have nothing to hide, then the 20 - 30 seconds likely means that you arrive at your destination safely.

 

What if it turns out the x-ray scanners really are bad for you and they just don't know it yet? I'll opt out of the x-ray scanner due to health, not privacy, concerns. Back when x-ray technology first came out, they used to have flurooscope machines in every shoe store in America. They didn't know that they were exposing people to harmful levels of radiation. They expsed people for decades because they didn't know any better. I don't think the govt. should encourage people to get dosed with radiation for security purposes.

 

Also, what will the govt. do if a car bomb goes off somewhere? Or how about when a suicide bomber walks into a crowded shopping mall and blows themselves up? Will we then say that anyone walking or driving must be searched in order to safeguard our society?

 

I'm very tired of the govt. taking away our privacy in order to promote the illusion of security.

Edited by The Mason
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Mr. Mike

"Don't touch my JUNK" is going to become the NEXT national bumper sticker, and for good DAMN reason. The TSA goons , with their low-level brain activity, have gone TOO far!!!! Napolitano needs to be smacked upside the head for her stupidity, and then jailed!

 

As it stands, anyone over 12yrs of age can be poked and prodded in EVERY crack and crevice by some ham-handed neanderthal, with a CHEAP uniform, a badge ,AND a sixth grade education. ( and all the while telling you how you will be violated............politely) Meanwhile, parents have to watch this shit/abuse, and await THEIR turn.

 

Get rid of the TSA, employ the Israeli security model or place airline security completely upon the air carriers themselves. "You take every measure to protect your cattle/passengers or YOU ARE OUT! OF BUSINESS" :(

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I for one don't get it. Really. Everyone knows thaat these scanners will xray you. I understand how some people like this guy says, ' my personal privacy, etc.' But to me whats more important, 20 - 30 seconds being scanned or and this is not fiction anymore, a nut job with a bomb sits next to you and blows the plane? If you find that the screeners or the airport is posting your pictures on playboy.com, I'm all for suing them until the cows come home. Burt when they are just doing their job and their job is to help you be as safe as possible while you are flying, then again I ask what is the problem? If you have nothing to hide, then the 20 - 30 seconds likely means that you arrive at your destination safely.

 

 

I remember seeing a picture of Hitler speaking to a person with the star of david on his arm in one of these threads a while back and the caption read "I am from the goverment and I am here to help you". Those of us who are willing to sacrifice their freedoms for a little temporary security deserve neither freedom or security. Can't you see where this is all headed? Just think about that old story of the frog in the water as the heat is turned up. If you threw him in boiling water he would jump out, but put him in water and slowly raise the temperature, he will eventurally cook. I still can not get that image out of my mind when airport security stripsearched a Medal of Honor recipient from WW2.

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I for one don't get it. Really. Everyone knows thaat these scanners will xray you. I understand how some people like this guy says, ' my personal privacy, etc.' But to me whats more important, 20 - 30 seconds being scanned or and this is not fiction anymore, a nut job with a bomb sits next to you and blows the plane? If you find that the screeners or the airport is posting your pictures on playboy.com, I'm all for suing them until the cows come home. Burt when they are just doing their job and their job is to help you be as safe as possible while you are flying, then again I ask what is the problem? If you have nothing to hide, then the 20 - 30 seconds likely means that you arrive at your destination safely.

 

You may not be uncomfortable with some low-paid government goon voyeuring your package, but how would your wife feel about them seeing hers? Or your teenage daughter with hers?

 

If some wannabe terrorist gets caught with a chunk of plastique up his butt, are you gonna consent to a mandatory cavity search in the name of security? Where do you draw the line?

 

In some sense, the terrorists have won. We are losing our freedoms.

Edited by Mailman
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I don't mind being scanned...

 

I don't mind being probed.

 

If I had my way we'd all fly in our underwear. And the muslims would have their own airline where they flew nude, in the cargo hold. They'd even have frequent flyer bombings.

 

What I have a major problem with is TSA agents that take it upon themselves to rough up innocent citizens that are shy to PUNISH them for not submitting to the scan. They can make a big scene, are mean, threatening and excessively aggressive to discourage people from wasting their valuable time. They can do whatever they want with impunity. Call them on their behavior and you'll be detained, miss your flight, maybe put on a no-fly list. Reminds me of Nazi Germany.

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udonthani

interestingly, the Israelis haven't joined the queue to buy these machines. They remain skeptical as to their usefulness. They rely on profiling at their airports (and every other airport in the world where El Al flies).

 

Full-body scanners are waste of money, Israeli expert says

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Full+body+scanners+waste+money+Israeli+expert+says/2941610/story.html

 

I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

 

"That's why we haven't put them in our airport," Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.

 

Sela, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority and a 30-year veteran in airport security and defence technology, helped design the security at Ben Gurion.

 

He told MPs on the House of Commons transport committee via video conference from Kfar Vradim, Israel, that he wouldn't reveal how to get past the virtual strip-search scanners, but said he can provide briefings to officials with security clearance.

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The terrorists are the government. They have won. Enjoy your fascist police state. I'll never fly again.

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Mailman;

 

You are correct the terrorists have won in that they have forced us to live like this. And this is not going to change. Am I happy with my wife going through this? No I am not. Am I happy that my mother has to go through this? No I am not. But if it means that they will fly a bit safer, it increases the chance we catch one of these bad guys even a little bit, that helps because they only have to be right once. But we have to be right all the time. This is not is not perfect but i helps.

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RetiredNavyGuy

Those of you who want the ultimate security, fine. Get ready for everyone to fly naked. For everyone else, you have to draw the line somewhere. If the Isreali security forces can do it without full body scanners AND fool the scanners on top of that, then what is wrong with our government.

 

They are:

1) Lazy

2) Inept

3) Cheap

4) Focused on subverting individual rights and gaining absolute control of Americans

5) All of the above

 

Personally, I believe choice 5 is the right choice, although 4 isn't bad either. Some have argued in other threads, that America is more free than the Philippines. Even if that's true now, it won't be for long if citizens don't start standing up, being counted, saying enough is enough, and reminding ALL government officials that they are supposed to work for us - not the other way around.

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Mr. Mike

I for one don't get it. Really. Everyone knows thaat these scanners will xray you. I understand how some people like this guy says, ' my personal privacy, etc.' But to me whats more important, 20 - 30 seconds being scanned or and this is not fiction anymore, a nut job with a bomb sits next to you and blows the plane? If you find that the screeners or the airport is posting your pictures on playboy.com, I'm all for suing them until the cows come home. Burt when they are just doing their job and their job is to help you be as safe as possible while you are flying, then again I ask what is the problem? If you have nothing to hide, then the 20 - 30 seconds likely means that you arrive at your destination safely.

 

You may not be uncomfortable with some low-paid government goon voyeuring your package, but how would your wife feel about them seeing hers? Or your teenage daughter with hers?

 

If some wannabe terrorist gets caught with a chunk of plastique up his butt, are you gonna consent to a mandatory cavity search in the name of security? Where do you draw the line?

 

In some sense, the terrorists have won. We are losing our freedoms.

:( I really hate to say this , but the US population (for the most part) have become SHEEP and are easily influenced,,they depend upon and BELIEVE (God help us),,,everything the government tells them! ..............please let me strip naked so I may board the aircraft!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,kiss my ass,,,it will never happen!!!! Nuff said

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:( I really hate to say this , but the US population (for the most part) have become SHEEP and are easily influenced,,they depend upon and BELIEVE (God help us),,,everything the government tells them! ..............please let me strip naked so I may board the aircraft!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,kiss my ass,,,it will never happen!!!! Nuff said

 

Probably due to the gang related stuff they flaunted in the 80's and getting the public to accept metal detectors, CCTV's, and armed security in publics schools thus desensitizing the next generations to the coming totalitarian control.

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Sorry guys, stripping naked, while it could be fun (depending who you're sitting next to and how much leg room you have) won't really help.

 

How long before a terrorist puts the bomb up his ass... or in her womb, or surgically implanted to look like a normal prosthetic?

 

It takes too long and would cost too much to have real security (like the Israelis) the airlines would make less profit, and don't forget... big business is who the government REALLY works for.

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RNG;

 

Right on. The thing with the Israelis is that they take security serious all the time. Everyone else, the States, the RP, UK, etc. only after there is a disaster will they do something. That said, these scanners are not fun, but if you have nothing to hide and its raises the chance we catch one of these SOBs before they kill anyone they so be it.

 

 

Those of you who want the ultimate security, fine. Get ready for everyone to fly naked. For everyone else, you have to draw the line somewhere. If the Isreali security forces can do it without full body scanners AND fool the scanners on top of that, then what is wrong with our government.

 

They are:

1) Lazy

2) Inept

3) Cheap

4) Focused on subverting individual rights and gaining absolute control of Americans

5) All of the above

 

Personally, I believe choice 5 is the right choice, although 4 isn't bad either. Some have argued in other threads, that America is more free than the Philippines. Even if that's true now, it won't be for long if citizens don't start standing up, being counted, saying enough is enough, and reminding ALL government officials that they are supposed to work for us - not the other way around.

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