I am writing to add mine to the voices of protest in response to the newly revamped TSA security model at airports. The new backscatter scans are possibly a health hazard, mostly ineffective, and definitely a gross violation of privacy and personal dignity. The "enhanced" pat-downs are no better, and there have already been multiple reports of agents who have taken their responsibilities way too far. All this in the name of "security," when someone determined enough could foil either of these measures without much difficulty. To my knowledge, we have caught exactly zero terrorists with them, and have inconvenienced, humiliated, and violated the rights of thousands of people who just wanted to fly from one city to another.
Did I mention "rights?" Why, yes, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution has something to say in this matter. I've inscribed it here in its entirety:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Can anyone kindly explain how buying a plane ticket and showing up at an airport constitutes "probable cause" of a crime being committed? Don't bother; you can't, because it's not. Almost all of TSA's agenda has been ridiculous, ineffective, and intrusive- but now, agents of the federal government may photograph passengers unclothed or touch them in ways that would make any reasonable person uncomfortable. This absolutely constitutes "unreasonable search." I know most of you, when you fly, are exempt from the indignities foisted on the little people, but please try to imagine how you would feel if you had to submit to one of these measures. Do you risk the dose of radiation, and the pictures of your naked body that can be stored indefinitely and transmitted elsewhere (there are already several such pictures circulating on the Internet)? Or, do you allow a complete stranger to cup your breasts or testicles, and, in some cases, stick their hand down the waistband of your pants? Now, which option do you choose for the small, trusting children in your custody?
So unfortunate is the current state of and regard toward civil liberties in this country, and so all-powerful is the profit motive, that I fear my next statement will move you more than anything written above. Until we transition to a model of airport security that is efficient, fast, effective, and does not begin by presuming the guilt of every ticket holder, I promise I will not be flying again. Neither will my husband, my sister, or anyone else I can talk to. I hope a hit to the wallet will mean something to somebody, since cries of "Security!" and "9/11!" have gained enough potency to crush the sacredness of individual liberty that once defined our nation.
If you've read this far, I sincerely thank you for your attention, and urge you to inject whatever rationality you can back into the screening process.
Good links for those interested...