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This makes me hiccup with horror... (TW)

(TW for sexual assault)

Those full body scanners that take a photo of your naked body that the TSA said weren't being saved?

Yeah. turns out, they lied.

quelle suprise, no?

It seems more and more like we're not really going to be given a choice about our privacy being egregiously violated any more.   If I want to see my family, I have to fly.  Any other mode of transportation is not really a choice.  And as a sexual assault survivor who hates even incidental body contact from strangers, this is a nightmare that is even now, right this minute, giving me a panic attack.

I should not be electronically strip searched or groped because I need to travel a greater distance than a car can reasonably go.  At the very least, all TSA employees should be required to undergo an extensive background check and sexual assault sensitivity training before they're even allowed to put one hand on anyone.  I should not be the coerced victim of someone who gets their kick out of forcibly groping helpless people just to be able to get on an airplane.  But as the links in the second linked story clearly show, TSA doesn't give a fuck about passenger safety from sexual assault.

Because the sexual abuse of thousands of people isn't important when the terrorists might get on a plane!  Eleventy!!!!  Shut up, sheep passengers and submit to sexual humiliation!  We'll keep your naked picture on file in case of... shut up, that's why. 

Make no mistake, this is sexual abuse, even if the person does not have any PTSD issues.  If you're a survivor?  It's torture*.  And you'll be punished if you object. 

But it's all in the name of Safety!  We must be kept secure!  Even if that means violation of our personal safety and security.  After all, we catch terrorists all the time by rubbing our hands all over them and taking naked pictures that are kept on file just in case.**

Oh, what?  We haven't caught a single terrorist this way? Then why do we need this viollating policy?

Because liberty freedom Osama terrorists mosques at Ground Zero Obama Socialism SHUT UP.  That's why.

*Yes, I will freak out, even if a woman is doing it.  I cannot have a stranger touch parts of my body without a full-on breakdown.

**Because shut up, that's why.


( 44 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
I last flew in 2002.

My then almost 13yo son (who turned 13 on the trip) was required to remove his shoes and was patted down. I was in a wheel chair as, before knee surgery, I couldn't stand long enough or walk far enough to navigate an airport and the screening lines. I was made to get out of the chair, and was roughly patted down -- not a thorough pat-down, just heavy handed -- in front of the line of passengers.

I told my mother then -- it was her 80th birthday party and family reunion -- that I was not going to fly again until airlines and airports got out of their cattle truck mentality and started treating their passengers as people instead of livestock.

I haven't flown since, and don't intend to either.
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh god. I'm sick.
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
Nice. So x-ray vision is a reality, and just like all the movies implied, perverts are in possession of it. And hey, if they're keeping MY body scan, then let's add sick freaks to the description...

You know, the scanning tunnel in Total Recall was not as disturbing (granted, I haven't seen an actual image of one of these 'scans', so I don't know how detailed it is). Why can't they develop something like that, which just shows your skeleton and any foreign objects? I wouldn't care if they were looking at just my bones.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
formal TSA document They used to have a non-privacy-screened backscatter image on that page, but it seems to be gone now. the unfiltered image from a different source.
Nov. 10th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Well, _that's_ just horrifying!
Nov. 10th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
I looked this stuff up the other day when I read Jeff Goldberg's pieces about refusing the scan and insisting on being pat down in front of everyone.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
I'm not a survivor of abuse, but the idea of being either electronically strip searched or patted down like a convict still seriously squicks me out. If I'm not a felon, I shouldn't have to be subjected to being searched like a convicted criminal. I thought that the Fourth Amendment protected us from unreasonable searches without probable cause? Simply flying is NOT probable cause.

I can't even imagine what someone with PTSD must feel about this.

Edited at 2010-11-10 02:58 pm (UTC)
Nov. 10th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
"I thought that the Fourth Amendment protected us from unreasonable searches without probable cause? Simply flying is NOT probable cause."

The TSA maintains that this not "unreasonable" search, as you agree to intrusive search in the Contract of Carraige. As such, the need for probable cause is negated.

The ACLU is _dying_ to try this out in court, but it needs someone who has suffered damages as a result of this policy in order to start the legal ball rolling. So far, no one has been willing to sue the TSA over this. So far.

BTW, I agree with your sentiments entirely. I'm just explaining the legal justification behind the policy. I'm not saying I agree with it in any way, shape, or form.
Nov. 11th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
Damnation. You made me go Google Contract of Carriage. Who reads a 30 - 50 page document? Especially if it's never presented to you, but it's just assumed that you've read it. I call shenanigans.

And I hope to hellp the ACLU gets their test case soon.
Nov. 11th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
I have the same hopes...but, for whoever challenges it, the case will be a life-changing (read as: life-destroying) experience.

Suing a branch of the Federal Government over a breach of constitutional rights is akin to drinking a lake, one glass at a time. It takes a long time, inhuman perseverance in the face of hardship, tremendous expense, unflinching nerves, and a bladder of cast iron...

Seriously, though - the people who are ACTUALLY suffering damages as a result of this policy are the ones least likely to litigate. To do so would bring to light exactly what they are trying to avoid airing in public.

Contract of Carriage is one of the more successful contracts in the history of law; it's almost never challenged, because almost no one understands it, including the lawyers who drafted (and regularly update) it.
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
*more trigger warnings*
The ACLU might be closer to that lawsuit: http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/11/pnc-minnesota-rape-survivor-devastated-by-tsa-enhanced-pat-down.html

It's pretty scary, and I'm all for being part of a campaign on Congress to get the TSA and Homeland Security to change this!
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
Re: *more trigger warnings*
Don't be a part - start a campaign. Write letters to your elected representatives AT EVERY LEVEL. Write letters to the editor of your local fish-wrapper. Blog about it. Make noise. Be heard. Refuse to be silent.

At the same time, avoid hyperbole and fabrication. If you lie about something in a public forum, or exaggerate for effect, it WILL come back to haunt you.

I am already part of an orchestrated campaign to pull the fangs of the TSA and have this sort of unneccessary, intrusive, and wholly ineffective search banned. Strangely enough, Second Amendment Rights groups (of which I am a member) have a HUGE problem with the abrogation of the Fourth Amendment in the name of airport security. We see it as another step in the Federal Government's attempt to erode the constitutional rights of the citizenry, and so we fight this with as much attention and ferocity as we fight attempts to limit other enumerated rights.

There CANNOT be "too much" attention paid to this issue. A small group of unscreened, loosely regulated government employees has taken advantage of the opportunity to commit a violent felony under the guise of performing job duties. They have developed a way to punish any who fail to conform to their unreasonable and invasive demands. They regularly intimidate, harass, and abuse people who feel they have no recourse.

If police officers behaved this way, they would be charged with a number of violations of civil rights. I've been patted down by a cop determined to find something, and while it wasn't fun, it also wasn't sexual assault. after reading the descriptions of this sort of search, I can easily tell the difference.

TSA security officers are behaving like cops in totalitarian dictatorships. It's time to show them that we, as Americans, still have rights, and we refuse to give those rights up.
Nov. 11th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC)
Once upon a time, I was told that when you sign a contract that includes "waive your right to litigation" (the "nyah nyah" you can't sue me because it is in the contract clause), you are merely making it more difficult to litigate, but you CAN'T actually waive your right to sue. It would certainly make sense to me that our Constitutional rights (INCLUDING the AMENDMENTS) have just as much if not greater invioabilty (is that even a word?) as the concept of not being able to waive your right to sue.

I wonder what the FCC thinks of them doing body scans of minors, much less keeping the images....
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Since there hasn't been a court test of this policy yet, it remains a legal grey area...the Federal Governement reserves to the TSA the legal right to make security policy for air travel (and other forms of travel, too - we tend to forget that). The TSA interprets this as a blank check to create regulations (the violation of which IS a crime) that deny legal rights, protections, and due process to airline passengers. Since the TSA is empowered only to create regulations, and not laws per se, there is no judicial review or legislative oversight as regards these regulations.

The only way to challenge these regulations is to claim damages in court; i.e. the TSA is violating civil rights by engaging in intrusive and unreasonable search. That would force a court to rule on whether the "Contract of Carraige" provided enough legal ground for the denial of constutional protections. Then the appeals courts can get involved, and by the time my 5-year-old dies of old age, it'll probably be on the docket of the Supreme Court.

But first, someone has to claim damages. And that's going to be painful and difficult, and no one (to my knowlegde) has done that so far.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
I am not usually a victim of "conspiracy-theoryism" but there is a niggling little voice in the back of my brain that squeaks that this is not only a way for TPTB to re-educate the public into giving up personal privacy rights but is also a way to reinforce that we should not travel--which leads to open minds and a sense of global community--but should instead stay home and become insular and even more convinced that "we" are right and the guardians of good.

Half of my family is in Korea and my husband's family is in Germany--so we get to choose between not having relationships with our families and degradation...wow what a wonderful choice.

And btw, yes I DO have something to hide--my breasts and my genitalia and even my love handles, they are MINE to reveal or to hide.
Nov. 11th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
I think the former more than the latter - discouraging travel is a pretty subtle thing for the TSA, an organization noted for it's lack of subtlety, to try and engage in. And I think it's less about "re-educating" and more about "ramming it down our throats".
Nov. 12th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
Ah but you see the TSA is just a damn tool--too often made up of "tools"--and the one thing I most assuredly DO believe is that they in no way are making their policy without purposeful oversight--this is way too good of an opportunity to chip away at our constitutional rights.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
I would throw a fit. Perhaps if enough people are outraged, something would change.

But just like dystopian sci fi has been telling us for ages, they will scare you into signing away your rights, and that is JUST what is happening.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)

Another concern: Due to medical problems and related surgeries, twice in the last two years I have had to have drains inserted into my body with accompanying bags and tubing. I wouldn't have wanted anyone to see them. I wouldn't have wanted to explain them. I sure as h3ll wouldn't have wanted anyone touching them especially since dislodging one would have led to more surgery!

I only had these for weeks at a time but others have permanent medical attachments of one sort or another. I have seen no information on how that kind of thing is handled but based on TSA's sensitivity it does scare me!
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
I have decided to wear a big strap-on under my clothes when I fly. If they're going to take naked pictures of me I can at least make sure they have something to think about!
Nov. 10th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
About half the time when I fly, my bra winds up setting off the metal detectors. I think next time I fly I will use my uncanny ability to remove my bra without taking my shirt off while in the security line, and drop said piece of lingerie onto the X-ray belt with my shoes, purse, carryon, and laptop. Of course, that'd probably get me arrested. My excuse: "I'm just trying to help the TSA do their job, if they think my bra is an explosive device or a weapon, of course it should be closely examined!"
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
The fact that I'm not personally freaked out by this doesn't stop me from being angry on behalf of others who are. Have we no limits?

Nov. 11th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
The only limits the government recognizes are the ones we impose, through law and maintained by vigilance against erosion of those limits.

This is not an "anti-government" screed - it's an observation on the nature of government and the realtionship between it and the citizenry. The individuals who create policy are not to blame per se - it is the nature of government to limit it's citizen's right.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
I'm going to be flying in December to California for work-related training. I'll be flying back to the East Coast a day later. Hearing about these procedures is not making me happy.
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
The only time I was freaked out by potentially having a search done was when the TSA was a woman who was physically dirty and smelled unwashed. She can at me laughing and moved her hands in a way that made me feel like she was goingto enjoy herself. My Bra set off the alarm. I told her not to touch me. I turned to a male tsa and told him that he had my permission, in front of a large group of people, to do the search. He was embarassed and asked why and I told him that he looked professional and the woman looked like she was going to abuse me and like it. He was embarassed, but called over another female tsa for me.
Nov. 10th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
The genie is out of the bottle and you cannot put it back in.

I was pretty much certain this would happen as soon as the TSA started using the technology. I'm just surprised it took so long to become news. I'm thinking air travel just became infinitely less attractive and that automobile traffic accidents are going to spike as people take to the road.

On the other hand, this might be great news for the hospitality industry, and Stuckey's may make a comeback.... It might even be a great incentive to build high-speed railways (which every other major industrialized country seems to have, but for some reason we don't).
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
I'm doing more trip-planning with Amtrak.
Nov. 11th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, this is among the many reasons I chose to DRIVE to see my parents next week, rather than fly through N.L.F.I (Newark-Liberty F&*$@) International... as my mother so delicately puts it...) I'll take a 12 hour drive over a (supposedly) 2 hr. flight anytime!

Nov. 14th, 2010 06:53 am (UTC)
I don't think there's enough money in high speed rail and investment in infrastrastructure to make it a reality. The airline industry is supported by big oil and it's infinitely deep pockets. High speed rail would surely cut into at least half of the domestic air routes, I'm guessing.
Nov. 10th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
Fortunately for me, the airport I use most (going out anyway) does not have the full body scanners - yet.

Unfortunately for me, I travel for business almost every month. I cannot say to my employer I refuse to fly and expect to retain my position. And that is one many reasons people put up with this.

I am disturbed by the pat downs more than I am disturbed by the saving of body scans, mostly because I'm blissfully unaware of who may see the body scan. But the pat down? Everyone in line gets to see that and I'm personnally subjected to it. In the Middle East, if a woman needs a pat down they at least take you to a separate room. Not always reassuring, but at least not in front of everyone either.
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
You can (supposedly) request to be searched in private, but I have also been told that this greatly increases the likelihood of it being a strip search rather than a pat down.
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
I'm supposed to fly next summer (going to the US Virgin Islands for my only brother's wedding), but last night I read about the "choice" between this electronic strip search and being what is most definitely sexually assaulted. I have anxiety issues anyway and I have been in a state of panic since I read it. I have no idea how I'm going to get to the wedding, but I can't, I just cannot, allow a stranger to photograph me naked (btw, those backscatter pics can be reverse-negatived on Photoshop and give a picture that looks like a real naked picture) OR to touch my breasts or genitals. Male or female, I can't do it. I starting shaking and feeling nauseated just thinking about it. Not crying whenever I think or talk about it is difficult.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Note to self: forget to bathe for a week before flying.
Nov. 11th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Heh... I'd probably be the one going "Wow, my period is being a *wicked* bitch today......"
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
*shudder!* Makes me glad my travels to the US in the past few years have been via bus or car! 'course, the last time I travelled by plane was during the liquid scare, so I'm really not all that surprised at this news- in addition to the taking off of shoes at the time, I had my carryon bag searched (I was randomly picked apparently, though they were nice about it), but they didn't bother to ask me about my then-apartment keys which had an electric circuit in them! Previous to the liquid scare, I was always asked about them, including several days previously when I travelled to the conference. Yeesh.
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
permision to post to FB
I would like to post this to my FB, but not by using the button LJ provided.
I want my family (in another state) to know I will not stand for being treated like this.
My local airport is installing them and the airport I would have to go to to visit them already has the scanners.

As a survivor, just no!
Nov. 10th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
And unfortunately, if you don't want to go through the scanners, they really don't give you the option for a same sex person doing the search.

But of course, it's all for our safety. If we don't allow the scanners or men to grope us (out in public to humiliate us as well) we let THEM* win!

I haven't flown since 2006. I'm not about to now. If I can't get there by my own car or Greyhound, I'm not getting there. I'm lucky in that none of my family is across seas, but yeah. I had hoped one day to go back to Hawaii, as an adult. Or to England and Ireland and Scotland. I just don't see that happening at all. Not as long as this idiocy is going on.

*As you did, exchange terrorist, Osama, whatever for "them".
Nov. 10th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC)
And this is one of the reasons that -- even though I might be able to get home faster if I lived farther away (by flying) -- I will not take a job wherein I have to fly to get home.

400 miles driveway-t0-driveway sucks, but I'm not doing this -- and I don't have any "issues" with it like many people. (Please understand, I'm not putting issues in quotes because I don't believe that their problem are real -- I KNOW that they are -- I don't know how to state it. I'm against it because it's invasive and demoralizing. It's not triggery for me like it is for some. That's what I'm trying to say).
Nov. 11th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
:( and angry. Really.

I've been sick of the safety charade for years, and it isn't getting any more bearable.
Nov. 11th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
The last time I traveled I was "randomly selected" by a ticketing agent for increased screening. I asked her to check me in to my connection even though my plane was delayed because I really needed to get back in time to start my new job and she decided to make my life suck. She didn't check me into the connecting flight, which I made it to in time, so I had to stand there and watch my plane, and my job, pull away from the gate.

The irony of the increased search was that this woman sent me for a pat down while I was wearing a rash guard. To anyone who doesn't know what a rash guard is, it's a piece of clothing for surfing made out of spandex and so thin that you can see every little goose bump on my nipples. I looked at the TSA agent and asked "really?", she laughed, touched my bicep and waved me through. Just telling this to point out that sometimes your TSA agents are the good guys and it's the ticketing agent that is the control-abusing jackass.

I'm tempted to assemble a group of people willing to go through airport security naked to point out how ridiculous this technology and invasion of privacy is.
Nov. 11th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
I remember too that in Europe people thought American security was ridiculous, even the people doing the security checks there mentioned it. I don't know exactly what their regulations were, I was packed to go through the US anyway, but I noticed people got to keep their shoes on in most cases. They also caught more. A friend forgot she had a small pocketknife in her backpack, Europe caught it but US didn't. It seems like our systems here are more about embarrassment for passengers and a power trip for TSA than they are about any actual security.
Nov. 12th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
Having seen this, I will have to rethink flying for a while. Of course, I was pretty boggled when I flew with my 3-month old son and he had to be patted down after I carried him through the metal detector. After all, he was wrapped up in a blanket and you never know what he might have been transporting. *eyeroll*
( 44 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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