Tag Archives: naked

Surprise! Rapiscan: A little more nekked than they said we were

Kaye Beach

Nov. 15, 2012

Wired.com reports today

Maker of Airport Body Scanners Suspected of Falsifying Software Tests

A company that supplies controversial passenger-screening machines for U.S. airports is under suspicion for possibly manipulating tests on privacy software designed to prevent the machines from producing graphic body images.

The Transportation Security Administration sent a letter Nov. 9 to the parent company of Rapiscan, the maker of backscatter machines, requesting information about the testing of the software to determine if there was malfeasance.

. . .The vendor has denied any wrongdoing.

“At no time did Rapiscan falsify test data or any information related to this technology or the test,” Peter Kant, an executive vice president with the company, told Bloomberg.

As I opined last fall when OKC’s Will Rogers Airport announced that they were getting the naked body scanners but assured the public that these scanners wire the new and improved not-so-naked, naked body scanners, “Really, do official assurances of anything mean anything after so many of them have turned out to be lies?”

Lies, are otherwise known in the industry as “calculation errors”

It’s not the first time Rapiscan has been at the center of testing problems with the machines. The company previously had problems with a “calculation error” in safety tests that showed the machines were emitting radiation levels that were 10 times higher than expected. Read more

One bit of good news for those who fly out of Will Rogers Airport and don’t mind public nudity of the purported cartoonized variety or the possible radiation risks in exchange for a little security theater, Will Rogers uses the L3 software to soften your naughty bits, not Rapiscan.  L3 has not been caught ‘miscalculating’, at least not yet.

Of course a recent poll showed that a third of those questioned would be willing to submit to a TSA body cavity search so this is all probably much ado about nothing anyways.

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Dept. of Homeland Security Releases 2012 Privacy Report

Kaye Beach

September 28, 2012

Th report touts small improvements but bigger problems are revealed.

EPIC the Electronic Privacy Information Center reports;

The Department of Homeland Security has released its 2012 Privacy
Office Annual Report to Congress. The report details the expansion of
the National Counterterrorism Center’s five-year retention policy for
records on US Persons, the agency’s social media-monitoring initiatives,
and privacy training for fusion centers personnel; however, it does not
discuss several new DHS-funded initiatives, including the Future
Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, a “Minority-Report”-like
proposal for “pre-crime” detection. Also, according to the report the
Transportation Security Administration has still failed to adopt
privacy safeguards for airport body scanners.

Two DHS Privacy Office investigations led to the finding of agency non-
compliance. One of those investigations involved DHS’s use of social
media monitoring. EPIC filed a FOIA request on DHS’ social media
monitoring program in April 2011, then filed suit against DHS in
December 2011 in order to force the disclosure of documents related
to the monitoring program, which searched for both suspicious
“keywords” and dissent against government programs. Earlier in 2012,
Congress held an oversight hearing on the DHS social media monitoring
program, and cited the documents obtained by EPIC.

While the report acknowledges agency shortcomings, it also touts DHS
privacy and transparency training as well public engagement through
speaker series, a redesigned FOIA site, and quarterly privacy advocacy
meetings. Significantly, the report fails to address the lack of timely
notice-and-comment rulemakings, particularly the TSA’s lack of
rulemaking on body scanners, ordered by a court in 2011 in response to
a suit brought by EPIC.

The report discusses DHS’ increased use of Privacy Compliance Reviews
(PCRs), which cover programs including cybersecurity, information
sharing, and the use of social media. The DHS Privacy Office used these
reviews to fail eight of its own agency programs for their lack of
privacy compliance documentation. None of the eight programs are
identified in the report, nor are any details of their lack of privacy
compliance.

The DHS Chief Privacy Office must present annual reports to Congress
and is also required by law to ensure that new agency programs do not
diminish privacy in the US.

DHS Privacy Office:  2012  Annual Report to Congress (Sept. 2012)
http://epic.org/redirect/092812-dhs-2012-privacy-report.html

EPIC:  DHS Privacy Office
http://epic.org/privacy/dhs-cpo.html

EPIC:  Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST)
http://epic.org/privacy/fastproject/

EPIC:  Fusion Centers
http://epic.org/privacy/fusion/

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Social Media Monitoring)
http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program)
http://epic.org/redirect/092812-epicvdhs-scannersuspend.html

 

Volume 19.18                                       September 28, 2012
———————————————————————–

Published by the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, D.C.

http://www.epic.org/alert/epic_alert_19.18.html

“Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.”
http://epic.org/donate

Naked Body Scanners-TSA Thinks We Should Be Seen But NOT heard!

Kaye Beach

July 28, 2012

I rarely ask people to sign petitions but I am making an exception for this one-please sign it!

An online petition posted in “We the People” demands that the White House “Require the Transportation Security Administration to Follow the Law!”

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-transportation-security-administration-follow-law/tffCTwDd

Remember the naked body scanners that were forced upon us by the Department of Homeland Security through the TSA a couple years ago?

The Naked Truth about TSA’s Naked Body Scanners

I remember it well because when I attempted to provide some “public input” about the devices, this is the reaction I got from a TSA agent-

TSA: “I thought maybe you might be representing a terrorist organization”

Well, EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has been fighting DHS and the TSA tooth and nail on this issue ever since.  They have made an impact.

On July 15, 2011, in EPIC v. DHS, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that the Transportation Security Administration violated federal law when it refused to conduct a public rulemaking over the use of whole body imaging scanners to screen airport passengers.

(Read more about EPIC’s battle against the naked body scanners http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/ )

In brief, the TSA has been found in federal court to be in violation of federal law because they did not include any opportunity for public input in the rulemaking process  regarding the use of these devices.

The court noted that “few if any regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so many members of the public,” and then ordered the Department of Homeland Security to fix the problem.

Here we are over a year later and DHS has done nothing!  They have yet to publish their rules and they have not begun to accept public comments nor made any announcement to indicate that they intend to do so.

Please sign the public petition to help push the TSA to do what it was ordered to do and what it should have done in the first place.  The public deserves to have their voice heard. 

We are down to the wire on this petition and lack only 9,000 signatures. Yes, you have to register to sign this and that is a pain but please take the time to register so that you can sign.  We have just 2 weeks left to get the remaining signatures needed!

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/require-transportation-security-administration-follow-law/tffCTwDd

Please share this information with your friends on Facebook, twitter and through email.

Thanks!

DHS Ordered to Obtain Public Input on Naked Body Scanners, Refuses to Comply

Kaye Beach

Dec 23, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security was court ordered to gain public comment on the body scanners five months ago but to date, has not complied.  EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Foundation filed papers today, for the second time, seeking compliance from the DHS.

The DHS in this matter as well as others, seems to think that the agency is above the  laws of this country.

 

From the Electronic Privacy Coalition newsletter;

=======================================================================
[1] EPIC to Court: Force DHS Compliance with Public Comment Mandate
=======================================================================

EPIC has filed papers [on Dec 32, 2011] in federal court, seeking, for the second time this year, to enforce an order that requires the Department of Homeland
Security to begin a rule making on the controversial airport body
scanner program.

As a result of EPIC’s ongoing lawsuit against DHS,

  • the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency violated federal law by installing body scanners as primary screening devices without first soliciting public comment.
  • The Court also held that travelers had a right to opt-out of the airport body scanners.

More than two years ago EPIC and a coalition of civil liberties and
civil rights organizations petitioned Secretary of Homeland Security
Janet Napolitano to provide the public the opportunity to comment on
the program.

Through Freedom of Information Act litigation, EPIC had already obtained
hundreds of traveler complaints, including instances when travelers
said that TSA officials retaliated against them for choosing not to go
through the body scanners. Privacy and traveler advocates, health
and security experts, as well as airline pilots have also raised questions
about the screening procedures.

In July 2011, the Court ordered Homeland Security to “promptly” seek
public comment, but the agency has failed to respond. The Court’s
decision held that “the TSA has not justified its failure to initiate
notice-and-comment rulemaking before announcing it would use AIT
scanners for primary screening.”

The appeals court’s decision states that “None of the exceptions urged
by the TSA justifies its failure to give notice of and receive comment
upon such a rule, which is legislative and not merely interpretive,
procedural, or a general statement of policy”, adding that “Few, if any
regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so manymembers of the public.”

In the motion to enforce, EPIC highlighted a recent report by
ProPublica, which described the DHS’s failure to take account of
radiation risks posed by body scanners. EPIC also noted the European
Commission’s recent decision to limit body scanner use within the EU.
The European Commission specifically banned the use of backscatter
x-ray devices in the European airports because of public health
concerns. Meanwhile, DHS is lobbying Congress to increase the use of
these devices in the United States.

EPIC:  Motion to Enforce Order on DHS (Dec. 23, 2011)
http://epic.org/redirect/122311-epicvdhs-motion-to-enforce.html

EPIC v. DHS:  Full Body Scanner Radiation Risks
http://epic.org/redirect/110911-epicvdhs-radiation.html

DC Circuit Court:  Opinion on EPIC v. DHS (July 15, 2011)
http://epic.org/redirect/071911_circuit_opinion_epicvdhs.html

ProPublica:  Series on Body Scanner Radiation
http://www.propublica.org/series/body-scanners

European Commission:  Press Release on EU Scanners (Nov. 14, 2011)
http://epic.org/redirect/112911-eu-scanner-release.html

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanners)
http://www.epic.org/redirect/031111EPICvDHS.html

Will Rogers World Airport to Install Body Scanners

Kaye Beach

Sept. 25, 2011

The Will Rogers World Airport is expecting to receive it’s naked body scanners soon.

Body scanners produce detailed, three-dimensional images of individuals. Security experts have described whole body scanners as the equivalent of “a physically invasive strip-search.” EPIC

From the Journal Record Sept 12, 2011;

. . . Tulsa was one of the first airports to receive the new technology at the time. Higgins confirmed that some travelers expressed concern or outrage that strangers with the federal government were invading their privacy by studying their bodies. Read more

The scanners are expected to be installed at Will Rogers World Airport before the end of the year.  But these scanners,  we are assured, will be less naked-izing that previous versions.

Promises, promises

In 2009 the TSA assured us that

“these technologies cannot save, print, or transmit images.”

And those assertions have proved to be patently, provably FALSE.

Information obtained through a FOIA request showed that the machines are able to store and transmit the raw images by design and furthermore this capability was required by the TSA.

Not only are the images capable of being kept,we know they have been.

Leaked Images Belie Our Implicit Pact with TSA  Gizmodo’s Joel Johnson writes, “At the heart of the controversy over ‘body scanners’ is a promise: The images of our naked bodies will never be public.” But the Florida marshals who saved 35,000 of those images, suggesting that promise may be a lie. “That we can see these images today almost guarantees that others will be seeing similar images in the future. If you’re lucky, it might even be a picture of you or your family.”

Really, do official assurances of anything mean anything after so many of them have turned out to be lies?

So, rather than your nekked body in ll it’s bald and bluish glory, the new software, we are told, will generate an image of a fully clothed, generic, genderless cartoon figure.
Will Rogers World Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney says she expects that the new and improved body scanners will be accepted by the public. (Read more from the Journal Record published Sept. 19, 2011)

Modesty aside, there are health, safety and questions about effectiveness surrounding the devices that have not yet been satisfactorily answered.

EPIC v. DHS Lawsuit — FOIA’d Documents Raise New Questions About Body Scanner Radiation Risks : In a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, EPIC has just obtained documents concerning the radiation risks of TSA’s airport body scanner program. The documents include agency emails, radiation studies, memoranda of agreement concerning radiation testing programs, and results of some radiation tests. One document set reveals that even after TSA employees identified cancer clusters possibly linked to radiation exposure, the agency failed to issue employees dosimeters – safety devices that could assess the level of radiation exposure. Another document indicates that the DHS mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, stating that NIST “affirmed the safety” of full body scanners. The documents obtained by EPIC reveal that NIST disputed that characterization and stated that the Institute did not, in fact, test the devices. Also, a Johns Hopkins University study revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the “General Public Dose Limit.” For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security – Full Body Scanner Radiation Risks and EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program). (Jun. 24, 2011)

Some countries have rejected the machines entirely and even scoffed at the machines, saying that they simply aren’t worth it.

For example;

Full-Body Scanners Don’t Work, Israeli Security Expert Says

The whole program has been plagued with problems from start to finish.

Federal Appeals Court: TSA Violated Federal Law, Must Take Public Comment on Body Scanners: As a result of a lawsuit brought by EPIC, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the TSA violated federal law when it installed body scanners in airports for primary screening across the country without first soliciting public comment. The Administrative Procedure Act requires federal agencies to provide notice and opportunity for comment when implementing a rule that affects the rights of the public. Writing for a unanimous court, Judge Ginsburg found there was “no justification for having failed to conduct a notice-and-comment rulemaking,” and said, “few if any regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so many members of the public.”

EPIC’s brief alleged that airport body scanners are “invasive, unlawful, and ineffective,” and that the TSA’s deployment of the devices for primary screening violated the U.S. Constitution and several federal statutes. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. DHS and EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology. Press Release. (Jul. 15, 2011)

So the TSA unlawfully implemented the body scanning program, lied to the public about the capabilities of the machines, lied about safety testing, may be overstating the detection abilities but now we are supposed to be pacified by some supposed “privacy enhancing” software?

Oh, and did I mention the mobile naked body scanners that may be coming to a mall or highway near you?

DHS Refuses to Disclose Details of Mobile Body Scanner Technology: New documents released by the Department of Homeland Security to EPIC indicate the the agency continues to hide details about body scanners. In November 2010, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency regarding the deployment of body scanners in surface transit and street-roving vans. In its latest document release the agency supplied several papers that were completely redacted. As a result of the agency’s failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, EPIC has filed suit to force disclosure of the records. For more information, see: EPIC: Body Scanner Technology and EPIC: FOIA Note #20. (Aug. 17, 2011)

Digital nudity and health risks are what we are asked to trade for dubious security value but the nekked scanners do make some people smile..

SIEGEL: In your current role as a consultant, do you have an interest in body scanners?

Mr. CHERTOFF: You know, I, to be – we consult with all kinds of firms including firms that you manufacture body scanners.

SIEGEL: You do have some interest in…

Mr. CHERTOFF: Correct. That’s correct.

SIEGEL: …in more sales of body scanners.

Mr. CHERTOFF: As well as a lot of other security measures.

NPR Dec. 29, 2009

Body Scanners Create Profits for Chertoff and Others

No, No- A thousand times NO! 

There is no satisfying the governments need to watch, track, scrutinize and control every facet of our lives.  Whatever we give up, they will always want more.

If you have an opinion on this you should share it with Will Rogers World Airport.

Karen Carney  405.316.3262 

Email:  karen.carney@okc.gov


D.C. Circuit on the New “Advanced Imaging Technology” Airport Searches

Kaye Beach

July 16, 2011

Analysis by Orin Kerr from the Volokh Conspiracy

The new airport screening measures involving millimeter wave technology and backscatter technology — together with the opt-out of a pat-down — have received a great deal of public attention. Back when the new measures were first widely introduced, I blogged about why a Fourth Amendment challenge to the new practices was an uphill battle. Today, the DC Circuit handed down an opinion in EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security holding that the new practices comply with the Fourth Amendment. I believe this is the first clear court ruling on the question, and it’s certainly the first from a federal court of appeals.

Read More

Read EPIC’s review (it’s a bit more encouraging)

TSA caught in more radiation lies

From the Douglass Report;

TSA claims about the safety of its radioactive full-body scanners are falling apart — and now, even the agency’s pals are backing away.

Here’s the deal: In a desperate attempt to prove those scanners are safe, the TSA named all sorts of agencies and organizations that it claimed was helping to test and maintain them.

Just one little problem: That was news to all those organizations and agencies.

Even the FDA wants nothing to do with this one — a spokesman told AOL News that, despite TSA claims to the contrary, it has no role in testing the machines or inspecting the manufacturer.

They couldn’t even do it even if they wanted to — since the machines aren’t medical devices, they’re outside of the FDA’s legal authority.

More

Getting Nekked For Nuttin

_______________________

The story (from Europe) says:

Although use of the scanners remains optional, every passenger must now also be patted down and pass through a metal detector, whether or not they have been scanned.

It’s optional and you get a pat down and have to go through the metal detector either way-Why would you go through it then?  Is it like a horsey ride at the grocery store ?


‘Naked’ scanners fooled by creased clothing

Published: 16 Nov 10

Controversial “naked” body scanners currently being tested at Hamburg’s airport are constantly malfunctioning due to folds in passengers’ clothing, broadcaster NDR reported on Tuesday.

The public radio station said the trial of the body imaging security scanners has been plagued by serious problems. The units, which have been in use since September, are apparently unable to tell the difference between foreign objects and such things like pleated clothing.

The scanners use millimetre-wave technology to produce outline images of bodies, with each scan lasting less than three seconds.

While some passengers are being asked to remove thicker clothes such as jumpers, NDR reported that the devices are regularly malfunctioning due to creases in lighter clothes such as blouses and skirts.

Read More

Senate Hearings Grill TSA on Full Body Scanners in Airports

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held an
oversight hearing on the Transportation Security Administration on
November 17, 2010. John S. Pistole, the TSA Administrator, testified.
Senators asked Pistole tough questions about the privacy and health
implications of airport body scanners. Senators also asked about the
invasiveness of pat-downs and the problems that the machines pose for
religious objectors. Pistole failed to provide proof of independent
studies regarding radiation risks and consistently downplayed privacy
and religious concerns.
EPIC has filed a lawsuit to suspend the body scanner program, calling it
“unlawful, invasive, and ineffective.” EPIC argues that the machines
violate the federal Privacy Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, the
Fourth Amendment, the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, and the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act.
Opposition to the program is growing: The American Pilots Association,
Airline CEOs, flyers rights organizations, religious groups, and others
are calling for an end to invasive searches at airports. Libertarian
Party Chair Mark Hinkle stated, “[t]he fact that I want to travel on an
airplane does not make me a threat, and it does not allow anyone to
conduct a warrantless search under my clothing.” The Libertarian Party
exhorted its constituents to call their members of Congress and “tell
them that they don’t want this expensive, worthless, intrusive,
unconstitutional program.”
Kate Hanni, Executive Director of Flyersrights.org, called for “a robust
debate by aviation security experts and a full presentation to an
expanded Aviation Security Advisory Committee with opportunity for
critics to be heard before these new procedures are implemented.” The
new security measures, Hanni stated, “should require an extreme
justification.”
In a letter to his members, Captain Mike Cleary, President of the
American Pilots Association, urged pilots not to submit to body scanner
screening because “frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may
subject pilots to significant health risks.” Additionally, the
body-scanner machines and enhanced pat downs are “intrusive and have
been implemented almost overnight” leaving no time for public comment
and are effectively a form of “sexual-molestation” that adversely
affects pilots who are moments away from being in the flight deck.
Captain Cleary finds that the TSA is acting with “unchecked” authority.
A National Opt-Out Day is scheduled for November 24.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Senate Oversight Hearing on TSA
Senate Oversight Hearing on TSA: John S. Pistole Testimony
Press Release: “Libertarians Oppose Abusive TSA Strip-search Machines”
American Pilots Association, Letter to Pilots
The Fiqh Council of North America,
Council on American-Islamic Relations,
National Opt-Out Day
EPIC: Whole Body Imaging
EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program)

TSA: “I thought maybe you might be representing a terrorist organization”


. . . .said the TSA agent to me yesterday at Tulsa International Airport.

Kaye Beach

Nov. 14, 2010

That’s funny.  Travelers being subjected to the new security procedures at Tulsa International Airport are probably thinking the same thing about her.

This weekend I decided to take my ire and do something productive with it.

So, what am I irked about?

I am very unhappy that my best friend, her 8 year old daughter and my 16 year old girl were caught off guard a few months ago at the Tulsa International Airport where they were ushered through the naked body scanner without the benefit of knowing what was really happening until it was too late to object.

When my daughter told me what had happened it made me feel terrible and maybe not for the reasons you might think.  Honestly, I doubt that the screener was a slobbering pervert who relished the idea of seeing hundreds of ghostly, bald, naked images of strangers all day.  There are likely some like that but I imagine most are not.  No.  Slobbering perverts were not my chief concern.

(Although after reading this I am beginning to wonder)

It seems that rather than dealing squarely with their customers, the airlines prefers that you get your behind through the machine fast and with a minimum of fuss more than anything.   To this end they make sure that travelers have very little information about the body scans and even less time for you to fairly  consider your options.  What made me really sad was that while I raised my daughter to expect others to treat her with respect and to respect others in return, the TSA put her in a situation where gaining her informed consent before subjecting her to a controversial screening procedure was treated as if it were optional.   It is not optional and I think that it is up to us to change this mindset.

The two girls and my friend were unnecessarily disrespected by government policy makers and their drones who are implementing this personally invasive procedure in such an insulting manner.

Is this a fair price to pay for a flight?

These machines are now placed at every security gate in the Tulsa Int. Airport yet there is no indication as to what the innocuous looking machines are or what they do until you are upon them which puts the traveler in the position of having to make a near instantaneous decision about whether or not they want to submit to the virtual strip search.

I have talked to many people about these devices and their experiences with them and a common theme emerges;

Most of them did not know what was really happening at the time and they either figured it out too late or had no idea what other options might be available to them or what their rights were.  Some people have indicated that they didn’t necessarily have an objection to the scan but all expressed that they were angered by the way that the TSA effectively removed their ability to make an informed, rational decision about the procedure.

(After doing some research, my personal opinion is that the scanners are unjustified as a primary screening method.  You can see the notes I have gathered on the subject here if you want to know more about the safety and effectiveness as well as the deceit involved in our government’s choice of technology for airport security.)

I just happened to be near Tulsa over the weekend and decided to take some information to the passengers set to fly out of Tulsa’s airport so that they would know ahead of time what they would be subjected to and have some leisure to consider their options beforehand.

I did expect that airport management would take an interest in my activities and they did but most of them were polite and professional.

I was first approached by a police officer who wanted to know if I worked for the TSA or if I was presenting myself as if I were.  No.  I was not and no I did not.

The officer then tried to explain that I needed permission from the airport to distribute any literature that I needed to go through the marketing department.  He delivered this information halfheartedly and when I politely explained what I was doing and why asking if it wasn’t a first amendment protected activity, he readily conceded that it was.  He also confided “Hey, I’m on your side, I think this is bullcrap” At first he was suggesting that I go outside to pass out the information but then said I could stay advising me to be polite and ask people if they wanted the information before handing it to them.  I had no trouble agreeing to that since that is what I was doing anyways.

I was also approached by an older lady in a TSA uniform which now looks like a police uniform complete with a shiny gold badge.

As an aside; The TSA are not law enforcement.  The badges and new uniforms are part of an effort to elevate the standing of TSA agents in the mind of the public.  Why they didn’t just use the money to provide better training to the agents is a mystery but suffice it to say the police style uniforms and badges are nothing more than the trapping of authority.  ‘Authority theater’ might be a good descriptor to use and this theater probably does impress a portion of the public.   Naturally some of the agents also fall prey to the authority illusion.

Ms. Shiny Gold Badge marched smartly up to me and asked if she could have a couple of my flyers for herself and her co-shiny badgers and muttered something about a “terrorist organization” I didn’t quite catch the rest of it.

“Excuse me”, I said.  “Did you say something about a terrorist organization?” She started to walk away breaking eye contact and then said rudely “I thought maybe you might be representing a terrorist organization.”

I could only laugh a little and shrug that one off because if seemed pretty overblown to suggest that a law abiding person politely offering information in a public area bears any resemblance to any sort of terrorist organization.

In retrospect, it is less funny.  Over the last few years I have personally witnessed more and more instances of entirely peaceful dissent being conflated with terrorism.  As a single instance, her words are laughably ridiculous but taken as part of a noticeable trend, they are ominous.

Soon others showed up to help pass out information and we had a great day.  People were by and large appreciative of the information and our efforts.   A few that I spoke with knew nothing about the body scanners and actually stopped to read the whole back and front flyer and then confer with each other about how they wanted to handle it.  That was the grand prize for me.

Because we were there, some people got to avoid feeling powerless and violated by the “surprise” that the TSA had waiting for them up ahead.

One young lady, a TSA agent too, spoke at length with me giving counterpoints to all of the common objections to the body scanners.   I listened and offered just a couple of facts that I hoped would pique her interest enough to look a little deeper.  On the issue of why passengers were not provided with more information about the devices and their options a little earlier in the process of preparing for the security line, she offered that the trouble was that they had not had enough time or resources to get the proper materials together.  I don’t think she even bought her own excuse.  I mean, here we are looking at three machines that cost over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars each and I am to believe that a few posters or fact sheets for passengers  could not have been taken care of?  The airlines and TSA deserve a full scale revolt based on their arrogance alone!

Aside from Ms. Terrorist Deterrent who stood in one spot and unblinkingly watched myself and my 3 friends the entire time we were there, we had a successful day putting our outrage to good use and giving our rusty First Amendment a little oil.

“It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error”
– United States Supreme Court decision in American Communications Association v. Douds

I hope that you will be encourage to take action on something you care about too!

Here is the Flyer I used