The TSA Finally Caves

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Long after the public outrage over the use of body scanners that can capture detailed images of a person and their most private of parts the TSA has finally caved in, partially, to public pressure. Instead of the very detailed images of each and every passenger screened through the millimeter wave scanner machines the TSA will be reprogramming them to use a generic outline. The more controversial backscatter x-ray machines will get the update later this year. Passengers will also be able to see the same scanned image that the TSA operator does during the security process. It’s a simple software install that should have been implemented from the start.

This is a positive step forward to improve TSA’s screening procedures at U.S. airports through increased privacy for individual travelers, Representative Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee that oversees TSA, said in an e-mail. Rogers has called for more risk-based screening procedures at airports.

While the new software is a “pretty substantial change” according to  Ginger McCall, open government counsel for the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), her group and several others are pushing for the software’s specifications to be made public. Others, like myself, feel that all 500 scanners should be removed from the 78 U.S. airports immediately. Since 9/11 the threat of a terrorism attack taking place, from within our borders, has dropped significantly and there is no need to treat citizens like criminals in the name of security.

We feel there are better ways to balance security and privacy, said Brandon Macsata, executive director of the Washington-based Association for Airline Passenger Rights.

However as was demonstrated during the initial outrage, the TSA likes to lie. While this software may make it appear as if it does not use a detailed image of each person going through the machine we cannot be sure and that’s why privacy groups want details about the software made public. The TSA loves to praise the machines’ effectiveness but security groups and even the FBI have still been able to sneak contraband on board and a Texas man even made it on with a loaded firearm. The question “why are these machines even necessary then?” has been asked thousands of times and the TSA vigorously defends them but no matter how small the victory for privacy is we should take it in stride. We don’t know if our naked bodies are still being added to Janet Napolitano’s private collection but we do know that the lowly TSA agent behind the machine won’t be jerking off to them anymore. Now all we have to do is get them to stop feeling us up at the airport.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

Author: James

I am the owner and main author of My Bloggity Blog. I started this blog on a whim and it grew faster than I ever imagined. I seriously enjoy debating politics and foreign policy as I'm sure you've noticed but I also enjoy a wide array of other things that I try to include here.

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