Maas Media - Travel & Political Musings

TSA Pat Down Policy – What’s all the fuss about?

Much is being made of lately about the new security rules put in place by the T.S.A. I’m talking about the ‘pat-down’ policy and especially if passengers refuse to go through the full-body scanners, which are set up at most airports around the country.

Of course, the media is contributing their part by sensationalizing this issue for their 24-hour news cycle or otherwise they wouldn’t have another excuse to fill the airwaves.  God forbid they would actually start reporting news, but I guess that’s for another topic of discussion or for a different blog I should say.

Let’s put things into perspective first.  According to a recent CBS News poll 81% of Americans favor the full body scanners, 15% are opposed to using the scanners and 4% of Americans probably never travel or don’t care enough to provide an opinion, which always baffles me with these survey results, but …

So the blown up media fuzz about the new pat-down policy only pertains to a portion of the 15% of Americans opposed to full body scanners.  Remember, they don’t agree with full body scanners, but that doesn’t mean they are opposed to the pat down policy.  So even if we assume that half of the 15% of people are also against a pat down, then it would still leave us with only 1 in 14 people opposed to strict security at airports.

What is the alternative to full body scanners and/or the pat down?  I’m a U.S. citizen who is keen about privacy, but I’ll give up some of that privacy if that means arriving safely at my point of destination without having to worry about another Nigerian stuffing his underwear with explosives!  I mean at some point we have to start using common sense.  We can’t rely on a numbers game wherein we decide that it’s worth the risk to have a plane being blown up in the skies once in a while so that we don’t have to show our blurry private parts to a T.S.A. screener.  That’s like agreeing with the Ford officials from a few decades ago and deciding that it’s cheaper to have a few people killed in the Ford Pinto rather than building a safer car.

Now, there are certainly ways to improve the system.

1) Pilots / Flight Attendants – should be exempt from the full body scanners provided they get clearance from the government.  They should still be patted down and go through a metal detector, but they should be given the option to avoid the increased radiation exposure.

2) Privacy for pat-downs – if people refuse the full body scanners they should still be patted down, but it should be done in a complete private area away from public view.

3) Privacy controls on body scanners – no images are allowed to be stored unless a suspect is found with prohibited items on his body.  Also the T.S.A. screener needs to be out of view from the public, so that no images can be seen by the public.

In the end, we all have to use common sense.  We can’t risk having someone board a flight without a full body scan or pat down and have them blow up the plane over a large U.S. city.  I guarantee you the family members of the victims on board or on the ground would unanimously have voted for the full body scanners or pat downs.  You can always drive, take the train or a boat if you’re so worried about your privacy.  Or stay put in your secluded mountain hideout…

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[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Veronique Deblois, Patrick Maas. Patrick Maas said: TSA Pat Down Policy – What's all the fuzz about?: [...]

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