Josh (desh) wrote,

my post about the TSA crap

* Given a choice between a backscatter machine and an "enhanced" patdown (i.e. between nudie pictures and groping), I'd choose the enhanced patdown.

* I don't have a kilt to wear, but I'd consider it if I had one.

* I have no problem with people who'd personally choose backscatter. Whatever you have to do to get through the process.

* It's not clear to me how substantial the radiation risk from backscatter is. I've heard very contradictory things from people I trust. I'd like to see some actual science on this.

* I thought I'd been through a backscatter machine once, a few years ago, but in retrospect it was actually a puffer machine.

* As I said in another forum to someone here who can identify herself if she likes:
My problem is more these 3 things: One, that the "enhanced" pat-down seems to be more to provoke embarrassment and encourage choosing the scanner than it is an actual security measure. Two, that there's little or no published evidence that the combined backscatter/patdown system is more effective than the metal detector system at preventing what we're actually trying to prevent. And three, that there seems to be less and less acknowledgment of what the actual security goals are here. (It can't be to save a couple of lives, because short of a police state, anyone can bring a gun almost anywhere and kill some people. It can't be to save the lives of dozens of people when they're all contained in a small space, because we don't protect bus or train passengers, or people in airport security lines, the same way. And I'm not convinced that this new procedure actually decreases the chance of a plane-as-missile scenario, which is my point 2 again.)
And as I elaborated later:
What I meant about "what we're actually trying to prevent" is: Is this contraband that can be caught by backscatter but not metal detectors sufficient to blow up a plane? Is there contraband that's equally powerful and equally easy to obtain/make that can still be hidden from either backscatter or a pat-down (such as in a body cavity)? Are there other, easier ways for this contraband to be brought into the secure area of an airport? Are there other, easier ways to bring more conspicuous contraband to somewhere other than an airport but still achieve the same terroristic goals?

If backscatter can catch a glass-tipped knife (yay, Snow Crash!) that metal detectors can't, then great. Use them in court houses. My point is that they don't make sense when considering the larger picture of an airport, the pat-down alternative, and everything else.
* There's not enough science being talked about at all. Why is there no data out there on effectiveness, risk, health, cost, and so on?

* I love that the "Israelification of security" article keeps coming up every few months. The first clause of the article is: "While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols...." The date on the article is December 2009. How timeless. And Israelification is what we should be doing. Not this "security theater".

* I'm flying in January. If it sucks, I'm never flying again. At least until they fix this.

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