Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tester introduces bill to criminalize “misuse” of airport body scanners

Thankfully, the two airports I’ll be flying in and out of this holiday season are probably too small to have these invasive new “body scanners”…yet.

Body Scanner

Sen. Jon Tester on Thursday introduced a bill that would criminalize the misuse of these dastardly devices. (Personally, I think the government’s use of a body scanners on citizens for any reason is a “misuse”).

You can read the proposed bill here.

The law’s purpose would be:

“To impose a criminal penalty for unauthorized recording or distribution of  images produced using advanced imaging technology during screenings of individuals at airports and upon entry to Federal buildings, and
for other purposes.”


In my humble opinion, TSA has gone way overboard with the heavy-handed “security” procedures at airports. I had a very unpleasant experience with a TSA agent at the Great Falls airport a few years ago.

I usually travel with my laptop and one other carry-on bag and I’m familiar with all of the proper procedures for passing smoothly for airport security screening. On this occasion—after I had already gone through the metal detector, my bags had come out the other side of the x-ray machine, and I was getting ready to put my shoes back on—I was “randomly” singled out for a more intrusive search. They opened all my luggage, gave me a pat down, looked through my computer bag, etc. They told me I was chosen at random; however, this was the THIRD time I had been “randomly” selected for increased search in the past five or six years. I almost wasn’t able to board a plane in San Diego in 2002 because, I was told, my name was on a “security list.” Imagine that, John Adams is on a security list. I wonder how many John Adams there are in the world?

Anyway, I was pretty frustrated with the whole scene in Great Falls. I felt like a criminal. It was intrusive. It was embarrassing. Other passengers look at you funny as you board the plane. It’s just generally unpleasant, to say the least.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the TSA agent who was screening my luggage picked up my laptop, and to my horror, tossed it back into the plastic bin. The brand new laptop fell at least 8-10 inches with a clang. At which point I said (I admit, in a potentially hostile tone), “Hey! Easy on the computer!”

The TSA agent glared at me as if to say, “Hey buddy, do you want to go in the back room for an even more thorough search…?”

There was no apology. They did not repackage my luggage. I was left to stew about the incident for the next 3 hours of flight time.

When I was a kid, flying was one of the most exciting things in the world. Now it’s just miserable…and not because I’m afraid of terrorists.

1 comment:

Aaron Flint said...

As Ann Coulter mentioned today, I believe: Don't worry, the government will make sure that the naked body scan doesn't get leaked...just as they've done so well at protecting hundreds of thousands of national security documents

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