Body Scanners and “Legalized” Groping

So the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is at it again with the body scanners in airports.  In an effort to meet the “creative enemy,” the TSA is invading individual’s privacy in the name of national security with body scans and now if you refused – you get felt up in ways only YOUR doctor or spouse would touch you – meaning your chest and groin areas in addition to the rest of your body.

The TSA has proved that they are unable to secure the information they provide with a major Indian star – Sharkhan’s body scan images being leaked on the internet. In addition to the recent leak of a 100 private citizens and public servants in Florida – One Hundred Naked Citizen\’s Images Saved By US Marshalls . Sorry but I don’t need my body being A. looked at my complete strangers and B. potentially being leaked on the internet or shared amongst TSA staff.  I also don’t need to be felt up in the name of national security – Thank you!

Yet TSA persist with the belief that biometrics is going to some how save the day when the use of them is only selectively screen Muslims, Arabs and individuals of “interest.”  The fact is its only really effective if you screen EVERYBODY.. not just only a select few – if you’re trying to combat a “creative” enemy.  I mean seriously.. when I was in the Seattle Airport – the ladies in front of me with the beehive hairdo’s should have been screened just as harsh as I was because their hair could have hidden a bomb or some other weapon in it – just as much as my hijab.

In fact, the best example of over zealous airport security is Al El Airlines.  The airline has full background checks done on every passenger before each flight.  So if you want REALLY tight  airport security.. talk to the Israelis.  Not only do they have specially designed trash cans that  suppress the  bomb blast radius, channel the energy upward instead of outward to reduce casualities – they also have  a separate airport that all Palestinians are flown into instead of the main one in Tel Aviv.

One thing that has me raising my eyebrows – yes I have two of them – is the lack of outcry from other faith communities on the invasion of privacy that they to are experiencing.  Why aren’t the interfaith groups banning together to fight an obvious invasion of privacy?  As Christians and Jews both value modesty like Muslims I am surprised at the silence or have they just started taking the bus and the train?

Not to mention the radiation that is used to generate the body scans – which is enough of a health concern unto itself that has the pilot and flight attendants unions telling their members to avoid the body scanner.  Hmm if they are asking them.. why not the average person who flies?  We have only seen an increase in cancers with the over use of radio-active materials for health purposes.. why Marin & Richmond, California have two of the highest rates in the state of California for cancer.

There are two bright spots on the horizon – its name is John Tyner and the other is November 24th, 2010 – National Opt Out Day.  John Tyner is man who refused to let a TSA employee – “touch his junk,” in San Diego, CA Airport – News Article KTVU – Dont Touch My Junk and Youtube Audio – CNN and Full Audio Recording

Little did he or anyone else know that there is a $10,000 fine that he would have to pay for refusing to be sexually molested as he describes it in the middle of the TSA Security procedure.  As he said something along the lines of, “This sexual molestation but apparently not when the government does it.”  In fact, most people have no idea that you once you enter the security area you have to complete the security procedures or miss your flight and be fined $10,000.  Interesting to note that there are no signs posted to that effect in the airports.  John Tyner will probably never be forced to pay the fine because he isn’t a minority or a Muslim.  Sadly, I highly doubt he will file a civil rights case against TSA or the government although it would be a great step forward in checking the national security powers that be.

What this comes down to is how far we are willing to have our privacy invaded and our civil rights violated in the name of national security.  Indeed the founding fathers of our nation would be violently opposed to such procedures on the based of just the concerns average American’s are raising.  So where is the outrage or have we been just silenced by fear?

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3 thoughts on “Body Scanners and “Legalized” Groping

  1. And did you know that even if you should chose the scanner over the grope, there’s still the chance that you will be pulled over for the grope anyway! (Like my male friends who get the dreaded “sssss” marked boarding passes regularly for the crime of just being a man-of any race or religion- travelling alone!)

    Many airports in Britain and Italy have stopped using the scanners because they’re just not even THAT accurate-they show a tampon or sanitary pad-but plastic explosives? Not so much. So, they show some things but not others.

    And then there is the case for health. Studies have shown (by IIRC, Johns Hopkins) that the type of radiation they put out increase your chances of skin cancer. So, if you have a predisposition to skin cancer, you might want to opt for the grope. It’s ridiculous!

    And as you pointed out about the ladies with the beehive hair-in Italy, at least back in the late 1980s, drug were routinely smuggled in from Africa -in women’s large wigs! For a time, if you were coming from Africa, and had big hair-you’d be searched for drugs.

    Next time I go to the airport, should I be somewhere that has the body scanners, I might just strip down to my underwear whilst in the security line-just get it over with and give them what they seem to want!

  2. aslaamu alialukam, ally,

    Wow, I had NO idea about the images being leaked over the internet. After reading your post, I am surprised at the lack of outcry over this….insahAllah your post and others will help raise awareness 🙂

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