[FRIAM] TSA, security technology, and opting out

Steve Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Sat Nov 20 21:09:13 EST 2010

Vlad -

Once again, you are *my hero* and that is saying a bit!
> After recently objecting to a body search in Torontoand being as 
> sarcastic as legally possible some passengers suggested that I was 
> frightening them by objecting to the intrusion. That was interesting; 
> the fear quotient was high enough that members of "The Group" were 
> willing to attack each other in the absence of a clearly identifiable 
> enemy.  My threatening action was simply to question the security 
> guard  as to whether stripping naked in the line up would make him 
> feel better, very loudly!. I then asked the crowd if they would feel 
> safer after seeing me publicly naked.
> That did not amuse anyone, and sensing my over eagerness to strip my 
> aging carcass in public was deemed very offensive while a probe up my 
> nether regions was perfectly acceptable?
I've suggested many times, that from now on, I should enter TSA security 
wearing absolutely nothing but a Speedo... It would be an act of what I 
call *white whale watching* for the other sad passengers who had to 
witness this.  Maybe we could start a fad, a performance art practice, 
street theater of sorts if you will!

The other thought I've had is each time I come to the airport, to bring 
a large bag filled with the leftover spices and other foodstuffs in my 
kitchen which are no longer interesting, viable or useful...  and the 
same for those of you with overflowing medicine cabinets... just take 
them out of the bag one by one... "this?  this 2 oz of crusty peanut 
butter from a 16 oz jar... I can't take *that* on?  Ok, so here, just 
put it in the bin then! "  "And this near empty bottle of virgin olive 
oil with a crust of hardened oil on the outside, faded label, I can't 
take that on either? OK! here right into the bin!"  "Now, what else do 
we have here... oh!  The scary tabasco... yes... definitely *right* into 
the bin!"   15 mins later, your cupboard is empty, their bin is full!

For the really adventurous, I think we have a new plan for disposing of 
unwanted cans of paint, near empty bottles of motor oil, etc.!   "Oh 
my!  you mean I can't take this on the plane?".  Having just trimmed 
hundreds of square inches of corrugated steel off my roof as I layed it 
down, I have fascinating scraps that *all* look much more deadly than a 
box-cutter.  "What?  I was taking this to my grand-daughter as a toy... 
how do you mean I can't take this on the plane?  Ok... YOU take it 
then!  Maybe you should be wearing gloves, you know.. sharp edges and all!"

I highly recommend the following from an early cover of "Steampunk 
Magazine"... I'm *still* rolling in hilarity over this!

> My brother, who had to endure my theatrics, later suggested that if 
> Alcohol was not recommended for anyone required to think or operate 
> machinery, then we should have found ways to prohibit the incitement 
> of fear as even more threatening to public safety. Yet we still 
> protest that being in a state of fear excuses all our inconsiderate 
> actions. Personally no one should ever make decisions of any 
> significance if their minds are obscured by phantom fears. Traveling 
> is not as much fun as it used to be.
And yes!  We are not *inciting* fear, we are helping to release the fear 
that the bastards (of all genders) have chosen to instill in us at any 
price.  Why?  I'm not sure, though my conspiratorial alternate 
personality believes it is to *control* us... other personalities 
suspect it is just because "they can"...   odd, trivial power trips with 
no real goal in mind... a good reason to hire the undereducated, the 
bored, the chronically frightened, the disenfranchised.  They naturally 
gravitate to the very same abuses they have suffered themselves in their 
everyday lives...   "We do *that* which we have had done to us!"  The 
cycle of abuse...
> We live in a new society where it is normal to dehumanize everybody.
This is not new, we do it over and over again... but I get your point, 
it is new relative to relatively recent history (in this country).
> We talk about human rights all the time but in fact those few rights 
> are about all that we have left to distinguish us from inanimate 
> things. We now have fewer rights than at any time in the history of 
> mankind. Perhaps that is why we try so hard to guarantee the few that 
> remain to us in Legal Proceedings.
> All men are assumed to be guilty and attempting to prove otherwise 
> makes us appear even guiltier. This is exactly as life under a 
> totalitarian regime has been described.
too true, too true.
> In some respects this excess of caution is an experiment to determine 
> if humanity has any remaining vestiges of personal dignity. It appears 
> that we have none by accepting willingly being treated like objects 
> and being happy complying with authorities, we deserve no better.
Our invocation of a "resuscitate and rescue at all costs" medical system 
is hugely questionable re: Personal Dignity.  I know this may be 
threatening to some of our constituents here, perhaps sometimes, 
eventually myself included... but we've put avoiding death so high on 
our list that we will accept any indignity to avoid it.  I suspect the 
TSA phenomenon is obliquely related...
> If we do not object then we deserve what we get. Now I understand how 
> the Jews walked into the death camps without protest. That always 
> struck me as out of character. Now our entire society is incapable of 
> protest. The psychology of human degradation is very intriguing.
> Once upon a time people stripped naked and chained themselves to 
> railings in Trafalgar square protesting Nuclear weapons deployment in 
> Britain. Public nakedness has been a widely accepted form of public 
> protest.
And in my case downright *scary*, something tells me from your tone, 
yours would be equally terrifying to the unsuspecting masses standing in 
line!  Perhaps we should coordinate some travel.. you take the far left 
lane, I'll take the far right and we'll start drifting toward the 
center, wreaking havoc!
> Nothing will change until a bus load of retirees strips naked for a 
> junket to Las Vegas.
>   I will lead the charge of the bare-assed geezers. Is it still 
> acceptable if I keep my cane? I'd feel naked without it.
I was stripped of my proud new (to me) didgeridoo when I flew back from 
New Zealand even before 9/11.  Imagine they believed it could be used as 
a fearsome weapon for hijackery!  And they hadn't even heard me play it 

Carry on!
  - Steve
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* friam-bounces at redfish.com [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] 
> *On Behalf Of *Victoria Hughes
> *Sent:* November 20, 2010 4:20 PM
> *To:* The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group; 
> discuss at sfcomplex.org
> *Subject:* [FRIAM] TSA, security technology, and opting out
>     */From Bruce Schneier/*
> /link to great blog post, comprehensive with lots of links, useful for 
> all who travel by air-/
> /Schneier on Security <http://www.schneier.com/>/
> first few paragraphs-
>     *"TSA Backscatter X-ray Backlash
>     <http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/11/tsa_backscatter.html>*
> Things are happening so fast that I don't know if I should bother. But 
> here are some links and observations.
> The head of the Allied Pilots Association is 
> <http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/pilots-boycott-naked-airport-scanners-over-health-fears/story-e6frfq80-1225947834443> 
> telling 
> <http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/11/american-airlines-pilots-advised-to-avoid-new-airport-scanners.ars> 
> its 
> <http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/11/pilots.body.scanning/> members 
> to avoid both the full body scanners and the patdowns.
> This 
> <http://johnnyedge.blogspot.com/2010/11/these-events-took-place-roughly-between.html> first-hand 
> report, from a man who refused to fly rather than subject himself to a 
> full-body scan or an enhanced patdown, has been making the rounds. 
> (The TSA is now investigating 
> <http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/tsa-investigating-passenger/> him 
> <http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/nov/15/tsa-probe-scan-resistor/>.) 
> It reminds me of Penn Jillette's story 
> <http://www.pennandteller.com/03/coolstuff/penniphile/roadpennfederalvip.html> from 
> 2002.
> A woman has a horrific story 
> <http://consumerist.com/2010/11/meg-mclain-singled-out-by-the-tsa-cuffed-to-a-chair-her-ticket-ripped-up.html> of 
> opting-out of the full body scanners. More 
> <http://www.ourlittlechatterboxes.com/2010/11/tsa-sexual-assault.html> 
> stories 
> <http://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/rape-survivor-devasted-by-tsa-enhanced-pat-down/>: 
> this one 
> <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=77140&tsp=1> about 
> the TSA patting down a screaming toddler. And here's 
> <http://blogs.herald.com/dave_barrys_blog/2010/11/groin-update.html> Dave 
> Barry's encounter (also this 
> <http://www.npr.org/2010/11/15/131338172/humorist-dave-barry-and-the-tsa> NPR 
> interview)......
> Yesterday, the TSA administrator John Pistole was 
> <http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/11/16/131364772/tsa-head-defends-enhanced-pat-downs-and-safety-of-scanners> 
> grilled 
> <http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=9ad9e372-c415-4758-805a-4b4a295ccb8b&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=b06c39af-e033-4cba-9221-de668ca1978a&MonthDisplay=11&YearDisplay=2010> 
> by 
> <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/11/17/VI2010111704121.html> the 
> Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on full-body 
> scanners. Rep. Ron Paul introduced a bill to ban them. (His floor 
> speech is <http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=39468>here 
> <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-N5adYM7Kw>.) I'm one of the 
> plaintiffs in a lawsuit 
> <http://epic.org/privacy/body_scanners/epic_v_dhs_suspension_of_body.html#lawsuit> to 
> ban them.
> Book for kids: /My First Cavity Search/ 
> <http://www.boingboing.net/2010/11/11/tsas-new-book-for-ki.html>. 
> Cover seen at at TSA checkpoint 
> <http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3584/3304306634_0a9e51503c_b.jpg>.
> Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security secretary, 
> has been touting the full-body scanners, while at the same time 
> maintaining a financial interest 
> <http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/01/02/group_slams_chertoff_on_scanner_promotion/> in 
> the company that makes them.*"*
> ============================================================
> FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv
> Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College
> lectures, archives, unsubscribe, maps at http://www.friam.org

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