26 March 2011

Buy a ticket, remove your clothes

I remember on first hearing about the TSA body scanners feeling complete shock that it had now come to this: if I wanted to fly, my government now forced me to submit to either (1) a humiliating, invasive, virtual strip search that offers a graphic view of my nude body for some stranger to view, or (2) a humiliating and invasive pat down that includes touching of my breasts and genitals. This was so obviously wrong that I was even more disturbed by the indifference manifested by people I thought should know better (some of them my own relatives). Arguments ranged from, "Oh, we live in a different world now" to "the images aren't that bad" (unless you view porn regularly and have been desensitized, um, yes, they are) to "how else are they supposed to protect us from terrorists?" What hogwash! It's enough to drive one mad.

Now it seems the Department of Homeland Security isn't content to stick to virtual strip searches--it believes it has the right to literally strip search any passenger before he boards a plane.
The Department of Homeland Security told a federal court that the agency believes it has the legal authority to strip search every air traveler. The agency made the claim at oral argument in EPIC's lawsuit to suspend the airport body scanner program. The agency also stated that it believed a mandatory strip search rule could be instituted without any public comment or rulemaking.
I had already wondered whether or not I'd fly based on my concern over body scanners/pat downs; if the DHS starts implementing strip searches as well, sorry--family members will have to be the ones to fly here if they expect to see us.