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Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
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One empowered woman's struggle against the world
Tuesday March 19th 2019

Walk Through the Scanner – TSA

TSA Officers Point of View

Now for the majority of TSA officers, they really don’t care about your naked image or the stuff you carry on the plane or put in your luggage.  They just want to clear you and your belongings as safe and move you along.  That is the main goal.  The majority of TSA officers are respectful and professional.  It is almost like being a doctor in the regard that you stop regarding the nakedness as anything more than part of the job.  There will always be some TSA officers that aren’t professional about it but that is true of any job or profession or business you go to.

All of these people are complaining about privacy and being seen naked but these same people go to the doctor and understand that sometimes the doctor has to look at you naked to treat you.  Sometimes doctor’s have to look at children naked to treat them.  Yeah it can be uncomfortable at times but you want to get treatment so you subject yourself to the exam.

I actually got yelled at by a friend for making that comparison but it is real.  You have a choice.  You don’t have to fly.  If the government told you that every time you walk out your door in the morning you would be subjected to this body scan or didn’t give you the ability to opt out of it then you have a valid complaint.  Just as you make the decision to allow the doctor to see you naked to get treatment; you now have to decide if you want to allow a TSA officer to see a naked image of you in order to fly.

Right to Privacy

This is the right that everyone is up in arms about being violated by the TSA.  I think a good deal of people are confused about this right and I think there are some groups out there that want to apply this right to everything when it doesn’t apply.  You have a right to privacy.  You have the right to reasonably expect privacy even when in public in certain circumstances.  What you don’t have is a total and complete right to privacy with everything you do.

In fact, there is no right to privacy explicitly mentioned in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  The right to privacy was created by the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court through rulings created the concept that the right to privacy was a basic human right.  The 9th Amendment simply put, lays out the Constitution is not all inclusive and shouldn’t deny or disparage rights retained by the people.  Which basically translates to, basic human rights although not explicitly put in the Constitution still deserve some protection so under that the right to privacy is protected.

Businesses, and TSA is a business, have the right to regulate their business within the law.  As flying is a privilege not a right, TSA can regulate and set requirements for it.  If you don’t like the requirements then you don’t entertain that business.  What you don’t get to do is tell that business it has to change it practices to suit your comfort level.  There are people and groups filing lawsuits under this amendment to stop TSA from using the body scanner.  Your right to privacy is not being violated.  TSA has informed the public that the full body scanner will provide detailed naked images on the screen.  You are aware and you are making the choice to walk through the scanner.  You are choosing to take advantage of the privilege of flying in an airplane and with that come the requirement to go through the full body scan.

The next argument is that making a full body scan that results in a naked image of you on a screen, as a requirement is in violation of the right to privacy.  It isn’t.  You don’t have to fly.  As long as you have the option not to fly it is not a violation.  As long as you have a reasonable alternative it is not a violation.  If you walked up to your local store one day and a full body scanner is there because they have been robbed sixty times, you can turn and walk away or walk through the scanner.  There are other stores and if you don’t like the way one store is doing business then you go to another.  There are other modes of transportation.  Might not be as convenient as flying but they exist and as long as you have an option, no one is violating your right to privacy.

There are legitimate privacy concerns, such as what happens to the image after it has been viewed, are they stored, is other identifiable information of the passenger stored with the image, can a person go back and connect a particular image with a passenger months later, are the images protected from being released into the general population or to anyone outside of TSA and what procedures are in place to prevent a TSA employee from taking a picture of an image on the screen?  Those are legitimate privacy concerns.  Those are some of the concerns that need to be addressed and safeguards in place to protect your privacy.  You have already read above that I am not convinced that TSA has these concerns under control but you have to form your own conclusion.

For TSA to truly violate your right to privacy, they would have to take the naked images of you without your knowledge or consent.  They would have to violate a reasonable expectation of privacy such as making the images available for anyone to see.  They aren’t doing that.  TSA is providing you with the information to make an informed choice.  TSA has gone a step further and even given an option to opt out if you don’t want to do the full body scan.  In my opinion, as flying is a privilege, I don’t see that they have to do that if the truly didn’t want to do it.  That is just my opinion; there may be some law that does require them to give you the option to opt out.  You have a built in opt out option and that is to not fly.

Reader Feedback

19 Responses to “Walk Through the Scanner – TSA”

  1. […] Disclaimer – This version is very direct and blunt.  If you offend easily read the long version here. […]
    • Gabby says:
      I think people should stop watching TV news and stop believing that TSA is evil. I ask all passengers, exactly how would you suggest security be performed? When another 9/11 happens you will be screaming that there should have been MORE security. Is it really so awful to have to surrender that bottle of water you knew you couldn’t take on board or to have a pat-down because you neglected to empty your pockets as instructed? I have traveled for work for years and continue to see these Transportation Security Officers treated as if they brought down the twin towers themselves. Those officers you roll your eyes at, scream at for missing your plane (your fault, not theirs) are no different than you or I. Get over yourselves.
  2. Private Citizen says:
    And fuck you again.
    • Demosthenes says:
      I’m not usually give to common vulgarities, but frankly, I’m with Private Citizen on this one. No other phrase so succinctly and elegantly captures my outrage at your condescension toward the concerns of ordinary American citizens, your rationalizations about unprofessional behavior on the part of a cadre of American government officials doing very un-American things, and your history of violating the rights of your fellow citizens and human beings, as “Fuck you.”
      • mom says:
        Explain to me how I violated a right – you – voluntarily gave up when you consented to the security procedures?
        • Demosthenes says:
          When someone is forced by circumstance to surrender rights or face an unreasonable penalty, there’s nothing voluntary about it. See one of my posts on your other thread.
  3. Toon says:
    I note, irrelevantly but with some interest, that your “long version” is shorter than the potentially offensive “short version” … but at least there’s less to get distracted by, so I can take a look at your main point here.

    You seem to be making the argument that this practice is merely susceptible to abuse, and not inherently wrong. I would argue that it is wrong even if every single TSA employee conducts himself or herself with perfect professionalism.

    Let me break it down: It is not okay for strangers to look at me naked. I don’t care how they behave while they’re doing it. And it does not make it better if I can’t see them doing it.

    (If anything, not knowing makes it worse. I suspect you would agree if we took the TSA out of it.)

    I’m particularly struck by your assertion that “any offense is in your head.” Of course it is. In the head is where all offense happens. Offense happens because we have minds and not just instincts, beliefs and not just behaviors. Offense happens when we become aware of behavior or speech that contradicts what we believe to be right. That’s what offense means.

    • Toon says:
      My mistake on that first note about the length — I missed the page numbers. Let me read the rest of this and see if I have any more to say.
    • mom says:
      You can’t control people talking about you when you are out in public. People will pass judgments and make nasty comments about you that you will never hear and some you will hear. You don’t walk around offended thinking that every person you see may be saying something, at least I hope you don’t. That is what I mean by in your head. You don’t know if they are commenting about you or not. You can assume they are and be offended or assume they aren’t and not be offended. We make the choice whether to be offended or not. Someone can only offend us if we let them. I respect you find it offensive and you have every right to feel the way you do. If you can’t not (I know double negative) feel offended because it just goes beyond your limitation that is perfectly fine. We are not all the same or think the same.

      As for the comment that I didn’t state it was wrong. I don’t have a problem with the x-ray scanner not at all. But I am not going to tell other people how to feel about it. I will tell you why I think you shouldn’t be offended or worried about it or why I think it is ok but ultimately only you can decide whether it is right or wrong for you. I have no desire to tell people how to live their life. One of the things I do here on this site is give parenting advice. But I tell people all the time to do what works for them. I will tell you how I deal with a parental situation and why I believe it is effective and the best way in the whole wide world but ultimately you are the parent of your own child and you have to decide what is best for them.

      • Toon says:
        I think you may be confusing “offended” with “insulted”.

        I can choose not to imagine that people are saying nasty things about me; of course I can. But — as I said above, only you seem to have missed it — I find it offensive for strangers to look at me naked regardless of whether or not they are saying nasty things about me.

        “You’re imagining things” is not a valid response to this complaint. At all.

        And … oh, now you’re just messing with me. If you can say you aren’t going to tell anybody else how to feel or how to live their lives, and honestly believe that you mean it, I don’t even begin to know how to get through that level of cognitive dissonance.

        • mom says:
          I am not messing with you. Maybe I stated that incorrectly or without clarity. Ultimately how someone lives their life is their choice and it should be their choice because they have to take responsibility for their choices in life. I can tell you what to do all day long but I also tell people to make their own choice.

          I tell you the one thing I have learned from this experience is that I have to be careful because my writing can go out much further than the people who come here and read everything. You are reading one thing about me and forming all of your opinions about me based on that one writing. People who have followed me get exactly what I mean. I need to pay more attention that when I write stuff that can be potentially volatile.

        • mom says:
          I do understand your point. You find it offensive for strangers to look at you naked period. It doesn’t matter if I think you shouldn’t be offended. You find it offensive and have every right to complain and your complaint should be taken seriously no matter what you may or may not have done in the past or if the person you are complaining to thinks you shouldn’t be offended. Is that more accurate?
        • mom says:
          Actually I think I was confusing offensive and offended. Being offended it a state of being and you can control that. Finding something offensive is the way you feel about something. Seems like semantics but there is a difference.
  4. Toon says:
    And as it turns out, just one more thing.

    You wrote: I don’t like that I am defending TSA at all but it is really the front line employees I wrote this for.

    See, on this? I can absolutely support you. It is not okay for passengers to harass security people — they aren’t the ones who set policy.

    But you don’t have to defend the TSA in order to defend the front line employees. You don’t have to say “suck it up and deal” to air travelers in order to say “guys, seriously, don’t curse out and abuse the security types who have to implement these policies.” Which could make a very good post in itself … but that’s not the post you wrote.

    • mom says:
      I do agree with some of what TSA is doing. I have my own personal issues with TSA and for those reason I didn’t want to defend them. But I will always defend someone’s or in this case TSA’s legal right to do something. Just because I will defend a person’s right to bear arms doesn’t mean I agree that they should have them. Or abortion rights. I wouldn’t personally do it nor do I think it should be the way its but they have a legal right to do it and until that changes I will defend their legal right to do it. If someone said come and actually support and defend abortion, the action, I would decline. There is a difference between supporting the legal right to do something and the actual action itself. Right now Congress and the courts have given TSA the legal right to do what they do.

      I don’t know if you read through the comments but in general because I defend the right I am deemed several different things and not one of them good. Doesn’t matter that I don’t even work for TSA anymore I am still evil. Just the fact that I did work for them made me evil in their eyes and they had every right to be rude, disrespectful, insulting and just plain nasty to me. Remember I don’t work there anymore. What they will do to the front line employees that still work there is going to be much nastier. I have been here hoping that maybe people would understand that TSA has the legal right to do what they do so don’t beat up the employees for doing something that is entirely legal. Whether it is right or wrong is not for me to decide for anyone else. I can only make that decision for me.

  5. Cato_Uticensis says:
    Sorry mom…your whole world view is totally compromised. These procedures are inexcusable…anyone who believes otherwise for security’s sake have their head firmly lodged in their lower bowel. I for one am going to give TSA agents an earful. They will hear me proclaim my love of liberty and my sarcastic gratitude for their emancipating sexual assault. The TSA agents do have power. They can ALL strike until the policy is changed…and change it will. Grow some integrity and some sense and do the right thing. Time is running out for this country and we’ll all be in chains.
    • Gabby says:
      I say his with no nastiness – How should security be conducted? What procedures are effective, necessary and / or warranted? I wouldn’t feel safe if there was none.

      Also, the newer machines show a cookie cutter avatar. No parts are seen.

  6. URL says:
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