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TSA To Make Pat-Downs More Embarrassing To Encourage Scanner Use 642

Jeffrey Goldberg writes for the Atlantic about his recent experiences with opting out of the back-scatter full-body scanners now being used to screen airport travelers. Passengers can choose to submit to a pat-down instead of going through the scanners, but according to one of the TSA employees Goldberg talked to, the rules for those are soon changing to make things more uncomfortable for opt-outs, while not doing much for actual security. He writes, 'The pat-down, while more effective than previous pat-downs, will not stop dedicated and clever terrorists from smuggling on board small weapons or explosives. When I served as a military policeman in an Israeli army prison, many of the prisoners 'bangled' contraband up their a**es. I know this not because I checked, but because eventually they told me this when I asked. ... the effectiveness of pat-downs does not matter very much, because the obvious goal of the TSA is to make the pat-down embarrassing enough for the average passenger that the vast majority of people will choose high-tech humiliation over the low-tech ball check."
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TSA To Make Pat-Downs More Embarrassing To Encourage Scanner Use

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  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:16AM (#34078670)

    Go ahead.

    You might want to have a think about who's really being humiliated in this situation though. I don't think it's me.

  • doesn't make sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:19AM (#34078678)

    How exactly does this make us anymore secure? If a terrorist could exploit a loophole in the pat down procedure, then he wouldn't care whether it was anymore embarrassing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:21AM (#34078684)

    You'd almost think it wasn't about terrorism.

  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:29AM (#34078704)

    The fewer rights we have, the more secure we are! Eliminating privacy will surely protect us from those evil terrorists!

  • by Rod76 ( 705840 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:31AM (#34078710)
    All this is really going to do is make the already financially unstable airline industry even more likely to go into bankruptcy. The only time I fly now is if work forces it upon me. I'm tired of these TSA thugs, they are becoming more and more like prison guards these days and we the public are the new fish being introduced to their penal system. Where's the for the children tag when you need it. If the backscatter scanner doesn't violate them enough the TSA "child molester" pat down will definitely seal the deal. I wonder what future generations will say about our obsession with security in years to come? I don't think we'll come out smelling like roses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:33AM (#34078718)

    I'd STILL be cheering after all these years...

    Look what we're doing to ourselves... We've done more damage to our country than the terrorists ever could have hoped to do directly...

    We proved it.. Terrorisim works! And works fuckin awesome too! Not directly.. But the whole country losing its fucking mind, wasting BILLIONS, is sure a huge victory for the terrorists.

    Way to go my fellow sheeple americans. Fuckin ijits.

  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:34AM (#34078720)

    "I wonder what future generations will say about our obsession with security in years to come?"

    If people keep putting up with it, they'll probably be in the same situation we are.

  • Wrong target! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lewildbeast ( 715894 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:35AM (#34078722)
    Whilst making the pat down more embarrassing may encourage scanner use for the average bloke, average blokes don't blow up planes! So basically this seems like just another ploy to irritate the general public to foster a false sense of security.
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:42AM (#34078754) Homepage

    ...that you people continue to put up with this crap.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:59AM (#34078822) Homepage

    You need to be trained to accept government intrusion into your personal space, do whatever they tell you to.

    If you'll let them feel you up in public then letting them scan your email will seem like no big deal.

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:02AM (#34078840) Homepage

    And again the rest of the world finds it appalling you only have two parties to choose from.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:03AM (#34078848)
    So you gave up the fundamental liberty of freedom of movement? Does not seem like an improvement just a d
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:06AM (#34078858) Homepage

    Anyone else starting to see the TSA as a bigger problem than actual terrorists?

    Not sure about the solution but what we have is dysfunctional. We know we can't count on the airlines to run airport security. But TSA is starting to treat the flying public like some inconvenience while doing little to thwart actual terrorists.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:08AM (#34078868) Homepage

    That doesn't work on people with IQs below 80 (ie. the people who'll be doing it to you)

  • by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:20AM (#34078916) Journal

    have fun in Hawaii

  • by amw5g ( 917529 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:20AM (#34078918)
    No seriously. I haven't come across any details regarding the backscatter or the pat downs that discusses differential treatment for young travelers. Don't have kids, but I would imagine a parent's dilemma when traveling in the coming days will be: a) quasi-nude imagery of my children; or b) stranger danger.
  • by amanicdroid ( 1822516 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:21AM (#34078922)
    I've found it's quite the opposite. The lower IQ people are more adverse to "that gay shit". If you get a beatdown make a federal case out of it.
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:28AM (#34078950) Journal
    It doesn't waste their time, it only wastes yours. They are there for the duration of their shift whether people choose scanning or not. Likely, having to do a pat-down is a break from the otherwise mind numbing task of having to explain to passengers how to walk through the metal detector.
  • by forand ( 530402 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:48AM (#34079048) Homepage
    Apparently you didn't fly through Brazil shortly after the US started requiring those entering to give finger prints. Once the Brazilian boarder patrol people found out one was an American they would take them aside and get their finger prints. This consisted of using the old school stain your hand for a week ink for ALL fingers. They would then hold up the card, look at it intently and say something about the US requiring THEIR citizen to do this, then tear up the paper and throw it away. In the end though we still require finger prints to enter the US.
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @10:08AM (#34079150)
    Starting? It's been that way for quite a while now. Ever notice how apart from 9/11 there hasn't been a single plane taken down due to terrorism in the US in the last decade? And the only other attempts have either failed on their own or by use of less sophisticated counter measures.

    You're always going to have terrorism as long as folks are willing to do that sort of thing, but when the likelihood of a plane going down due to terrorism is less likely than it going down due to either mechanical failure or pilot error, you have to wonder why we're putting up with the extra security measures.
  • by jhigh ( 657789 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @10:10AM (#34079174)

    Or the fact that they essentially steal with impunity. My coworker packed a macbook pro in his checked bag but when he got back he found a note from the TSA and no laptop. The TSA claims that they have security cameras on their employees at all times so they couldn't have stolen it. However when he looked closely at his bag he saw a small but certainly noticeable cut on the upper right part of his bag. We theorize that the TSA people look for bags with goodies, "inspect" them and if they find something worth stealing they make a small cut on the bag. Then they give the bag to someone else who then proceeds to take it to a place without cameras, grabs the goodies and then sends the bag through. The TSA repeatedly claimed that since they "screen" their employees and that their employees don't steal. Bullshit.

    This is yet another problem with the TSA, government-run airport security. A private security company couldn't afford to tolerate employees that steal, as they would likely lose the airline's business if there were too many complaints. Now that the government runs it and there's no competition, though, there's no motivation for TSA to aggressively pursue these complaints and handle the thieving employees appropriately. That's not to say that there was no theft prior to TSA, but I would imagine that it was far less and probably resulted in more disciplinary action.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @10:13AM (#34079184) Journal

    This won't get any better until you require everyone who flies to go through it. None of the private aircraft passengers are required to endure this, nor are any legislators. That means that everyone with power, and everyone who controls power, are exempt.

    Until that changes, expect airport "security" to get more annoying.

  • i thought (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 31, 2010 @10:21AM (#34079226)

    i thought child pornography was illegal, but dont kids have to go through the backscatter too... hmm... odd

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @10:26AM (#34079252) Homepage

    No they won't. First the lackeys will just take it out on the travellers (as they're already doing, judging from TFA). And if they eventually get sick of it and quit, the TSA will find new lackeys. It's hardly the worst job to be found in most cities, so there will always be a supply of people willing to get in out of the weather, stop doing physical labor, and/or get away from hazardous/noxious materials.

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:04AM (#34079414)

    What if that female TSA agent turns out to be Rosie O'Donnell? You really want to take that chance?

    This is /. As long as she isn't the woman living upstairs, she's a keeper.

  • by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:07AM (#34079432) Journal

    depends on what the govt will let them say.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:16AM (#34079482) Homepage Journal

    Anyone else starting to see the TSA as a bigger problem than actual terrorists?

    The TSA is the terrorists' success. They've forced us to waste billions, reduce our freedoms and even give up our personal dignity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:17AM (#34079486)

    If you think that "privatizing" security operations (which usually means outsourcing it to the company that pays their employees the least) will cut down on thefts, you are abysmally naive. Or you've been sucking on the rich Republican cock so long you think their disinformational jizz tastes yummy.

  • by Shark ( 78448 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:27AM (#34079570)

    The sad thing is that in 7 to 10 years, nobody will even care... People will just accept this as completely normal. What scares me is what will make people uncomfortable then? People will be indignant that TSA employees are allowed to shoot anyone who looks at them funny on the spot? Then it's another 7 to 10 years of easing the measure onto the sheep as part of their everyday life...

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:32AM (#34079592)

    I have serious doubts that Al Qaeda - at least, as portrayed by the media - exists.

    I believe there are fundamentalist factions that want nothing less than to return civilisation to the fourteenth century and will blow things up to achieve it. But I think they're rare and consist of independent groups of nutters - occasionally one of those groups succeeds in causing harm, usually it fails miserably. I mean really, what sort of moron ships a printer full of explosives from an arabic country to a synagogue in the US and then leaves a traceable phone number with the shipping company []? You might as well print "Danger: Explosives!" in big letters all over the box.

    This idea of an organised, worldwide, cell-based terror organisation for whom there are almost no limits to what they can achieve working to organise these attacks doesn't hold water on the very simple grounds that I don't believe such a group would have such a poor hit rate.

  • by mrxak ( 727974 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @11:43AM (#34079690)

    When I was training to become an EMT, we had a whole unit on terrorism. As emergency personnel, we of course are front-line in an attack, but also, we tend to get access to people's homes and such. Since we're not police, we tend to get welcomed inside even if somebody's building bombs or running a meth lab. We're trained on what to look for, and so on.

    Anyway, long story short, the terrorism expert asks us that hypothetically, if we had $500 and a desire to cause as much damage and chaos as possible, with no regard for our own lives, how much damage we could cause. He gave us only a minute or so to think about it, and if you yourself think about it now, the damage would be significant. Then he says that terrorists are much, much more motivated, better funded, and spend all of their time, day and night, figuring out how to kill us.

    It's a scary prospect, but the moral of the story is that any security measures can be beaten, no matter how extreme. As far as I'm concerned, hijacking is now impossible. That happened as soon as we locked and reinforced the doors, things any forward-thinking airline should have done before 9/11. Blowing up a plane seems unlikely as well, but not for the reasons of TSA's latest measures. Think about the times terrorists have tried, since 9/11. What happened? Security failed to recognize a threat, so the other passengers subdued the terrorist and prevented the bomb from going off.

    What was the government's response to this? Increase security for last-week's threat, rather than attempt to figure out what might be the next threat. No real praise for the alert general public, just lots of fear-inducing "the government needs to do more!" calls from the media and government leaders.

    What I learned as an EMT is that government is not the answer, an alert public is. Like the smoking SUV in Times Square, a street vendor stopped a terrorist attack. Passengers on airplanes have stopped terrorist attacks several times. Government should worry more about identifying these people before they get to the US, and uncovering plots among those terrorists already here.

    Two things are absolutely critical for the government and general public to realize. One, that terrorist attacks will occasionally happen, and no amount of security will protect us from a sufficiently determined murderer. Anyone who promises no more attacks can happen is flat-out lying. Two, the best defense from terrorism is in rapid reactions from whoever happens to be there when an attack gets underway, either to stop it, or contain the level of mayhem.

    Hopefully people out there, and not just those who read slashdot, come to accept the above two facts, and government changes to reflect that.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @12:31PM (#34079994) Journal

    "Oh yes... touch me there. Yes that's the spot. You know you're really cute. Ever tried being gay Mr Security Guy?"

  • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @12:41PM (#34080074)

    It's a factual yet minuscule threat, and the response is way out of proportion.

    It's like we're allergic to terrorists.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:10PM (#34080290) Homepage

    ...that you people continue to put up with this crap.

    I agree, it is appalling.

    So what's the alternative? We've tried to vote the idiots out, but we got even worse idiots in their place. (The Douche vs. a Turd paradigm is entirely too close to reality.)

    Some of us have stopped flying when we can (work requirements make this somewhat difficult). I drove 3600 miles (5700 odd km) two years ago to visit family so I could avoid the security theater. I don't need that kind of violation in my life, thanks: I'd rather be inconvenienced and pay more, and I'm not going to support that kind of boot-thuggery one way or another.

    So, seriously: how do we get the federal government to scale back? They appear fully capable of continuing on the same track regardless of who is voted in - largely because they control that process, too. What's left?

    Not a hell of a lot. Armed rebellion? Even if the US military rebelled against the government allowing such a thing to be possible, you can bet the US government would petition China, Britain, the EU, etc. - another massive government with interests in maintaining control over the people of the world - to come crack down on us.

    The world - particularly the Western world - is looking increasingly fucked.

  • by http ( 589131 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:16PM (#34080332) Homepage Journal
    It looks like you have completely missed what the problems are.
  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:26PM (#34080430)
    Huh? You're saying that the TSA treats foreigners that way in response to something their governments does to American citizens? I'd like to understand your charge of hypocrisy.
  • Re:Wrong target! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:52PM (#34080618) Homepage Journal

    Average terrorists don't blow up planes either. There are too many more readily-available targets that don't require putting up with a lot of boring security theatre.

    Any Wal-Mart would do for a start. They're everywhere, they're essentially unguarded, and each one has a few thousand people and a whole bunch of combustables all in one handy place.

    Wait, I don't see ay Wal-Marts blowing up... maybe the true answer is that there aren't actually enough terrorists to be worth worrying about, hmmm??

  • by modecx ( 130548 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @02:49PM (#34081234)

    If I understand correctly, a blank-firing starter pistol also qualifies for this restriction.

    That it does indeed. Someone wrote a guide to doing the checked firearm thing in far more detail than I can echo here (and I can't find the article), but it's also important to pack another lock or two for the case--in the event the retards cut your lock, you can always lock the case back up and be on your merry way.

    Also, the airlines may have rules above and beyond TSA's, so it's necessary to check that out.

    The reason I became interested in it, is I often check camera equipment that's just not practical to carry on... And I have a CCW with reciprocity in most states I travel to, so... Bonus.

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @03:41PM (#34081780)

    You're wrong. We only have one party to choose from, and that was by design.

    I've noticed that regardless of who gets voted in, that my rights keep disappearing, corporate american gets to keep raping me, and my tax dollars are used to bail out those companies and provide million dollar catered parties to the douchenozzles that tanked our economy in the first place with their greed.

  • by SilverJets ( 131916 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @03:53PM (#34081876) Homepage

    Fuck that shit. I'm not letting a bunch of college drop outs take me anywhere out of the sight of the rest of the public.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @05:21PM (#34082704)

    I think you may have just hit upon the legal definition of "unstoppable force meets immovable object".

  • by LateArthurDent ( 1403947 ) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @05:22PM (#34082714)

    This consisted of using the old school stain your hand for a week ink for ALL fingers. They would then hold up the card, look at it intently and say something about the US requiring THEIR citizen to do this, then tear up the paper and throw it away.

    That would be so awesome if true. It just sounds too good to be.

    I see. So America should not be able to penalize the citizens of other countries for the things their governments do, but other countries should be allowed to penalize our citizens for the things our government does.

    Yep. Hypocrisy is still very much alive on Slashdot.

    This isn't really penalizing someone. Unlike the US, apparently they aren't even keeping the fingerprints in a database. They're tearing it up and throwing it away right in front of you. Sounds more like a way to bring awareness to the behavior of their government to the citizens. After all, we are a democracy, and we get some say in what our government does, do we not?

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead