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DHS Gets Public Comment, Whether It Wants It Or Not

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the why-not-just-sell-your-dhs-stock? dept.

Government 228

OverTheGeicoE writes "The motion to force DHS to start its public comment period is still working its way through the court (DHS: 'We're not stonewalling!', EPIC: 'Yes, you are!'). While we wait for the decision, Cato Institute's Jim Harper points out another way for the public to comment on body scanners, tsacomment.com. Even before this site existed, of course, the government was receiving public comment anyway in the form of passenger complaint letters, which they buried in their files. Even so, the public can get a chance to view those comments as the result of Freedom of Information Act requests. An FOIA request about pat-downs by governmentattic.org yielded hundreds of pages of letters to the government from 2010, including frequent reports of pat-down induced PTSD and sexual abuse trauma."

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Popular vote (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325849)

I believe I speak for many Americans when I say my comment is "Go away."

Re:Popular vote (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325891)

You actually speak for a minority of Americans. Most people love the security theater.

Re:Popular vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41325911)

[citation needed]

Re:Popular vote (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41325959)

There was recent poll (on CNN I believe), that claimed people in general were satisfied with the TSA (note that some of them dont fly at all, and have never experienced the TSA, but decided to vote)

Re:Popular vote (5, Insightful)

seepho (1959226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326105)

People have opinions on subjects they're ignorant of? Surely you jest.

Re:Popular vote (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326163)

Don't call me Shirley.

Re:Popular vote (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326255)

Why do you say they are ignorant? TSA is responsible for making sure that terrorists don't crash airplanes into our office buildings and work places. You don't have to fly to know that there haven't been any planes flown into office buildings in some time in the US. Now, I do fly a few times a year - and the security theater is pathetic. I'm about to fly again in two weeks and am not looking forward to it. However from the point of view of "average person who doesn't fly" - why would they not be satisfied that someone seems to be keeping planes from falling from the sky? It might be the same in principle as the old "tiger preventing rock", but to them it must be working.

Re:Popular vote (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326303)

You say that, yet this rock I have had as many recorded successes against terrorists crashing airplanes into our office buildings as the TSA has.

It's at least a MAGIC rock.

Re:Popular vote (2)

LocutusMIT (10726) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326699)

*thinks for a minute*

Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Re:Popular vote or the severe lack of tigers (5, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326453)

Why do you say they are ignorant? TSA is responsible for making sure that terrorists don't crash airplanes into our office buildings and work places. You don't have to fly to know that there haven't been any planes flown into office buildings in some time in the US. Now, I do fly a few times a year - and the security theater is pathetic. I'm about to fly again in two weeks and am not looking forward to it. However from the point of view of "average person who doesn't fly" - why would they not be satisfied that someone seems to be keeping planes from falling from the sky? It might be the same in principle as the old "tiger preventing rock", but to them it must be working.

Actually, I have this whistle that keeps Seattle safe from tigers.

Works fairly well for lions too, but not so great for bears.

Re:Popular vote (2)

seepho (1959226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326467)

I didn't mean to imply people are ignorant when it comes to knowing if airplanes have flown into buildings. Much like people who believe in your rock are ignorant of what actually keeps tigers away, I'd be willing to bet a large set of people who do not fly are ignorant of what people who are dissatisfied with the TSA are upset about.

But just to be safe, I want to buy your rock.

Re:Popular vote (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326335)

There was recent poll (on CNN I believe), that claimed people in general were satisfied with the TSA (note that some of them dont fly at all, and have never experienced the TSA, but decided to vote)

I also heard that people lobbying against gun rights in America don't own any guns themselves...

Re:Popular vote (0, Flamebait)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326081)

Re:Popular vote (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326725)

Got yer citation right here [uselectionatlas.org] , bub...

98.47% of the voters do indeed love security theater.

Re:Popular vote (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326129)

It would be better with free popcorn. Of course, you'd never get it on the plane.

Re:Popular vote (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326131)

The majority also supported the roundup of Japanese-americans during WW2, depriving them of their liberty, property, and right to a jury trial. That doesn't make the majority's trampeling of individual rights okay, either then or now.

Re:Popular vote (-1, Flamebait)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326433)

While I completely agree that this was an outrage.

We didn't have any Japanese attacks on American soil after that happened.

So maybe it helped? Or maybe it was the huge war we waged on the Japanese after Pearl Harbor.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Re:Popular vote (4, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326469)

While I completely agree that this was an outrage.

We didn't have any Japanese attacks on American soil after that happened.

So maybe it helped? Or maybe it was the huge war we waged on the Japanese after Pearl Harbor.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

Not true. In fact, fire balloon attacks almost took out the atomic bomb development here on the Pacific coast. There are other events, including the Aleutian islands and various events up and down the coast in the US.

Re:Popular vote (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326757)

No Japanese attacks on US soil after the people of Japanese lineage were rounded up?

You are wrong, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleutian_Islands#World_War_II

Re:Popular vote (3, Insightful)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326441)

The majority is often wrong. To see this, you only have to look to slavery, segregation, anti-semitism, the Iraq war, and Nazi politics among other things.

In times like this you need strong clear leadership from the few in power.

Re:Popular vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326557)

1) The majority are stupid.
2) The minority are corrupt.

Therefore, humans are incapable of self-governance.

Re:Popular vote (2)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326337)

I have yet to see anyone thrilled with the tsa treating them like a criminal

Re:Popular vote (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326393)

Why do you hate America and love Communist Russia version 2.0 so very much?

The TSA is unconstitutional.

Period.

Re:Popular vote (4, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326643)

I love America, actually. Not overly fond of Americans (the stereotypical kind, not the real ones), nor the politics, but as a country it's actually quite nice.

I still don't travel there, though. I used to. A lot. But I haven't flown through US airspace since the TSA started with the whole backscatter x-ray system and gropings. I've read far too many stories about things they've missed (remember Adam Savage's discussion about how they missed a 12" saw blade?), and it doesn't take a civil rights activist to decide that being forced to allow a high school dropout to look at a naked picture of you to get on a plane is an invasion of privacy. I won't even drive to the US, even though large parts of the eastern seaboard are within a day's drive of here, because I've heard about them thinking of installing those machines at land crossings and ports of entry, too. It's not a lot of money they've lost from me, but I know a fairly large number of people who live outside the US who won't touch it with a 10-foot pole any more... you have to wonder how badly this is impacting the US tourism industry. *gasp* perish the thought, but I'm spending the same money I used to spend in the US in Cuba or Mexico instead....

There was a time when the TSA actually tried doing things in a sane way. I've had dealings with them at airports before they started with the backscatter x-ray nonsense, and most of the officers I dealt with seemed genuinely interested in doing a good job making things safer. Admittedly, the last time I dealt with them was at the airport in Dayton, OH, but my experiences with them at airports like Dayton, or Bangor, ME, or smaller airports like that was actually pretty good. I have to wonder if the people who think, generally, that they're doing a good job today are basing that opinion on experiences like mine, which were both many years ago, and at airports that were small enough to be able to actually hire good people. I don't think, now, that they're doing a good job, but they used to give the impression that they were.... if you still hold on to that opinion of them, you must not be reading the same news that the rest of us are.

Re:Popular vote (4, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325895)

Many yes, but far too many feel that "If that's the price we have to pay for safety, then so be it".
Which of course has SO much wrong with it.

Re:Popular vote (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41325997)

Many yes, but far too many feel that "If that's the price we have to pay for safety, then so be it".

Tinfoil mode off: Is that actually true, or are these just the people they show on TV whenever a camera shows up?

Tinfoil mode on: Maybe it wasn't true at one point, but after 11 years of man-on-the-street coverage like that, "papers please" went from a cruel joke about In Soviet Russia, to people genuinely that a requirement to present one's papers on demand to government officials is a perfectly acceptable and normal state of affairs, "as long as it keeps us safe"

Re:Popular vote (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326123)

Tinfoil mode off: Is that actually true, or are these just the people they show on TV whenever a camera shows up?

>

It's true. Just read the comments in the rest of this thread...

Re:Popular vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326241)

Given that the /. signal-to-troll ratio is fairly near 0, I wouldn't take posts here to be difinitive, proportional, or even minority representations of reality.

Re:Popular vote (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326279)

The SA wouldn't be so bad if they just operated in airports (which was the 9/11 attack originated), but they are expanding their domain to other areas. Buses. Train stations. Malls, post offices, social security centers, public parks, GOP and DNC conventions. Also along highways in the 100-mile border zone and in Tennessee.

"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance..... He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power..... He has deprived us of a right to trial by juries of our peers." - Thomas Jefferson, declaration of independence

Re:Popular vote (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325925)

Unfortunately, you don't speak for enough. Overall satisfaction rates with the TSA are near supermajority levels. The DHS and TSA aren't going away in spite of their overt orwellian qualities.

Re:Popular vote (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326099)

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they'll ignore him.

And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't listen to either of them.

And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people posting a comment on TSAComment.com [tsacomment.com] and walking out. They may think it's an organization.

And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day posting a comment on TSAComment.com [tsacomment.com] and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is, the Slashdot.org Anti-TSA Movement [slashdot.org] , and all you got to do to join is post a comment on TSAComment.com [tsacomment.com] .

With feeling.

Re:Popular vote (1)

OldGunner (2576825) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326175)

AC should have credited Arlo Guthrie and the anti-war ballad Alice's Restaurant.

Re:Popular vote (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326687)

Most people on Slashdot are either too young to get the reference, or would get the reference without needing it to be credited like you.... I'm guessing they didn't put you in Group W, then? ;)

NOOOOOOO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41325887)

Don't buy an iPhone 5. Wait for the iPhone 5S [appleinsider.com] !!!

A little help ... (5, Funny)

jest3r (458429) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325917)

DHS = Department of Homeland Security
FOIA = Freedom of Information Act
PTSD = Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
EPIC = The most overused word ever, next to fail. for even more asshole points, use them together to form "epic fail." (quoted from Urban Dictionary)

Re:A little help ... (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325951)

Or, you know, the Electronic Privacy Information Center [epic.org] .

Just saying.

They've been around since '94, before 'epic' became such an overused word.

Re:A little help ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326035)

So in other words, they were EPIC before EPIC was EPIC.

Re:A little help ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326703)

epic comment bro

Re:A little help ... (1)

egr (932620) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326459)

Rated funny? This should be rated "Informative". And the news posters should really learn to decrypt the abbreviations on the first occurrence.

What good is public comment (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325923)

when your comments are completely ignored?

Re:What good is public comment (4, Interesting)

jerpyro (926071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326005)

What good is public comment when 90% of the country disagrees with you and thinks that the TSA is legitimate protection?

Does our collective five-year-old psyche want its' security blanket? Yes.
Unfortunate? Yes.
Can we educate people that the TSA is an ineffective waste of money? No.
We haven't even succeeded in teaching Kansas that Gorillas and Humans share a similar genealogical lineage.

Re:What good is public comment (2)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326457)

gov should protect us and our rights from the ignorant masses...not pander to them.

Re:What good is public comment (1)

jerpyro (926071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326493)

While I agree with your premise, that's unfortunately not the way that modern US politics works.
Most people get elected just like they did for junior high school class president -- "Let's have a soda machine in the cafeteria!!"

Re:What good is public comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326721)

Except Bloomburg, who apparently got elected with "Let's get rid of the soda machine in the cafeteria!!"

Re:What good is public comment (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326487)

Let's have two classes of airline - one with TSA fully funded from ticket fees and another that has no TSA and standard security. Let the market decide.

Re:What good is public comment (1)

jerpyro (926071) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326591)

What you're suggesting is two classes of airlines, two sets of airport infrastructure, two sets of bureaucratic security policies, and the 90% being ok with the other class of airline flying over their country/buildings. I'm sure the ticket price for the unsecured airlines would be much more expensive because it would need to subsidize all of that additional infrastructure.

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

Re:What good is public comment (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326597)

Let's have two classes of airline - one with TSA fully funded from ticket fees and another that has no TSA and standard security. Let the market decide.

This! For the love of God, This!

Re:What good is public comment (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326143)

It provides the illusion of legitimate democracy while actually effecting nothing, thus keeping the herd *quiet*

Re:What good is public comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326349)

More importantly, it allows the malcontents to self-identify.

Re:What good is public comment (1)

fortfive (1582005) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326151)

I am thinking hard about this inevitable question. Part of the answer is philosophical: it does me good to take positive action, regardless of the results of my action.

I am not so cynical or conspiratorial to think that the gubmint has become completely insensitive to the wishes of its polity. Largely insensitive perhaps, but completely, no. See their willingness to (at least claim to) convert the images from the naked scanners to a less explicit version. I think many times an issue that a few feel strongly about, when the few are truly in the right, can be transformed into a change garnering public discussion, when the few vocalize their thoughts. It takes time and sustained action, however. And there's no guarantee of success.

There is, however, a guarantee of failure if we do not take whatever positive actions are available to us.

Re:What good is public comment (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326301)

I am not so cynical or conspiratorial to think that the gubmint has become completely insensitive to the wishes of its polity.

Why not? Convince me that this is anything but wishful thinking. Please.

nice bias. (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325927)

" which they buried in their files"
If by that you mean kept on hand to refer to latter in order to properly respond and maintain a history, then correct.

Re:nice bias. (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325949)

Yes, they were readily available for public inspection in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard".

Re:nice bias. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326169)

It took a FOIA request to get them out into the open. Hardly what you expect from something the government is actively going to do something about.

This is going to get ugly (4, Interesting)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325957)

On one hand, I understand their ham handed approach to national security after 9/11. It was like a fire department flooding a property to make sure the fire was out. People had and will have good justification for ridiculing their blunt instrument approach to airport security -- especially the randomness of it all. On the other hand, we have intelligent people with experience enough to know that x-ray devices and bag searches only give the illusion of security. While on a much smaller scale, look at what the Israeli's do. A very well trained security person looks deeply into your eyes and questions you. That's it. That's all it takes to give the green light or send up a red flag. And, when was the last time you heard about a hijacking in Israel? Screening passengers by observation techniques can't be thwarted, while technological safeguards can always be overcome.

Re:This is going to get ugly (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325979)

Well yeah observation techniques can be thwarted in a pretty obvious way.... don't have any behavioral tells showing and you will get through. They have training for that sort of thing you know.

Re:This is going to get ugly (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326031)

Well yeah observation techniques can be thwarted in a pretty obvious way.... don't have any behavioral tells showing and you will get through. They have training for that sort of thing you know.

They have Xanax for that kind of thing, too.

Re:This is going to get ugly (5, Interesting)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326043)

It hasn't worked so far. By comparison, as you can see by the number of attempted airline bombings after 9/11 -- all thwarted by observant passengers -- and security test failures (journalists and security experts smuggling weapons past airport security) technology and pat downs have failed.

Re:This is going to get ugly (2)

tiberus (258517) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326047)

And?!?

If someone is going to put that level of time and effort into obtaining a goal, chances are they are going to beat any system. Invasive pat downs, luggage screening, limiting liquid volume etc. aren't going to thwart any but, the unprepared. A well trained screener has about the same chance to stop someone and is faster, friendlier and has no interest in touching my genitals.

I cringe every time I hear someone say "well it's for our safety" or something to that effect.

Re:This is going to get ugly (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326139)

They don't have to beat the TSA. They can blow themselves up in the queue for the scanner and have pretty much the same effect.

Re:This is going to get ugly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326261)

This.

What is the point of preventing people from blowing up a group of people on a plane than a group of people standing in line to get on the plane?

Blow up a plane - stop a single plane and kill the hundred-odd passengers.

Blow up a TSA checkpoint - Kill same amount of people, stop entire airport for months, much more damage done.

Then what? Screeners to get into the line to get screened? Pre-flight, at-home interviews by TSA before you even buy your plane ticket? Restricting travel to people with special "travel-approved" ID cards? Where does it end?

Re:This is going to get ugly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326463)

Actually blowing up at a TSA checkpoint will send Americans into more of shock than anything else. Terrorist can cripple the entire air travel system if they accomplish it. I hope it never happens for America's sake.

Re:This is going to get ugly (0, Flamebait)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326193)

>>>don't have any behavioral tells showing and you will get through. They have training for that sort of thing you know.

Training? Really??? Is that why the lockup moms in glass jails, just because she wanted to carry milk for her baby. Or why an SA agent forced a mom to demonstrate her breastfeeding device, else he would confiscate & trash it (thus costing her ~100 loss). Is that why an SA agent wrote, "Get your freak on girl" when he spied a virbrator in the luggage? Why they tackle people to the ground? Why they forced a woman into a backroom because she said, "No I don't want you sticking stuff in my water bottle," and drank it rather than submit to testing? Or detained a Ron Paul volunteer for carrying a treasurer's box filled with 4000 dollars (and theatened to arrest him for carrying drug money). Is that....

Never mind. I'm done. I could write pages of examples. The SA gorillas are not "trained" anything. They are barely above the level of high school dropout IQ. Just like the SA that rounded-up the jews and relocated them to ghettos.

Re:This is going to get ugly (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326461)

I think the GP was referring to the 'terrorist' being trained so as to not have any behavioral tells that security would spot.

Re:This is going to get ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326165)

Well, that and the armed guy onboard. That seems to help too.

Re:This is going to get ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326197)

And, when was the last time you heard about a hijacking in Israel?

Hijacking? No. Bombing? Last week or the week before last ... the guy had to get through the Israeli checkpoint that lets Palestinians into Jerusalem where the not even old enough to drink solder stared him down and let him pass.

Don't be an ignorant douche. While Israel is far better at dealing with it than we are due to the fact that they actually ARE getting attacked daily, they aren't perfect and neither are their systems. Far more people are dying in Israel than in the US, so on that alone, your example is pretty shitty.

You might as well also use some analagy like Getting your ass handed to you by the Swiss Navy, its only slightly less unrealistic than the others.

Re:This is going to get ugly (1)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326221)

I think I understand their approach to national security too: it helps increase the power of the federal government, it pleases the lobbyists that want the government to purchase billions of dollars worth of equipment from a particular manufacturer, and it distracts people from more important issues that the politicians would rather not discuss. When looking for motives, ask: who benefits? I wish people were not so foolish as to think that terrorist attacks can be stopped via airport security. Obviously the terrorists know that airport security exists, so they will attack trains, malls, concerts or busses instead. I also wish people could get it through their heads that terrorist attacks are too rare to worry about. And that the best medicine is prevention (don't breed terrorists through foolish foreign policy).

Enhanced Pat Down (4, Interesting)

bziman (223162) | more than 2 years ago | (#41325975)

The last half dozen times I've flown, I managed to steer myself to a metal detector line, instead of an irradiating machine. A few weeks ago, though, they simply weren't using the old fashioned metal detectors, so I had my first "opportunity" to opt-out. I was really looking forward to being fondled and groped, but the TSA screeners were so uncomfortable, that they probably weren't able to determine definitively that I was male, much less if I were carrying something dangerous, like a comb or a camera. The dudes didn't want to touch me or look at me! While I was being not-fondled, one of the other TSA screeners unpacked and repacked my carry-on at least three times, and re-X-rayed it. I guess she was confused about why I would need two phone chargers (one for the wall, and one for the car). I mean, aside from that, there were two books and some napkins. Oh and a bottle of alcohol - but no one had any problem with that. I got the impression that she was just trying to punish me for daring to opt out. The guys just wanted to move on. It would have been cute, if the rules they were following didn't so blatantly violate good sense.

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (3, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326095)

I've had the "pat down", which was far from it's name -- it's much closer to a "rub up". I didn't like it -- few people have rubbed their fingers around my scrotum, and I certainly wasn't expecting the TSA screener to when I "consented" to the search.

However, not being an American, and being on my way out of the country, I had no choice.

I didn't bother writing a letter. Should I? (Would a letter from a British person be ignored?) If so, where to?

(In Europe, the most invasive search I've had is literally a "patting down" of clothing to look for concealed weapons, or else having the metal detecting wand waved over me. Although normally I walk straight through having not set off the metal detector.)

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (1)

guises (2423402) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326319)

Should I? (Would a letter from a British person be ignored?) If so, where to?

It's likely that all letters will be ignored, but it never hurts. If enough people write to make them believe it will cost tourism dollars it might make a difference, try the ambassador. You could also try your own government - part of the reason the US gets away with it is because other governments are going along with the whole theater experience, if the British government were to issue a travel warning against going to the United States it would get noticed at least. There have been other countries who have already done this, but none with the same standing to the US that Britain has.

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326541)

However, not being an American, and being on my way out of the country, I had no choice.

Maybe not then, but you do now.

My choice is not to visit the US. At the moment, their airport security there isn't something I'm willing to subject myself to.

I've been lightly frisked elsewhere (politely, and not overly invasive), which is fine because I refuse to get into that scanner thing. But compared to what I've heard of the idiocy with TSA ... not happening.

Ever since Alberto Gonzales said habeus corpus [wikipedia.org] isn't actually guaranteed, there's been a fairly obvious conclusion that pesky things like the US Constitution just get in the way. (How an Attorney General can have no idea how your laws work still baffles me.)

And since now apparently there's a huge Constitution Free Zone [aclu.org] ... if it doesn't apply to citizens, I sure as hell don't want to be a foreign national.

Sadly, 9/11 was when America jumped the shark in terms of her historical defense of rights.

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (2)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326119)

I was really looking forward to being fondled and groped, but the TSA screeners were so uncomfortable, that they probably weren't able to determine definitively that I was male, much less if I were carrying something dangerous, like a comb or a camera. The dudes didn't want to touch me or look at me!

Yep, the best way to keep your pat down short is to look like you are enjoying it.

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326421)

That's why the thing to do is to get a Playboy to "read" before getting screened.

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (2)

WhitePanther5000 (766529) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326653)

Yep, the best way to keep your pat down short is to look like you are enjoying it.

This seems like a good opportunity for Viagra to reach a new market. "Viagra: make flying more enjoyable."

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326127)

This gives me an idea for a good way to protest the enhanced pat down.

1) Fail to wash or clean yourself in anyway for a few weeks. Extra points for shoveling manure.*

2) Buy a cheap ticket to someplace and go demand the enhance pat down.

If DHS won't listen to the public, maybe they will listen to the TSA employees demanding extra pay for the enhanced pat downs.

* Flaming Homosexuals** may work just as well, especially if they ask for someone particular to pat them down and perhaps request that certain areas get double checked.

** I seem to recall reading that you are allowed to claim to be homosexual and demand someone of the opposite sex pat you down. If that's the case, then you don't really need to be homosexual, just an obvious creep.

Re:Enhanced Pat Down (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326149)

I was really looking forward to being fondled and groped, but the TSA screeners were so uncomfortable, that they probably weren't able to determine definitively that I was male, much less if I were carrying something dangerous, like a comb or a camera. The dudes didn't want to touch me or look at me!

Exactly how gross are you?

There are much better ways to spend money (3, Interesting)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326065)

If a simple pat-down "induced PTSD and sexual abuse trauma", it is more likely to suggest a problem with the passenger rather than the TSA. Even so, America really can't afford billions of dollars in unnecessary equipment and personnel just to provide security theatre, especially since this particular theatre is not the slightest bit entertaining when it happens to you.

And when you can get away with ignoring a court order, isn't that a symptom of a larger problem?

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (3, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326159)

If a simple pat-down "induced PTSD and sexual abuse trauma", it is more likely to suggest a problem with the passenger rather than the TSA.

So it is the passenger's fault they have issues being groped?

Passengers that have been sexually abused have had issues with the TSA groping reviving trauma from the initial attack. That is kinda what PTSD does to a person.

I know, I know, it is hard for anyone on Slashdot to imagine being the subject of unwanted sexual attention, but these things do happen.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326431)

I'm just about as anti-TSA as someone can get, and I have to say that as awkward and unsettling as having a stranger shove their hand in your crotch? That should not cause trauma to any mentally healthy, well-adjusted individual. It is not any more sexual than having a doctor or nurse probe your junk (unless you're into that kind of thing I guess?) and it's not like you didn't know it was coming.

Small children and people with existing traumas are something else, of course, but the TSA doesn't have any systems to deal with that properly... or to deal with anything properly, for that matter.
=Smidge=

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (4, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326511)

You have obviously never been raped.

it's not like you didn't know it was coming.

Ahhh, the justification that makes everything the TSA does A-OK.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326729)

You have obviously never been raped.

"Small children and people with existing traumas are something else, of course"

Ahhh, the justification that makes everything the TSA does A-OK.

No, no it does not. The practice and the TSA at large are complete bullshit and not justifiable by any means that I can see. But it does not lead to trauma in an otherwise mentally healthy individual either.
=Smidge=

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326609)

I'm just about as anti-TSA as someone can get, and I have to say that as awkward and unsettling as having a stranger shove their hand in your crotch? That should not cause trauma to any mentally healthy, well-adjusted individual. It is not any more sexual than having a doctor or nurse probe your junk (unless you're into that kind of thing I guess?) and it's not like you didn't know it was coming.

The doctor touches your junk as part of a medical exam to ensure you're healthy. This is something you opt in for, because it benefits you. Having some stranger with no medical training shove his hands down my pants is unwelcome and invasive, and is of absolutely no benefit to my mental or physical health. How would you like to get a crotch exam every time you walked into a government building? Or a 7-11? I mean, terrorists could be anywhere, right?

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (3, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326629)

people with existing traumas are something else, of course, but the TSA doesn't have any systems to deal with that properly

That's the case that people are talking about. And the TSA does have the system to deal with it properly. It's called respect our civil rights and don't search people without a warrant or probable cause.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326237)

I wonder if you would have PTSD after I came over and caved your goddamn head in with a brick.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326407)

Troll? Hah, I upmodded this comment. Fucking Awesome.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326759)

They really need to just put in a "+1 Troll" mod option and get it over with.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326239)

wow, blame the victim, shame on you!

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326329)

I don't plan to read the article, but I'll wager 3:Informative that the PTSD referrences were to people who had traumatic sexual abuse in their history and the TSA approved groping induced the painful flashbacks. There is an established history of the TSA not listening to anything that fragile (physically, psychologically, gastrointestinally, etc.) civilians tell them before, during, or after they follow their instruction manual.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326357)

What makes you think this was a "simple" pat-down? Do you think it's impossible that a minimum-wage screener with little to no training moving through that many people would ever misbehave?

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326507)

have you ever been groped by the tsa? it is sexual assault. other countries pat downs are a lot less like a molestation.

Re:There are much better ways to spend money (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326587)

Simple pat-downs have not been used for quite a while now. TSA now uses enhanced pat-downs.

Anxiety (3, Insightful)

thereitis (2355426) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326075)

I've never been groped by an agent, but I feel the anxiety of that and other abuses by the 'all powerful' every time I fly. So far it's just a terrible possibility in my mind and has never happened, but living under that fear should not be a necessity of a reasonably safe flying experience.

Re:Anxiety (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326485)

but living under that fear should not be a necessity of a reasonably safe flying experience

There is no evidence at all that you are any safer. In fact the TSA has failed to detect smuggled banned objects in every official test, several unofficial tests, and several anecdotal accounts that I'm aware of - and there have been numerous publications on how the various methods they use are easily fooled and/or don't detect the proper types of materials.

You are living in fear and you're not even safer for your trouble.
=Smidge=

DHS' existence makes the case for states rights (4, Insightful)

BMOC (2478408) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326085)

...over federal power. If you give the federal government too much power, they do things like this. They are simply not equipped (due mostly to incompetence) to deal with the concerns of it's citizens like local government is, and they should only exist to settle disputes between states and provide for the common defense and law. But when you put them in charge of things like this, you are guaranteed to get problems. The DHS is literally the poster child for why you should never ever ever give your executive branch in a representative republic more power than you would give your local mayor.

Re:DHS' existence makes the case for states rights (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326243)

...over federal power. If you give the federal government too much power, they do things like this. They are simply not equipped (due mostly to incompetence) to deal with the concerns of it's citizens like local government is, and they should only exist to settle disputes between states and provide for the common defense and law. But when you put them in charge of things like this, you are guaranteed to get problems. The DHS is literally the poster child for why you should never ever ever give your executive branch in a representative republic more power than you would give your local mayor.

I don't see how giving regions, states, or municipalities this kind of responsibility or authority rather than the federal government is a solution to this sort of problem. Government at any level can be abusive and unresponsive. I read just yesterday in the local paper that the citizens of a nearby suburb are complaining that their city council is out of touch with the residents over a zoning change they made without addressing the neighbors' concerns. This is a city of 185 people. The peoples' recourse? Vote for someone else next time, maybe they'll listen.

Re:DHS' existence makes the case for states rights (4, Insightful)

Cormacus (976625) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326435)

Well their secondary recourse, in a town of 185 people, is to leave. This kind of voting with your feet is why pushing governmental functions down to the lowest (read: most local) level is a good thing. The feedback loop is tightest there. If the city government in a small city is out of touch and not listening, the final stage in the feedback loop is for the residents to up and leave for the next town over. The larger the area covered by that government, the more difficult it is to do that.

They're doing it wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326121)

The TSA always seems so proud that they offer same-sex inspectors for pat-downs. As a heterosexual male, that fact alone makes me pretty averse to being patted down. If they were to provide oppostite-sex inspectors for this, I think it would go a long way in getting more cooperation - maybe even willingness?

Re:They're doing it wrong (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326327)

I imagine the issue being heterosexual women getting groped by jackboots.

End sexual harrasment by TSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41326251)

communists won (4, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#41326405)

remember with the US use to make fun of communists for their "show me your papers" paranoia? tsa is UnAmerican.
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