The DHS Wants To See Me Naked, And I Want To See Me Naked Too

by Scolopendra on November 17, 2010

So, people don’t like scanners that can display images of their junk.  The ACLU, of which I am a member, sent me an e-mail highlighting this so all us goshdurned libruls can spam poor Secretary Napolitano with our opprobrium.  I’m all for harassing appointed officials, but the boilerplate message was so… boring.

The Unimaginative Old ACLU wrote:

You have said that “Advanced Imaging Technology” scanners are “safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy.” But, the truth is that the GAO and experts have raised serious questions about the effectiveness of these machines and whether they could possibly justify the invasion of privacy involved.

Authorities at DHS say you can opt out of the naked scan. But doing so will subject you to new and highly invasive manual searches of your body, including your intimate parts by TSA officers.

In addition, DHS has claimed the right to search and seize the laptops and other electronic devices of international travelers. Never before have customs officers been able to routinely pour through a lifetime’s worth of letters, photographs, purchase records and other data without any basis for suspicion.

The only thing worse than mass-mailed “I don’t like this policy” spam is boring mass-mailed “I don’t like this policy” spam so I got rid of the recommended nonsense and wrote in my own.  I very much doubt it’ll be read, but I certainly don’t care.

The Concentrated Awesome Which Is Scolo wrote:

I’m all for safety… to a point.  To be honest, though, that point has been reached.  Terrorism is not an existential threat to the United States and while aviation terrorism can be a very sad thing I’m not entirely sure it’s worth all the furor.  I know that I can’t possibly be infinitely safe, especially when I’m in an aluminum tube flying five hundred miles an hour seven miles over the surface of the planet.  It’s not a very natural place to be–I should know, I’m a rocket scientist–and if some swivel-eyed cretin decides to explode a bomb, well, it’s good night Gracie.  I can live with that.  The odds are vanishingly small, but if that’s the hand I’m dealt, well… so’s life.

I recognize that a lot of other Americans don’t think this way.  Between you and me, though, Secretary Napolitano, a lot of other Americans are mouth-breathing imbeciles who want things like beer money for the elderly and atomic powered aircraft carriers that can individually overwhelm the entire air forces and navies of most third world countries without paying for them.  Let’s ignore them for a minute while the Department of Education catches up.

These so-called “naked scanners” are really awesome technology, I’ll admit.  I personally don’t have a problem with them.  Then again, I’m going to think sexy thoughts in line, then walk through the scanner with a smug look whilst pointing at my rather agitated crotch.  The guy with the radar wand won’t have a clue, but the poor person at the scanner screen will.  Think of her.  She’ll already have to have seen the most intimate bits of our increasingly chunky, disgusting populace and then I’ll be inflicted upon her, turning the sexual harassment tables.

You don’t want that.  I don’t really want that, but since the images won’t be stored or transmitted there’s no evidence so there’s no consequence on my end.  It’ll be like all of the benefit of public indecency without any of the risk.  I’d be stupid not to get on that particular boat at least once, then.

Besides, there could be seven year olds within line of sight of them, and these hypothetical prepubescents exist solely for me to state that you should please think of the children.

Or there’s the pat-down option.  I mean, I really appreciate that you have a highly-trained staff of high school graduates ready to feel me up at a moment’s notice; if I weren’t such a technophile with a hidden exhibitionist streak, I might just take you up on the offer, since Lord knows that’s the only way I’m going to get felt up anytime soon.  Other Americans, though–you know, the idiots–don’t like it much though because they’ve been taught those bits are special rather than the rather ugly bits of fatty tissue they really are.  Then there’s the screeners again–do we really want to put them through having to bad-touch all the fat ugly Americans we’ve been breeding as of late?

Of course we don’t.  We’re not bad people.

Besides, all this will be rendered moot the instant some swivel-eyed crazy decides to swallow his cunning chain-of-condoms bomb like some sort of drug mule then attempts to detonate it by punching himself in the stomach as hard as he can whilst ululating.  The scanners and the sensual body rubs won’t detect that so then we’d just have to have travellers be fitted with glass panels in their stomach to allow for visual inspection, and while that’d be kind of cool you know what the idiots–I mean our fellow countrymen would say: “oh that’s horrible, Doctor Mengele did that to the Jews, bla bla bla.”

And we don’t want that, because the masses bleat enough already.

Anyway, about them Jews.  El Al is the airline all swivel-eyed crazies have wanted to blow up since 1948 and yet they’ve never quite succeeded.  Maybe they’ve got something there, so if we want to go all police-state, we may as well be effective about it and do what they do, whatever it is.  Luckily, since swivel-eyed crazies come in all shapes and colors (if maybe only a few flavors of religion), “racial profiling” certainly isn’t one of them.  We can get away with it as long as that card doesn’t come down.  You know the one.  THAT card.

Finally, the whole “let’s search through laptops” thing.  The DHS can’t be that hard up on COMINT, can it?  Sure, you may catch Mohammed Mohammed Mohmammed Al-Mohammed’s Super Secret Plan To Destroy America through it, but more likely you’ll just find porn.  Since it’s international flights that these seizures are done for, that just means freaky foreign porn, and again, we must consider the mental health of the staffers who have to go through it.  How freaky is foreign porn?  I have a friend in the Air Force who has a squadron buddy who got chlamydia in the eye on a trip to Thailand.  Freakier than that.  Unless the DHS is developing a strategic arsenal of sanity-damaging pornography that the CIA can overwhelm enemy networks with, there’s really no use to search-and-seizure on computers.  Even if so, there’s really no need: we’ve got the Internet right here.  Just type “macro hyper herm scat waterplay furry vore” into Google and you’ve got the power to mind-wipe civilizations right there.

It’d be cheaper not to do all this, too.  Era of austerity, after all.

Oh, and something about personal freedoms and passenger security.

The entire thing is honest, but the first paragraph is probably closest to my opinion.  Terrorists blow up airplanes.  They usually don’t.  Sometimes they do.  Now that we know they’re crazy enough to fly into buildings, we’ve figured out that we can shoot them down with fighter jets.  Therefore, the risk level is back to 1970s just-walk-onto-the-plane standards.  I think the process for boarding should go back to the same standards.

It’s true that I’m a technophile: I think these scanners are really cool.  I also don’t care that people can see my penis (gasp!) since even though it’s not very impressive (aww) I don’t really have anything against nudity or any sort of shame anyway.  Other people mind, though, and well, if they’ve been taught that their wee-wee or hoo-hah is some sort of special secret that only someone of Indiana Jones’ mettle and Sir Galahad’s purity should find, well… it’s stupid, but we’ve got privacy rights for some reason or another.

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