Non Sequitur: Privatize TSA Screeners for Invasive Body Scans
As criticism grows of the government's new full-body imaging scanners and the alternative "enhanced" pat-downs, some airports are considering ditching TSA agents altogether. This month, Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida wrote letters to 100 of the nation's busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead. [CBS]
This argument is on an intellectual par with "I hate socialized medicine, hands off my Medicare!"
If TSA screeners were replaced by private contractors, they would still have to follow the same rules, using the same machines, and the same search protocols. The only difference would be that John Mica's corporate campaign contributors would stand to make a lot of money.
Magical market forces will not give us better screening service. The contracts will be handed out to cronies behind closed doors. Passengers are literally a captive audience. If your flight is about to take off, you can't just walk out and find an airport with nicer baggage screeners.
The question then becomes, who would you rather have up in your junk: The TSA or Blackwater?
This is a false dichotomy, of course. The nude body scans and front-handed genital pat-downs violate our privacy without enhancing security. The policy needs to change. At least the policy-makers work for us. For-profit security firms work for their shareholders first and the public second. That's just how corporations are. Do you really want your safety to be secondary to someone else's profits?
No matter who administers it, the whole body scanner project is all one big human experiment. The TSA can't even prove that the scanners are more effective than existing technology. Adam Serwer writes in TAPPED: "The current scanners were being evaluated at a time when, according to a 2009 Government Accountability Office report, the TSA had neither implemented a cost-benefit analysis of its passenger-screening technologies nor established "performance measures that assess how deployed technologies have reduced or mitigated risk." As of today, the GAO says the TSA still hasn't done either, despite having deployed the scanners nationwide."
So, we're being asked to submit to virtual strip searches on spec. Nor is there any particular reason to think that the new front-handed pat-downs will discover significantly more contraband than the old frisks, which I recall as being very thorough. If you were hiding something in your pants, it would be pretty obvious, even without the genital probing. It's not like the underpants bomber could have been stopped at the gate if only someone had specifically checked the gap between his scrotum and his inner thigh.
Not only is privatization not a solution to the scanner problem, it isn't even logically related. Calling for privatization because of bad TSA rules is a total non sequitur because private contractors would have to follow the same rules!
Your civil liberties are being violated and Rep. Mica is exploiting your outrage to further his own radical privatization agenda and line his campaign contributors' pockets. Don't fall for it.
[Photo credit: Lindsay Beyerstein.]
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
- Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
The famed author headed to the pond thanks to Indian philosophy.
- The famed author was heavily influenced by Indian literature, informing his decision to self-exile on Walden Pond.
- He was introduced to these texts by his good friend's father, William Emerson.
- Yoga philosophy was in America a century before any physical practices were introduced.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
A little goes a long way.
- A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 80 percent of Americans don't exercise enough.
- Small breaks from work add up, causing experts to recommend short doses of movement rather than waiting to do longer workouts.
- Rethinking what exercise is can help you frame how you move throughout your day.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.