Saturday, October 30, 2010

TSA News Roundup

  • Dubai's airport won't get scanners (yet). Good for them! The reason? Because of "concerns they pose health hazards to travellers." Although I agree that the health hazards have not been even remotely addressed, this is really secondary. If it turned out that the scanners were safe, would you still think it's okay for your government to see you naked?

  • Here's an extremely unenlightening story: "TSA to phase in new pat-down procedures" What's missing is a description of what these "new pat-down procedures" are. Another article from MSNBC says that the TSA is not revealing details for security reasons. Give me a break! The whole point here is control. They want to keep the flying public on their toes and cover their butts when a TSA employee goes too far. Don't "opt out" because the alternative is an complete unknown (compared to the complete unknown of the scanners?)!

  • Reason picks up the Michael Roberts story. I agree that it is stupid that pilots have to go through security, given that they would not need any bombs to hijack the plane. But, why doesn't Reason point out that this what the TSA is doing is an affront to our civil liberties? Nonetheless, I applaud Michael Roberts' heroism here, and particularly note his perfect response to Andrew Napolitano's question on FreedomWatch last week:
AN: Why did you resist [the scanner and pat-down].
MR: Well, why wouldn't I resist that? It's outrageous. They've lost their minds. Actually, I'm just appalled that everybody is submitting to further and further infringement on our basic liberties.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Letters to US Air and Orbitz

I sent these letters to US Air and Orbitz earlier this week. I will be posting updates on my communications with these companies regarding their complicity in abuse of the 4th Amendment on a regular basis on this blog.

Today's update: no response from either company, but I expect that they have only just received the letters.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The UK Doesn't Like Scanners Either


Airport body scanners are an unacceptable intrusion
Alex Deane

The introduction of body scanners at international airports followed the case of Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a flight to Detroit on which he was a passenger. He had flown from Yemen via Lagos and Holland’s Schipol Airport. There are real questions about whether the scanners work. Furthermore, they’re not needed; they invade privacy; and they’re potentially unsafe. In evidence before the Canadian parliamentary group investigating scanners, Rafi Sela, a leading Israeli security expert, derided them as ‘useless.’ His experience is acquired in a country which really knows something about security, and has no plan to introduce scanners. The scanners seem unable to penetrate beneath skin. So hiding material in body cavities or in implants conceals them.

Keep reading...

Monday, October 25, 2010

US Law - The 4th Amendment

Our Constitution was written with natural rights in mind. James Madison submitted the Bill of Rights so that these natural rights would be clearly stated. The Fourth Amendment is most appropriate with respect to the illegality of the TSA scanners:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. -US Constitution, Amendment IV
The language could not be more clear. Note:
  • The scanner and pat-down are opposed to your natural right to ownership of your body
  • Naked viewing and frisking are unreasonable searches
  • The TSA does not have a warrant
  • A warrant is not to be issued without probable cause

Human Rights

Why oppose the scanners? You have a natural right to ownership of your person:

Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a "property" in his own "person." This nobody has any right to but himself. -John Locke's Second Treatise on Government
By extension, you have a natural right to "privacy" that can only be alienated if you infringe on the natural right of another's person or property:

The only right “to privacy” is the right to protect one’s property from being invaded by someone else. In brief, no one has the right to burgle someone else’s home, or to wiretap someone’s phone lines. Wiretapping is properly a crime not because of some vague and woolly “invasion of a ‘right to privacy’,” but because it is an invasion of the property right of the person being wiretapped. - Murray Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty

Like a wiretap, the TSA scanners (and much else about airport security theater) are an invasion of your property rights.

Don's Scan Us

Another website against the scanners, complete with a helpful PDF handout.

Facebook group

Connect with others who are opposed to the scanners on the Facebook group, All Facebook Against Airport Full Body Scanners