Friday, October 31, 2014

What the TSA has taught us about Ebola screening

I'm cherry picking some quotes, but this article in Vanity Fair by a former TSA agent is a quick read, so click through:
In essence, Ebola interrogations amount to a new iteration of, “Did you pack your own bags? Andhave you been in possession of your bags at all times?,” asked of passengers by airline securitysince the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. No one is likely to want to admit to having been near an Ebola hot zone at an airport security checkpoint knowing that such a disclosure might lead to a three-week quarantine
Good point. How many times have you thought to yourself when you are asked these questions: "Well, my husband and kids helped pack the bags. They were in the trunk of the taxi on the way over and the cab driver handled them for me. But there is no point in answering these questions in any other way than 'Yes.' and 'Yes.' I don't want to miss my flight!" Now picture that you are a doctor or nurse who went to Africa to help out. Might your thinking go: "I was in Africa and saw some Ebola patients, but I don't have any symptoms and I took all of the necessary precautions. It would be much better to deny I was near anyone with Ebola so I can get home and sleep in my own bed tonight! No harm, no foul."

And, as we already know:
Security theater isn’t just some harmless bureaucratic placebo and fact of modern-day life: it can discourage activities and behavior in such a way as to have real, pernicious effects upon society.