Friday, April 19, 2019

Discrimination Illustrates Security Theater

Last month, ProPublica asked anyone who has had their hair searched by TSA to contact them. The results of that have now been published, confirming that the body scanners find anomalies in certain hairstyles, which happen to also be more prevalent for black women. Not surprisingly, black women repeatedly get singled out for further scrutiny.

A telling quote from a TSA official inadvertently admits that naked scanners are not effective at finding actual terrorists (the purported purpose of TSA) :
"'With black females, the scanner alarms more because they have thicker hair; many times they have braids or dreadlocks,' said a TSA officer who works at an airport in Texas and asked not to be named. 'Maybe, down the line, they will be redesigning the technology, so it can tell apart what’s a real threat and what is not. But, for now, we officers have to do what the machine can’t.' [Emphases added]

You got that? The naked scanners - which violate basic rights to personal privacy and bodily integrity, and apparently discriminate against trans-individuals, black women, and (I would surmise) several other groups of marginalized people - can NOT DISTINGUISH between a real threat and something that is NOT a real threat.

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