Nate has some info on the TSA backlash, including this poll:
Just as we were posting this item, a new poll came in from CBS News showing 81 percent of Americans supporting the full body scans. So, it does not appear that the high levels of support were an artifact of the timing of the previous surveys, most of which had been conducted shortly after the Christmas Day bombing attempt.
Nevertheless, I would guess that only somewhere between 1 and 5 percent of Americans have so far traveled through a security line where such machines were in use; it will probably take some time before we know where public opinion settles in on this topic.
Another issue is that most of these surveys are asking about the full-body machines in a vacuum. I’d be curious to see what the results were if respondents were asked to pick between full-body machines and traditional metal detectors.
I guarantee that 81% of the people who have had to go through one do not support the use of the machines.
True true, the relevant sample isn’t all of America but people who fly with some regularity. People who fly are the ones who can really muck things up by refusing to walk through the scanners. I don’t care what someone sitting at home on their couch thinks.
That poll is worthless. It just asked whether people were in favor of “digital x-ray machines” at airports. No mention of the fact that they generate virtual naked pictures of you and bombard you with levels of radiation that aren’t proven safe.
@superking: Right. How many people in this country never fly anywhere? I couldn’t care less what they think about this issue. What a pathetic nation of bedwetters we’ve become.
What’s the big deal, put them through the fucking gas mask drill!
Ugh. I’ll likely have to go through one next Friday when we come home from our visit to my family on the west coast (my lovely little airport here doesn’t have one yet, according to the link I’ve been monitoring on flyertalk). Just ugh. I wonder if I burst into tears (actually a possible reaction) someone will video it for me…it’s making me nauseous just thinking about it. I’m not gorgeous or anything. Just private.
Now I’m really, really, really glad we decided to drive (a long trip) for our Christmas vacation. This wasn’t the reason, but what a side benefit.
On the brighter side, Apple is going to announce that it’s going to have the Beatles catalog for sale.
Yeah yeah yeah
@TooManyJens: Couple of pounds of C-4 going off on a plane is PROVEN not safe!
Here’s the problem. It’s a risk-reward tradeoff for spineless Dems and fearmongering GOPers. Only 40-50% of people ever fly anywhere, but if there’s an incident you can be sure that 95% will hear about it. People are happy for there to be security measures that don’t inconvenience them, so the non-flyers will insist on it. Since people are bad math and don’t understand that being hit by lightning is more likely than anything CNN will blare on about, the policies will only keep getting worse.
Just Some Fuckhead
Am I the only one who likes to go through with a hardon?
Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
A) Me, the husband, the boy and the girl are getting on an international flight on Friday and I’d appreciate it everyone would just stop freaking me the hell out!
B) I actually wonder what percentage of Americans fly? If you’re polling people as to how they feel about the use of these machines, your first question should actually be “do you travel by airplane?” (Maybe it has been asked — I’m just saying that that’s an important metric in judging people’s opinions on the TSA).
The Grand Panjandrum
@Just Some Fuckhead: I prefer to moan softly when grabbed by the testicles.
I didn’t WANT to have a tube jammed in my dick so they could look in my bladder but I didn’t WANT to die of bladder cancer either.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
Try it with a cock-ring to see what happens.
As long as they’re only used on brown people, “Real Americans” will be all in favor of them.
@Just Some Fuckhead:
The batteries in mine always set off the machine.
Nate had an old post about how you’re twenty times more likely to die by being struck by lightning than in a domestic terrorism incident.
As Bruce Schneier says, the only newish security measures that make any difference are that cockpit doors are secure and passengers know to fight back. Everything else is security theater.
I’d be curious if they asked it this way: “would you be in favor of allowing strangers to see you naked?”. Methinks 81% of people would not be (19% of the population are strippers, natch).
@BR: OK, fuck it, arm the passengers (Archie Buncker).
@BR: You don’t have to go to the theater either!
@stuckinred: Here’s a question: do you think these machines and the whole rigamarole– shoes off, papers checked and re-checked, bags inspected– outside every train station, subway station, bus stop, taxi stand, etc.?
@R-Jud: I’m sorry, I’m just fuckin around. I don’t give a shit one way or the other.
Awesome – a metal one. And at the conclusion of the grope, ask how much it costs for the happy ending, while giving a creepy leer.
This is just another round of TSA justifying it’s own existence. I’d love to see a poll on 3oz liquid and the shoes off at the x-ray machine rules, now that they’ve been on the books for a few years. I imagine the support will have slipped.
As Nate pointed out, the poll is dumb in the sense that it is based on answers by people who don’t directly have to suffer (or have yet to suffer) any of the inconveniences. No one should pay any attention to any of the results. Utterly meaningless.
Exibitionists would pay to get in line, while the proceeds from this public grope could help defray the cost of the TSA “specialists.”
I did it at DFW. I didn’t care, but then again I’m an exhibitionist. It was unwieldy and time consuming though. More worthless security theatre, but now that it involves TSA agents oogling at the scans (see the TSA on TSA knife attack at MIA when these things were first installed), we can call this one “security pr0n theatre”
too bad for iTunes (and its inability to download a full album worth of songs without crashing and leaving multiple songs un-downloaded but paid for), i got the CD box set last year.
@cleek: Wonder if it works better now? This concert footage from their 1st US gig is great.
Not utterly. Just demonstrative of the principle that a security measure will generally sound like a good idea until you have to suffer the implementation.
People don’t consider big walk-through X-Ray machines an issue on paper.
I’ve gone through a full-body scanner at an airport. Let ’em admire my hunky bod. I struck an alluring pose for the image, Whether my “evaluator” was a guy (and if he’s gay, he’ll just have to eat his heart out cause I’m not) or a gal (well, I can at least hope she’s eating her heart out wishing I was available, instead of thinking: YUCK!)…nonetheless boldly take the attitude: “what are YOU looking at, bucko!” (or “buckette”)
It helps to have spent a couple of days sometime in your life at a nude beach somewhere….
I feel the same way. I don’t care who sees my naked. A bunch of strange doctors did at a hospital once. What’s the difference between then and now? Because I’m an adult.
Fuck it, if you want to see it, I’ll show it to ya.
@Nick: I’m more worried about the radiation myself, but I’m a frequent flyer.
This was awhile ago. I can’t remember where I was – maybe BWI. They had the single queue going and the new machine was installed. They were pulling random people into the “other” security line to go through the new machine.
“Arms above your head.” Mmm K
“Don’t move” Mmmm K, not moving
Don’t like the fact they’re lookin at you naked, and the machines are damn slow. I mean REAL slow.
Took Amtrak to NYC, drove to Charlotte and Cleveland from DC. Just tired of it – all of it. From trying to find a non-stop, parking and waiting for the shuttle, getting gouged for parking, driving an hour / showing up 2 – 3 hours early. Get charged for your freaking bag, get hassled through security.
The jackasses with the airline didn’t let me get on early to put the child seat on for my kid. When did that start? Maybe that was a one-time event., but you effing idiots! They are a PITA to buckle in, now I gotta drag it through the plane with a crowd? Pay 40 bucks to rent a carseat for the rental???
The whole experience is dehumanizing.
So if I can ride the amtrak, show up 30 minutes before, buy a ticket, reschedule the ticket and get a refund if the next train is lower priced!!! No change fee, no hassle…
If I can drive – nobody else’s schedule, have my car…
Only fly if I have to.
James Fallows recently noted that passenger resistance to patdowns in China is relatively low. He attributes it to the fact that the security personnel doing the patdowns are attractive 20-somethings.
@TheMightyTrowel: Yeah, aside from the privacy issues, I’m not a big fan of extra radiation for no reason.
Though what has me amazed at TSA is how bizarrely arbitrary their rules on 3 oz. of liquid are. Apparently terrorists are unable to put dangerous liquid in contact solution bottle or baby formula bottles (both of which are allowed through in any volume).
@TheMightyTrowel: Yeah the radiation worries me too. At least when we’ve decimated the human race because of cancer, we can say we finally beat the terrirsts!
I wonder if we can convince the country against this is we tell them there’s a chance their kids may see boobies. America always freaks out at the possibility small children will see a tit.
My plan is to get some very sturdy underwear, like grandma used to wear, so at least the gropers will be groping that rather than me. It is depressing to think that I even have to consider such a thing.
It could be worse though. I could be a TSA employee who thought s/he had a respectable and secure job in a time of high unemployment only to find that s/he was now required to commit criminal sexual assault in order to keep that job. That would be worse than depressing.
What about that xray scanner than Arnold walked through in Total Recall? I don’t remember that thing showing his junk, just his skeleton and his gun.
Why can’t they make one like that?
The reason 81% of people haven’t gone through those scanners and been “handled” by a frisky TSA agent looking for love in all the wrong places, is because no one with any other options left to them would fly in this day and age.
The wife and I went thru this last week when she went to a conference, and I played parasite (spend four days at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, FL in November? Why yes. Yes, that *does* sound interesting…). They opened a whole new line at Pittsburgh International to try and relieve the traffic.
My take: it really didn’t suck as badly as I thought it might. They made us do the new scanners on the outbound leg, but they just waved us on past on the return trip. Everyone was courteous, if brusque.
Now, if you ask me whether I think the same level of REAL security couldn’t be achieved in a dozen less intrusive ways, that’s another ball of wax altogether…
OK, here is my personal point of view.
I just started flying again this year after not flying for 25 years due to garden variety fear-of.
It used to take me 5-7 hours to get to NYC, now it takes a half hour in the air.
It used to take me 12 hours to drive to my in-laws in OH, now it takes an hour and a half.
It used to take a day to a day and half to get to FL or NOLA, where I have family and friends. Now it takes a half a day, max.
It took me four freaking days and three freaking nights to go to Phoenix by train and shuttle van. Now I can get their the same day I leave.
Plus, now I can actually go to places that aren’t on the same continent as me.
If somebody wants me to take off my shoes, no problem. If somebody wants to check me out nekkid, whatever. As long as they’re not posting the pictures on YouTube somewhere, I don’t really care.
Even if they do post them on YouTube, I don’t care as long as they get me from my good side.
Seriously, flying beats the crap out of any other way of traveling any kind of distance. The “inconvenience” of taking your shoes off or getting a pat-down from a TSA guard is nothing compared to 12 hours in the freaking car, or traveling for days on an Amtrak train whose toilets don’t flush.
Don’t even get me started about long-haul bus trips.
In the US, they search for weapons. In Israel, they search for terrorists.
We’re doin’ it wrong. The only reason that we’re so focused on denying passengers their nail clippers and contact lens solution is that we don’t want to actually put the security costs on the airline industry to properly screen for terrorists. Honestly, security needs to be part of the cost of flying. By increasing ticket prices by doing proper security on the passenger’s dime, passenger volume will drop because other forms of transit will become more price attractive – particularly for short-haul flights, and security will be able to improve.
The Feds need to hire some customer service experts. The public will pay more for a service they feel is better (ask Apple, ask BMW and Mercedes). Give them real security and less annoyance and they won’t mind the higher ticket prices.
This never-ending focus on being cheap is killing this country.
Republicans are always in favor of something that they think will hurt someone else.
The problem with those things is that they don’t really improve security. They just result in people wearing slip-ons and arranging their junk in the security line.
The question Missing in these TSA polls is – do you fly? do you fly often?
Because people who don’t fly – keep telling me that that these scans “will make us safer.”
Oh and apparently the usually misinformed lemmings Do Not believe that the scan displays the “full physiology.”
@catpal: Exactly. Who cares what a poll says when the people taking the poll are uninformed about what the options mean?
Besides the authoritarians who get to point to this as evidence that we free and proud Americans don’t mind virtual strip searches, of course.
A thin box around the johnson with the raised words ‘Fuck You’ should suffice…
@burnspbesq: Absolutely true. My wife and I noticed it during our 2008 visit to several cities in China. Every one of the people doing pat-downs were extremely attractive 20-something females.
And, the pat-downs were … thorough…
I wrote about my one and only experience with these full body scanners here.
There’s just no way these kids weren’t pulled out of line and subjected to the full-body treatment save to satisfy some TSA pervert’s pron jones.
I went through a complete strip search once coming back from Mexico through Laredo. It was 1969 and I had long hair and I was the only one on the bus and it was 3AM. I was even asked to bend over. I remember being pissed and outraged over this violation of my privacy but I was pissed about a lot of what the gov’t was doing then and didn’t make a big deal out of it. I had no drugs on me and I think the customs guy was more bored than anything. But I’m wondering if strip searches are still allowed and I do agree that this kind of security stuff is theater, especially on domestic flights. I’m 70 now and a picture of my naked body would probably render the human scanner-watcher blind. I avoid full length mirrors even when I’m fully dressed.
I’m thinking of wearing my kilt and going through the patdown. And yes, I do go regimental at times.
Chicago in December, though….
Perhaps you’ve seen this video from Germany?
@Southern Beale: Time to refashion my tinfoil hat into underwear.
My gut tells me average Chinese folk /= average Chinese flyer. More upscale, less inclined to make waves. True?
Do the proletariat Chinese have any more resistance to authority than 30-40 short years ago? Is there some folk-hero culture among them like the English have Robin Hood or the Americans have moonshiners?
Good point, that.
Has anyone skimmed the TSA Blog they have at the TSA’s website?
The comments are running about 98% against the TSA’s position and reasoning, with several people asking for more information the TSA apparently won’t describe.
I’m not looking forward to traveling in 2 weeks. I’ll go straight to requesting a grope myself. That way only one person finds out that this lady comes with an extra package built-in below.
On the bright side, on at least three radio morning shows this morning I heard them talking about this. Sadly, they all think this machine is just like the one in total-recall. Thats the image TSA wants to sell people, reality be damned.
I like the video posted above in Germany, if it wasn’t December, and me heading to Colorado, I think i’d wear as little as humanly possible (and yes, I can get away with it, even down below.)
The key here is CBS.
Of course anyone dumb enough to watch that would feel this way.
Gotta call BS on your position here. I fly often out of El Paso, and they’ve had the machines for a while now. I have yet to see *anyone* generating any drama over this. It’s no more intrusive than the magnetometers, and takes maybe 5 seconds longer. Are the backscatter machines an imposition? Well yeah. But so are the magnetometers. And the lines when you have to renew your driver’s license. Grow the f-ck up. Flying is a privilege and not a right. The TSA is not going to hasten the freaking apocalypse, and they’re not the first inefficient and illogical government agency that ever came to being.
BTW, frequent fliers like me do not represent a statistically significant proportion of the traveling public, so sampling *only* frequent fliers is going to all but invalidate any poll.
For them that worry about the radiation, they might consider what the ambient solar radiation is at 30,000+ feet. I know what it is, and it’s high enough to make me quite sanguine about cooking with butter when I could be using PAM. Stop using “radiation” like some magical invocation when you need to rationalize an opinion that’s already formed about something you don’t like.
I am frankly aghast at how easily the article writing folks on this blog managed to make themselves sound like the worst of the knee-jerk political reactionaries that they are fond of lampooning over something that is at its heart nearly meaningless in the big picture.
@Martin: and the problem with that sort of thinking is that not everybody is you.
Does cancer count as an imposition? But, hey, what does the head of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research know about x-rays and cancer, amirite?
My mother died of breast cancer before she was 40 thanks to x-ray exposure (she was a dental hygenist). They’re going to have to drag me into that thing kicking and screaming.