Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA is delivering naked insecurity

by Ralph Nader

USA Today
November 18, 2010

To airline passengers: Get ready for naked insecurity.

To the Department of Homeland Security: If you thought this week was bad, brace yourself for a tsunami of protests in the days ahead.

This month Homeland Security has implemented a new rule calling for extremely invasive pat-downs of commercial airline passengers who decline to use full-body, "backscatter technology" scanners that use low-level X-rays. Pregnant women, parents with young children, adherents of religions, amputees and people with wireless insulin pumps or embedded medical devices are increasingly saying, "No thanks." They do not believe they should be exposed to technology that could pose risks, may malfunction, and certainly invades their privacy. So Homeland Security has doubled its trouble by turning to the invasive pat-downs. What the department should do is reconsider its use of these scanners, but after reading Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's full-throated defense of the technology and procedures on this page this past Monday, I'm not hopeful.