17 November 2010

Does the Government Have A Right to Sexually Assault You?

Two recent cases suggest that the government believes it has a right to touch your genitals, particularly if you choose not to have a full body scan (pretty explicit, huh?) done when you seek to board an airplane in the USA. The case of Erin Chase and John Tyner highlight just how confronting the "enhanced pat-down" procedures are. You can read Erin's blogpost about the incident here.

The "enhanced pat-down" procedures are conducted by the Transportation Security Administration or TSA.

The pat-downs take place if a traveler refuses to have a full body scan done. If a refusal occurs then the passenger is taken off to a special screening area and subject to the pat down. If the passenger refuses a pat-down then they cannot board the aircraft. And, in the case of John Tyner, a TSA official will suggest to you that you will get into serious trouble and run the risk of a substantial fine, especially if you bail out in the middle of a screening.

Cutting to the Chase case, the TSA official did not inform her about the procedure, she just went ahead and did it. The enhanced pat down, as Chase described it, included the TSA officer touching both of Chase's breasts and her vaginal area, including both labia.

In any other circumstances this would be sexual assault. Perhaps the government is working on the assumption that if you refuse the body scan then you consent to the enhanced pat-down. Therefore, it cannot be assault because you are consenting to the procedure. In essence, you are consenting to a complete stranger touching your nether regions for the purposes of security.

I am sure there are those of us out there who believe that this is not a breach of our civil liberties and that if it makes us more secure, then it is worth it. I am also certain that there are plenty of us out there who are struggling with seeing how the enhanced pat-down procedures can be truly justified. Whatever happened to the idea that you could be swabbed for explosives? After all, it was the attempt to blow up an aircraft with exploding undies which triggered these procedures. So, why not just swab people's hands and clothes?

 It would seem that despite the litany of complaints and the genuine concerns people have with the procedures, the TSA is not going to back down. So, the enhanced pat-down procedure seems like it is here to stay, at least for a while.

The final image here is an alternate view of one of the images above. The technology is certainly capable of getting the details of a whole lot more than whether you are carrying a gun or a knife or some other sort of contraband.


zhao said...

For those of you who are purchasing Titanium Jewelry or Titanium Necklaces, we realize that this is one of the most important purchasing decisions you will make. You have made the best choice in choosing one of our Cross Titanium Necklaces, Titanium Pendants or Titanium Rings, as they are constructed of the highest grade materials to ensure that your new <a href=

Rob Baiton said...

@ Zhao...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I do not mind that your comment does not relate to the substance of the post.

If your marketing does relate to the substance of the post, feel free to share the connection between titanium jewelry and body scanners. Is it that titanium does not show up or something?