21 November 2010

Show Me Your Breasts, Now!

This is one of those moments where you find yourself shaking your head and reconsidering whether or not you want to travel to or from the US.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is between a rock and a hard place with respect to enforcing enhanced security procedures at US airports irrespective of whether it is trying to marshal people through new full-body x-ray scanners or the overly-zealous enhanced pat-down procedures which gives them the right to "feel you up".

Yet, there are those occasions where you wonder what some of these TSA people are thinking.

Cathy Bossi, a breast cancer survivor and a former flight attendant, was subject to both the x-ray scan and an enhanced pat-down. When the x-ray scanner shows up something unusual or 'suspicious' then a pat-down is mandatory. For Bossi, the x-ray scan showed up a prosthetic breast. This suspicious item mandated an enhanced pat-down. The enhanced pat-down involved the TSA officer touching her breasts and then asking "what is this?" This happened in North Carolina, or at least was reported in North Carolina.

When Bossi responded that "it is a prosthetic breast", the TSA officer demanded to see it. Seriously, does the TSA have a prosthetic fetish or does the TSA truly consider that prosthetic breasts are the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) of the future? Imagine the future here for a moment; have we really progressed to a point where "Show me your breasts" or other body parts is a legitimate question in order to board an aircraft? Have we really reached a point where it will be quicker to take your prosthetics out or off and ship them to your destination rather than try and board an aircraft with them?

In any event, be aware, according to the TSA, they have the right to inspect prosthetic devices. The TSA are not allowed to ask you to remove them, but they are entitled to physically inspect them. I wonder if passengers with silicone implants will be required to remove them before boarding an aircraft? Or if the silicone gel is greater than 100ml whether they will have to bag and tag the implants or ship them in their baggage?

To be sure, I am happy that the relative authorities are taking security seriously. But, even for the die-hards who think that just about any intrusion for the purposes of safety and security is warranted might be starting to re-think their position.

Can anyone else imagine a time where we will get right back to how things were before self-conscious morality took over and we started wearing clothes? Are we all that far away from a time where people will be required to board public transport in the nude in order to ensure that no one is hiding a bomb in their underpants? I guess naked travel only leaves cavity searches!


H. Nizam said...

Hi Rob,
All I can do is shake my head in disbelieve.
PS: about silicon gel, can you take
it out like you said?

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

You are not the only, of that I am sure.

Nope. You can't just unzip and take it out (at least not yet as far as I am aware).

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