This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TSA and Profiling Part 1

I'm sure this can lead to a whole long series of posts, so let's call this Part 1, on the assumption that there could be a Part 2 and possibly more.

Some people are trying to make the case for racial profiling at airports based on the fact that the TSA's new screening techniques are horrible violations of individual rights, and the idea that racial profiling, as practiced by El Al* would be much better, and that we have been forced to submit to this tyranny because of "PC run amok". I'm sorry, that's false.

I am no fan of the TSA or its screening methods (something for a later post), but it is not (or ought not be) an issue of PC. I'm against straight racial profiling, but I'm not against using El Al's techniques. El Al profiles, but not racially. It's also not an invasive or obstructive process ...that causes major delays. They interview every single passenger, and when someone fits a profile - any profile - of someone that might be a threat (shifty, nervous, no checked baggage, one-way ticket, etc.) they interview them more thoroughly and check their bags by hand. This would also be a more effective method of detecting illegal contraband. And then there are several highly trained, armed and alert - and hidden - air marshals on the aircraft.

Even the head of the New Jersey ACLU has said that only once someone has been determined to be a possible threat, once there is probably cause - and only once there is probably cause (such that a full strip-search would be warranted) - should the full-body scanners be used (ie, as a convenient alternative to a physical strip search).

But you'd have to have people who are properly trained and who are educated beyond a high school level. You also have to have people who love their jobs. It can't be a standard civil-service job; it has to be a smart, highly educated and extensively trained workforce.

Watch this short clip see how ridiculous and ineffective the screening process is (it's the "Adam Savage says, 'WTF, TSA?'" video, in case you've already seen it):

*I do not know for certain that El Al is in fact the entity employing the screeners at Ben Gurion Airport. But this is the way people are addressing the issue, and I'm not about to delve into a whole lengthy research project and explanation into who is or is not responsible for the security protocol in Israel's main airport, So I'll just go with it for now.


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