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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
Why 'opting out' of the TSA is a bad idea
One of the really small threads floating around about the TSA is that airports can "opt out" of the TSA. No, this doesn't mean they can get rid of the security check points. What this actually means is that they can use one of half a dozen pre-approved security companies instead of government employees. One such airport has already started the process.

While we may wish for more airports to do this, don't. The airports would still have to follow every random TSA mandate regarding security, except now instead of being annoyed at the TSA for the rule people will start focusing their anger at half a dozen secondary security companies instead of at the government issuing the mandates. At that point the TSA will be free to throw out whatever mandates it wants without worrying about facing any sort of public backlash. It would even encourage them to issue crazier mandates faster and faster as they wouldn't be the ones shouldering the burden of buying the equipment (but they would be mandating specific equipment from pre-approved vendors, of course), training the operators, or anything else involved in what we like to call reality.

Two more things: Do you really think these half a dozen pre-approved security companies didn't have to throw in some major kickbacks to get that approval? And secondly, another potential word for security company? Mercenaries.

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Current Location: United States, Georgia, Atlanta
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

4 comments or Leave a comment
mcfnord From: mcfnord Date: November 24th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

i dunno. the dialog has come to constitutional issues in any case. private companies do figure out more comfortable ways of anal probing, etc. before we had tsa, some dog swore i had drugs, and i had to strip to my underwear for guys with guns. well, what the fuck was that about? fancy way to say welcome home. faced with this nonsense again, i'd be more able to say, no, i won't take my clothes off, and now i go... to jail? you go to jail if you don't take your clothes off in a little room? well, no, you get threatened and harassed for hours and released. isn't that stupid? yes, that is stupid. anyways. i personally would get slight excitement from a gentle touch of my balls, etc. for "security". but isn't the whole thing a big clusterfuck and bodge? all for national prestige. i say, let the terrorists take out some planes. life is fucking dangerous.
legolastn From: legolastn Date: November 25th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't think of many examples in the way of misdirected anger towards companies in lieu of the government but maybe that's my own bias. If anything, I see people direct anger at the government for the fuck-ups of the private sector.

I do think you're probably getting at the truth of the matter in your suspicions that the security companies have had a hand in this from the beginning and will benefit from the whole situation in a similar way to how mercenaries have profited from fear and warfare since, well, before recorded history no doubt.

Personally I'm less concerned about the whole scan/patdown thing than the fact that it took this kind of systematic invasion of privacy directed at the middle/professional classes to generate any sort of sustained, visible displays of outrage and resistance. And I have my doubts even this will ultimately be meaningfully sustained. The destruction of personal liberties reflected by this latest development has its roots in more fundamental violations that started years ago with things like the PATRIOT Act, if not before, IMO.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: November 25th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can see government vs company direction too. Government has set itself up to be everyone's protecter (we'll protect you, just give us your votes and your money) so when something goes wrong people do tend to look at them. For the current mishandling of fliers I'd say the anger will hold onto the specific people doing it, rather than the people making the mandates.

I don't think the current level of anger will hold either, nor do I think it will be enough to get people to demand change. After hearing the reports of Thanksigiving travel (which may have been downplayed to discourage people) it seems that most people who happened to already be traveling that day just don't care or just want to get it over with and on with their lives.
From: anarchomo Date: November 25th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
As far as current levels of anger holding: social movements are tidal. There are individual waves that break, crash, and recede, and then there's the bigger pattern of whether the level's going up or down. I don't think this wave will last but the, um, tide is on our side, if we're people worried about privacy and civil liberties. More and more people are realizing that this stuff pisses a lot of power away to those who already have too much, and doesn't make us safer. And it's about time: the tide has been on the other side for a long time.
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