[update after the fold]
Having just been through travel to SC10, and been put through the body scanner, the metal scanner, but thankfully no pat downs, I did see some of the more … aggressive … inspections in the beginning phases. Bruce Schneier has a long post on this, including many many links.
I am not sure I want my family to go through this. I am not happy with it, and to be frank, I remain unconvinced that this is better than the null hypothesis, that is, not doing these invasive searches. Schneier’s posts includes some of the major issues: the images that should be erased appear on the internet, some of the TSA (not all of them) appear to be … er … less than respectful … to those they are inspecting. And precisely, what is the rationale behind patting down a 3 year old?
Would this technology have stopped a determined christmas day flight bomber? A close friend and business partner was on that plane. Given what Schneier indicates from the links, the technology probably wouldn’t have stopped them. The pat down … its dubious.
There is one model known to work very well, and it doesn’t rely upon technology, it relies upon human intelligence. No random groping required. A precise application of technology where needed, when needed.
Until we decide that we want to stop this theater of the absurd, where they will fine us and arrest us if we don’t submit, I’ll drive my family to our vacation sites. Or if we fly overseas, we’ll drive to Canada and fly from there.
We have reached reductio ad absurdum. Its time to inch back from this precipice to a saner place. Where our security is not theater, and not absurd in its implementation.
[update] this is why it is absurd, this is why it is theater. And its also why its not security.
This is a young kid being stopped for a random search by the TSA.