A Q&A With the TSA Before You’re On Your Way

August 2nd, 2011

In an effort to streamline security at airports, as well as to alleviate the torrent of complaints regarding their rights-killing security measures, the TSA is now trying out another new security measure at Terminal A at Boston’s Logan Airport. This screening will not involve pat-downs or X-rays (if your’e lucky), but will instead be just a couple of questions about where you’re from, and where you’re going. Simple right?

Here’s the catch: they aren’t interested in where you’ve been, they’re just seeing how you answer the questions. If you sweat a lot when you’re answering the questions, or if you don’t look at an officer in the eye, you will have to go through extra screening, even getting the state troopers involved if you are a real basket-case.

While the TSA thinks this process, which should take roughly 20 seconds per passenger, will make life easier for travelers, it is not without its critics (shocking, I know). The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that this method hasn’t been scientifically proven to spot suspicious persons, and could let a lot of people who might be a threat go by if they know how to keep calm. Also, as with every new TSA initiative it seems, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), says that it could still violate one’s civil rights if they do so much as answer weirdly, which according to the process, could be so much as showing nervousness talking to a uniformed official about your personal travel patterns.

While this might be a well-intentioned middle ground in terms of security, it still has flaws that could be considered discriminatory. It’s better than the pat-downs and X-rays, but if the TSA wants to install security measures that both provide Americans with the feeling of security and respects our civil rights, it still has a long way to go.

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