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Dance or Die

a little dose of politics

Posted on 2010.02.02 at 20:51
As I sit in a Chicago airport I am reading an article about full body scanners introduced in the UK. After the “Christmas day” attacks last year, western industrial nations have been in a frenzy over the newest security fad. These scanners, recently introduced by Rapiscan Systems which is a representative of the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm that is headed by none other than former Dept. of Homeland security Michael Certoff. Like any of us are surprised, nor should you be surprised to discover that this group as secured an 700 million dollar spot in Obama’s 2011 budget. This would increase the number of full body scanners in airports threefold, and at $150,000 a pop, guess who that cost is going to be passed on to, that’s right, you.
My friends over at jaunted.com have made the argument that these scanned imaged do not have the resolution to be considered an intrusion of privacy, regardless of the fact that these scanners capture a complete nude body profile. Don’t believe me check it out here: Invasion? You decide

In the UK children under the age of 18 were exempt, but now that restriction has also been removed. Supporters (read politicians and manufacturers) claim these images will be immediately deleted, and that the resolution is not high enough to claim an invasion of privacy. These arguments miss the point. While I am not confidant that these images will be immediately deleted, the point is mute, the real point is that as law abiding citizens we should not be subject to what amounts to a strip search every time we wish to fly, nor should our young children. This hysteria is unwarranted and unnecessary, and all in the name of the elusive “safety”.

Are we so careless with our privacy that we willing hand it over to multinational corporations without a second thought? The explosion of voyeuristic images on social networking sites like facebook and myspace seem to say yes. Do people not see that the companies that make these machines stand to make HUGE profits, the senators (who have their own jets, so they do not have to worry about full body scanners) that support them stand to get HUGE kick backs, and the media stands to keep pushing its fear agenda with the implementation of these security measures? Have we become so lazy that we merely take the path of least resistance, when did the land of the bold and free, the fighters of tyranny become a flock of mindless sheep? When travelers were asked to comment overall they seemed to have no problem with the new measures. One woman stated, “I don't see any problems with having my body scanned. Anything that makes flying safer is a good thing.” Anything? Really?

What is happening to our world, to our privacy, that we so readily give it away under the illusion of safety or momentary internet fame. Have we become so complacent in our comfortable society, so removed from the actual world to realize that danger is everywhere? What’s next? In ten years will we have to fly naked, in order to gain a mere 1/10000th of a percent of extra “safety”. In all the reports I have read, in all of the videos I have seen, not one person has actually described how this makes us safer. Safety is subjective, what is safe to me may not be safe to others, to make blanket statements about full body scanners being “safer”, is not only illogical, its irresponsible. Our elected officials and media have pumped our society so full of fear that people cannot make objective decisions.

I have reached a point that I am scared about the direction of our union. The youth are disillusioned and apathetic, our leaders have become corrupt, and the older generations have become selfish conservatives in order to save their precious cash. When will we wake up, people forget that the plunge into despotism does not happen overnight. Will we wake up and realize that we are no longer free? Will we be able to look in the mirror when we realize that the terrorists were ourselves bowing at the alter of bureaucracy and false security? To quote my good friend Benjamin Franklin “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The action is in the streets people. Time to stop flying and start acting. We have grown too complacent, this is a call to arms. I’ll see you in the streets.

Comments:


Everyone's a critic ext_3744 at 2010-02-03 15:40 (UTC) (Link)
On the topic of politicians being paid off, the video on this page shows something not uncommon: http://action.change-congress.org/Lungren

On the topic of loss of privacy: You are absolutely correct; this did not happen overnight, and we're going to have to work to restore that as well. I feel like I have so much to say about it, but I'm really at a loss for words. I've watched people give away their privacy via the Interne, Best Buy Reward Zone cards, and "I'm not a terrorist, so I have nothing to hide" for years now. Education is probably the best tool here, mostly because everything seems to lead to educating the public of these risk factors.

Julian
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