Protesting TSA security theater

Freshness Warning
This article is over 3 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

TSA security doesn’t make us safer. It just wastes everyone’s time and taxpayer money. Screening misses 95% of weapons that undercover agents try and sneak through, and the head of the TSA doesn’t think the agency can be fixed.

For years, I’ve protested the TSA by opting out of the useless naked body scanners and requiring them to do a full pat down instead. If only a small percentage of flyers did this, the lines would be so incredibly long at airports that the TSA would be forced to change their screening system.

Once at the pat-down station, I’ve done a number of things designed to illustrate the ridiculousness of the process. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get to your plane if you do any of this. Hand a copy of the Constitution to the agent, letting them know they seem to have lost theirs. Keep a copy of the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search seizure) in my pocket for them to find. Recite the pat down instructions along with them, making sure I’m slightly ahead of them. Standing on one foot. Giving absurd answers to "do you have any sensitive areas on your body" (my spleen is very sensitive). Make funny noises while they’re patting me down. Recite poetry, and when they ask me to stop, ask them what law restricts my speech while at the checkpoint. When they ask where I’m flying to, I give them the name of the city I’m currently in. Change your mind about a private screening halfway through the procedure.

Flight before last, when asked to remove my hat before going through the metal detector, I told them the hat isn’t made of metal, so should be OK. They were not amused, and asked me to take it off again. I’m going to start telling them I wear it for religious reasons.

Last week, I took it a step further. I casually mentioned to the TSA agent that was about to pat me down that I’m really a woman. When he looked at my full beard and hesitated, I told him I haven’t had the surgery, but I identify as a woman. Apparently, the TSA actually has a procedure for this, since I got a woman and a privacy screen. She was not happy, and a little rougher than she needed to be.

Please join me in messing with the TSA’s fake security. Maybe we’ll save some money and implement useful security instead.


Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • Rounded corners in CSS There lots of ways to create rounded corners with CSS, but they always require lots of complex HTML and CSS. This is simpler.
  • The mouse and me Not only is the mouse very destructive, but it's evaded all attempts to capture or kill it so far.
  • Embrace the medium The Web is different than print, television, or any other medium. To be successful, designers must embrace those differences.
  • Let it go Netscape 4 is six years old.
  • Newly Digital Newly Digital is an experimental writing project. I've asked 11 people to write about their early experiences with computing technology and post their essays on their weblogs. So go read, enjoy, and then contribute. This collection is open to you. Write up your own story, and then let the world know about it.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

Recently

Product Manager Career Ladder (Aug 19)
What are the steps along the product management career path?
Building the Customer-Informed Product (Aug 15)
Strong products aren't composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.
Assumptions and project planning (Feb 18)
When your assumptions change, it's reasonable that your project plans and needs change as well. But too many managers are afraid to go back and re-work a plan that they've already agreed to.
Feature voting is harmful to your product (Feb 7)
There's a lot of problems with using feature voting to drive your product.
Encouraging 1:1s from other managers in your organization (Jan 4)
If you’re managing other managers, encourage them to hold their own 1:1s. It’s such an important tool for managing and leading that everyone needs to be holding them.
One on One Meetings - a collection of posts about 1:1s (Jan 2)
A collection of all my writing on 1:1s
Are 1:1s confidential? (Jan 2)
Is the discussion that occurs in a 1:1 confidential, even if no agreed in the meeting to keep it so?
Skip-level 1:1s are your hidden superpower (Jan 1)
Holding 1:1s with peers and with people far below you on the reporting chain will open your eyes up to what’s really going on in your business.

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

Twitter, etc: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2019 Adam Kalsey.