Opinion: How necessary are airport procedures?

Digital Journal

After almost a decade of 9/11-related fear at airports, new safety measures are being scrutinized more than ever before. When traveling by air this holiday season, people will be subject to one of two things: a full-body scan or an invasive pat-down.

There are positive and negatives to both of them, but both seem to teeter on the edge of our fourth amendment rights as American citizens.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to defend the safety of its full body scanners, despite allegations of high radiation, and inappropriate use of photos taken by the scanner. On the other hand, if one refuses to go through the full body scanner, they will be subject to an invasive pat down from a TSA agent.

It is no debate that airport security is one of the most pressing topics facing America today. The debate concerns the safety procedures being used and if they are actually successful or not.

Many are not happy about the policy, and feel they are being violated by the TSA at checkpoints.

A statement from the TSA said: “TSA is in the process of implementing new pat-down procedures at checkpoints nationwide as one of our many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe.

Pat-downs are one important tool to help TSA detect hidden and dangerous items such as explosives. Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, among others.”

In any other circumstance, these pat-downs would be considered illegal and abusive. The fourth amendment of the constitution states that we have the right “against unreasonable searches and seizures”.

These pat downs are unreasonable, because of their intrusive nature. The fear of terrorism is not probable cause to touch and feel somebody around their privates.

There is no just reason for every single passenger coming through the airport to be subject to either an invasive pat-down, or a full body image scanner, that violates people by intruding on their privacy by taking revealing pictures of passengers, which is just as much a violation of the fourth amendment as the pat downs.

There are many other systems that could be used in place of the body scanners and pat downs. Most widely used in Israel, the “profiling” system.

Instead of objective procedures such as screening passengers, TSA representatives would ask passengers simple questions, to determine if passengers are telling the truth or lying.

It is a simple procedure that has made Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel one of the safest airports in the world. The only problem with this system is that people would immediately accuse the TSA of racial profiling, and we know that is the last thing the government wants, with there already being racial profiles of terrorists.

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