The continuing adventures of the Freedom Fondle and the nerve of some who choose to opt-out
Traveling to and from the USA, even for US citizens is a challenge. I’m getting used to the “random” SSSS on my boarding pass, intrusive and wholly inappropriate questions about my work, employer, ethnicity and religion. The accusations of carrying a fake passport because I have an “accent” or otherwise known as traveling whilst Hispanic in the USA. I travel with limited clothing as I expect them to be ripped or otherwise destroyed in-front of my eyes, again by Customs and Boarder Patrol. I stopped carrying anything which could even remotely be confused with the Arabic language. I travel with very limited, encrypted data. My family expects detainment and knows to contact a USA attorney if I don’t check in quickly enough after landing. Today was a new one and rather unexpected. I forgot to expect the unexpected with the TSA.
I opt-out when I’m traveling within the United States. This isn’t an option when flying from Europe to the USA due to an underwear obsessed, idiotic terrorist; but it is and a right whilst traveling within the USA boarders. As per usual I arrived in plenty of time for my flight, checked-in and got in the security theater TSA line for the shredding of my 4th amendment rights. As I approached the full body scanner I politely informed the male officer I wished to opt-out. Without engaging with any other ancillary officers, I waited patently to be freedom fondled in full public view. Standing up for your rights sometimes involves strangers groping my private parts, and I can live with that.
The female TSA officer by the scanner decided to loudly voice her option of those who opt-out. Standing by the full body, 4th amendment dissolving scanner. She explained to her male co-worker at a volume all in the area could clearly hear. A rant on how “all these criminals, so-called hackers, are a bunch of useless posers who should be in a jail cell not flying or pulling their BS by opting out”. For a few minutes she continued to spew her utter ignorance in an attempt to intimidate and humiliate me. I had no choice but to listen, the other passengers being screened had to as well. I wore no identifiable “hacker” shirt, just glasses and my usual pile of technology. My jacket was from an off-Broadway play, Avenue Q and I wore glasses. I guess glasses, computers and opting out is now a sure sign you are a criminal hacker that should be thrown into jail. I must have looked dangerous in my -7.00 bottle thick glasses!
Hopefully the situation will have a somewhat happy ending. When my freedom fondling by a different TSA officer began. I explained I wished to file a complaint, in writing, as soon as her glove was off. I was sent to a very understanding and sympathetic supervisor. After explaining I had absolutely no verbal or other engagement with the verbally abusive officer. I was given a form, the officer’s full name and a very friendly verbal acknowledgment that no TSA officer should act in such a verbally abusive manner. As many of the passengers on my flight heard the comments whilst being screened. I didn’t have to engage in any flight chit-chat. An added bonus for being labeled a criminal prior to boarding an airplane (?)
Not all the TSA are bad, just enough to taint the organization and cause disrepute to the actual honest hard-working agents. Hopefully my written complaint will be taken. Hackers are not criminals, nor are those who opt out. Those in government positions which chose to openly attempt to intimidate people into giving up their rights are.