Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Posts Tagged ‘security

Scanners = child porn?

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A little dramatic?  Not according to one mother in the USA.

The scanner debate in the USA continues to heat up as reported in The Australian today.  Search YouTube and there is an abundance of anger and fear about not only the scanners, but the “enhanced” pat-downs.

This woman was very (and I believe very rightly) perturbed when her 12 year-old daughter was put through the scanner.  Watching this YouTube video, I learnt more about the technology I didn’t know.  It is disturbing.  The TSA are in a locked room until the images are deleted.  So in other words, their behaviour while in that room is hidden – or are the TSA agents also monitored?  The whole thing starts to become rather scary if you think too much about it.

Yesterday I asked the question about safety.  The above linked article from The Australian reports several people are asking the same questions:

Some opponents of the scanners claim they pose a health risk, despite checks carried out by the Food and Drug Administration and Johns Hopkins University.

They point to a letter from four scientists at the University of California, who wrote to the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy expressing “serious concerns about the potential health risks” and calling for a new “independent evaluation”.

While we in Australia may look on and think “only in America”, how long before we have to submit Australians to the same procedures in order to fly a plane into the USA?  I recall going to the USA shortly after 9/11.  I left from Melbourne Airport.  I had to go through additional American security at the gate before boarding.  While that was dropped some time later, don’t be surprised if something similar is on the horizon.

Don’t think I’ll be flying to the USA again any time soon.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

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We are being profiled?

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Poll Source: The Age http://www.theage.com.au

OK, so it was a busy day for me and I only just got to glance at the paper now – after 1am in the morning.  What am I greeted with?  The news that the two main political parties are profiling voters.  Here is a snippet of the article.

It shows how Labor campaign workers have access to details of private lives of voters, including information people may have intended to share only with the offices of local MPs. Database entries seen by The Age include details of a family’s concern about an East Malvern man’s prostate cancer, a man’s financial problems after he purchased a gaming agency, a Brighton family’s complaint about superannuation payments, and details of a woman’s victims of crime compensation claim.

The major parties have different versions of the software – Electrac for the ALP and Feedback for the Liberals – enabling the creation of detailed, cross-referenced files on constituents.

Now, while I know public servants have access to a lot of personal information: The Health Department knows what operations I’ve had and when I go to the Doctor, the Tax Department knows how much I earn, what I do and where I work (and have worked in the past), the Immigration Department currently know more about me than any government department should know: the list goes on.  The article indicates that the information is not coming from government departments – let us all hope that is definitely the case.

I do not expect that information about me from any source that I have not personally authorised will be available to political party campaigners or to candidates that have not yet been elected.  Even elected ones should not have access to private information in this way.   What is going on here?  The article goes on to quote a constituent:

Sam Waszaj, of Travancore, near Flemington, expressed dismay that his correspondence with a federal minister about Medicare funding for late abortions led to a database entry.

”The minister wrote back to me and said Labor was happy to hear my concerns. But they never said to me, ‘Oh, by the way, we will store this on a big database’,” Mr Waszaj said.

This is what the KGB used to do. Who has access to this information? How will it be used in the future?”

Sam asks some very good questions.  I’d like to know the answers too, as I am sure would a lot of other people.  The poll above indicates 91% of those choosing to participate in the poll did not approve.

On my Personal Site I asked were we really “Moving Forward” to 1984.   After reading this article, I’m seeing us get closer to 1984 every day!

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 23, 2010 at 1:37 am

What is it with Kyle?

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Picture: Robyne Cuerel Source: The Daily Telegraph

Trust me, it hurts me more to write this than it hurts you to read it.  Why would I even bother reading about someone so, so, so …… words fail me.

This man gets in more trouble than he is worth, yet networks still put him on screen and some daft radio station in New South Wales keeps paying him.  Luckily I can avoid him – most of the time.

This latest escapade is nothing short of “spoilt brat” syndrome.  “Oh, but my RENTED $300,000 Maserati might get a little sqwatch if I don’t have protection.”

Not to mention one has to question the rationale his uncle used in convincing himself to agree to this stupidity.  

Few hints about real life, Kyle:

  1. Don’t hire a $300,000 vehicle if you can’t afford the insurance!
  2. Don’t hire a $300,000 vehicle if you think it is unsuitable for the job at hand!
  3. Don’t go squandering the tax payers’ money on your personal indulgences!
  4. Being a B List ( C List even?) celebrity does not get you the level of privilege to which you clearly aspire.

Unbelievable.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Airport security – where DO we draw the line?

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This is an interesting problem. In case you can’t be bothered clicking on that link, a woman claims she was asked to remove and show her breast prosthesis during an “enhanced” pat-down.  The article explains an “enhanced” pat-down includes a “frisk” of one’s private parts.

On the face of it, I can understand we need security measures to take into account any prosthesis a passenger may have.  After all, should one be of an inclination to do so, one could hide all sorts of things in a prosthetic leg, arm or breast.  However, perhaps we can do it a little more discretely and with some compassion for the person.

This whole “enhanced” thing seems to be creating a bit of a stir.  Let’s look at another report, which has resulted in legal action.

“As the TSA agent was frisking plaintiff, the agent pulled the plaintiff’s blouse completely down, exposing plaintiffs’ breasts to everyone in the area,” the lawsuit said.

This was during “extended search procedures”.  Enhanced, extended – whatever!  She was 23 – I’m sure the TSA agent would not have been as keen to pull open my blouse (age has some benefits, I see).

Both of the above situations were in the USA, but how long before Australia follows the leader?  Besides, airline security really is an international responsibility these days – can we have different policies and procedures in different countries and still have effective security?

While no, I do not want to be in a plane that explodes half way across the Atlantic or the Pacific and yes, I do expect our governments to provide suitable security measures to prevent such an event, I do not expect to be embarrassed or humiliated during a screening process.  Surely frisking of private parts can be reserved for those where a real suspicion exists (based on initial investigations of a less intrusive nature), not just for the average traveller.  Is there any age limit on this particular type of frisking is one question that springs to mind.  What about children travelling unaccompanied?  Are they to be subjected to this?

Where do we draw the line?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if at some point a class action was launched in relation to airport security based on civil rights enshrined in the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights.  That covenant protects the individual, for example: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.”  Being picked out at random for an extended or enhanced (take your pick) search is surely arbitrary?  It is definitely interference with one’s privacy, although it could be argued not unlawful interference as the search is “required” by law.

Where do we draw the line?

Written by Robyn Dunphy

November 21, 2010 at 1:35 am