15 November 2010

"Nothing to Hide" is Not the Point

You have all heard of the new body scanner being put into use at airports by the TSA. I am also sure you have all heard about the furor being raised whenever some poor innocent person requests to "opt out" of the electronic scan in exchange for a full body pat down that one male airline pilot has likened to a "sexual assault."

I marvel at how many people respond, in the comments sections of such articles, that people should voluntarily submit to this new electronic scanning because "What's the big deal, if you have nothing to hide?"

Yes, it is they who are ignorant of history who are currently repeating it.

"Nothing to hide" is hardly the point. Would you allow some strange TSA agent to do a body-cavity search if you have "nothing to hide"? Of course not. Would you want the police to come search your house without probable cause or a warrant if you have "nothing to hide"? Again, no. The point is, at least in this country, the implied freedom from unreasonable search and seizure as guaranteed under the fourth amendment to the constitution.

Is it reasonable to suspect that every person who flies is hiding explosive in his/her underwear? No, it is not. Is it reasonable to suspect that every person who flies is hiding an explosive in his/her shoe? Of course not.

While I totally get the need to exercise some level of passenger searches in an attempt to make airplane travel safer, I totally do not get how people are so willing to have their privacy violated and their innocence questioned under the apparently new legal standard of guilty until the full body scanner proves your innocence.

I am okeh, I suppose, with taking off my shoes, putting my wallet in the plastic bin, and my shampoo in a little baggie to let x-ray scanners do their thing. I am even okeh with the TSA employee "wanding" me with that metal detector just to get his rocks off. But until the TSA employee has some suspicion that I am a possible terrorist, I am not okeh with this full body scan.

And, no: I have nothing to hide.

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