TSA Scans and Pat-Downs (and Personal Finance Links)

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Like many others, I have been outraged by the detail of the new TSA scanners. I found the advanced pat-downs just as outrageous. I understand the need for security, but I believe our right to privacy trumps that. We are slowly losing all our rights to privacy. You use a cell phone and the police can track your location. You fly and the TSA gets more action than I did in high school.

This week, I was flying with my wife and she got chosen for the security pat-down at the gate. This, despite the fact that we went through two sets of security checkpoints. They didn't have the X-Ray eye machine, so it was just the pat-down. She is the least suspicious person ever. I'm a thousand times more shady looking (and acting). I thought that when they found her military ID with sensitive clearance level, they'd move on. Instead they practically strip searched her at the gate.

Something is wrong here. I understand the need for security, but it's not like someone just invented the underwear bomb. Do you really think that people wanting to hide bombs, had never thought, "I'll hide it in the most private of places?" Are we going to need body cavity searches next? Surely it is possible to hide a bomb there, right?

So what's the solution? There is talk about having the computer only showing outlines of the body and potential foreign objects. Considering that the technology that we have with facial recognition is a million times more complex, this should be able to implemented in a couple of weeks. (I say this with confidence in my bachelor's education in computer science and my schools focus on AI). I say that we end the intrusive scans and pat-downs until we take those two weeks to improve the machines to give us the best of both worlds.

And now for the personal finance links.

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Links, Privacy

Last updated on November 19, 2010.

They Are All Out To Get Me…

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If it sounds like I'm paranoid, read on...

USA Today has an article about security checks getting a little too personal. I don't know about you, but if someone asks me questions that they shouldn't know the answers to, I'm not going to give them. I know it's fairly unlikely, but they could be using these checks to build up a collection of information. Today it might be my father-in-laws age, tomorrow maybe it's my favorite TV show.

This month CNBC is running a special about many of the privacy issues today, Big Brother, Big Business. If you have two hours and you get a chance, it's worth watching. The most surprising segment for me was where incorrect information on a background check cost Julia Hernandez, a single mother, her job. Without even thinking of these issues, I blogged about protecting your privacy on the web. Just today, Endless
appears to be dealing with the pain of identity theft. One way this could have been prevented is with the LifeLock service

With the elections fresh in my mind, it's hard to not think that we need to have people step up at a higher level to protect our information. We need some sort of legislation that allows individuals to control their own information and how it is used. Getting an annual free credit report is a great start, but it's the tip of the iceberg.

I realize that with this site, I'm putting even more information out there that I can never get back. My only real defense is that it would be fairly difficult to tie it to a name or a social security number. And even if it were easy, would anyone really care to know? So what do you think - are they all out to get you?

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Insurance, Privacy

Last updated on July 29, 2011.

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