I have never been a BlackBerry user and if I have my way, I will never be one. The recent pandering to the Saudi government over data monitoring is just one more arrow in my quiver of reasons not to support Research in Motion by buying their products.
Now, I am not naive, I know the U.S. government has policies in place to monitor phone and internet traffic, but I do not see them bullying companies to turn over the data. Instead, they’re sly and probably employ a large number of hackers to help them monitor the airwaves. What bothers me about Saudi Arabia is their need to push the issue of monitoring under the guise of “safety” rather than what they really want, which is to know what their citizens are doing when they are not being watched in public. Sharia is the law of the land and as such, personal freedom takes a back seat to governmental moral “clarity” and cleansing. In plain terms, this ability to monitor BlackBerry traffic is going to be used not just to watch for terrorist activity but to enforce Sharia
A few weekends ago I took a trip to Quito, Ecuador and was subjected to the displeasure of the newest addition to the TSA’s anti-terrorism toolbox; The full body scanner.
The full body scanners do exactly that, they scan the entire body, through the clothing to produce a near naked image for a TSA employee to ponder over before letting the traveler go about their business.
There is only one such scanner currently at IAH and it is in Terminal E.
On the day that I was flying, the traffic through Terminal E was light so everyone was being subjected to the full body scan. There was no signage anywhere explaining what the scanner was, people were just being directed into the device and told to “raise your hands in the air”.
Knowing what the machine was and what job it performed, I let the agent know that I would “opt-out” and preferred the personal screening. I assumed that this would be done like it has always been done, behind a screen out of the public eye. Nope, not this time. The pat-down was more thorough than a doctor during a physical and was performed right out in the open in front of everyone walking by.
This is unacceptable, plain and simple. It was quite obvious that they were trying to test the machine during a lull in the crowd and were using the pat down as an embarrassment tool to persuade me into going through the machine next time.
We are sacrificing our freedoms in the name of security and it’s irresponsible.
Next time, I’ll just go through Terminal C and avoid the unwanted feel-up by the TSA.
Where I was and what I was doing that morning is unimportant and irrelevant when compared to the events that transpired. Our world changed eight years ago today. May we not forget the day or the innocent men and women who perished.