Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Security Theater

TSA uniform

The Intercept reports that the TSA, who is supposed to be looking after our transportation systems, has moved into theme parks looking for terrorists.

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration’s embattled $900 million behavior detection program, called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is not just used at airports. It’s also used at theme parks.

TSA has trained security teams from SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens to use the same checklist of behavior indicators, which includes “wearing a disguise,” “whistling,” “exaggerated yawning” and “excessive laughter,” according to interviews and documents obtained by The Intercept.

In March, The Intercept published the now widely ridiculed 92-item checklist of behavior indicators used by TSA’s behavior detection officers at airports around the country. The SPOT program, now referred to by TSA as the Behavior Detection Analysis program, has been the subject of several audits and reviews by oversight agencies and congressional committees, which have criticized the program’s methodology and scientific basis.

The SPOT program has never been effective, no matter what name they want to call it. The GAO said it didn’t work in 2011. The DHS Inspector General said it was useless and ineffective in 2013. It has failed to identify any terrorists and has been under scrutiny since its inception having failed to ever improve.

“They have plainclothes people at SeaWorld and Disney doing the same behavior detection, looking for the same indicators we look for at the airport,” a source told The Intercept.

Apparently, just stepping inside a Disney theme park makes you a terrorist. If you go there, don’t have fun. Anything you say or do will probably put you on a list somewhere.

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Known as Stingrays, the FBI has admitted to using cell phone towers to track you. Their usual response includes they must do this to catch terrorists, pedophiles and missing children.

The press conference actually occurred back in October, but the video didn’t surface until this weekend and hadn’t been reported on until the Charlotte Observer’s excellent investigation into the use of Stingrays by local police was published on Sunday.

Stingrays work by allowing police to track the movement of a suspect, and are often used without a warrant, which was recently declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.

Comey also said that the agency has “nothing to hide” from “good people,” but that secrecy is important if Stingrays are going to be effective. Comey doesn’t note, however, that, in trying to track down any one “bad person,” the agency law enforcement necessarily tracks the locations of everyone within a wide geographic radius, thanks to the way the technology works.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has said that every year, millions of good people are getting wrapped up in a surveillance dragnet they didn’t ask to be involved in.

“The devices wrap up innocent people, which looks like a dragnet search that’s not legal under the Fourth Amendment,” Nate Wessler, a staff attorney for the ACLU, recently told me. “Even if they’re tracking a specific suspect, they’re getting info about every bystander. That’s a concern.”

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Samuel Bryant of Brooklyn Park was charged with sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense. (Anne Arundel police photo)

Samuel Bryant of Brooklyn Park was charged with sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense. (Anne Arundel police photo)

Yet another TSA employee has been arrested on sex abuse charges.

Samuel Bryant, 40, was charged with sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense.

Bryant is accused of inappropriately touching a 14-year-old girl on three occasions at his Brooklyn Park home on Jan. 5. The girl told a sibling about the alleged abuse on Feb. 4,and the sibling told their mother, according to charging documents.

Attorney Peter O’Neill, who is representing Bryant, said his client “vehemently denies having any improper relationship or improper touching with this young lady.”

A TSA spokeswoman said early Wednesday afternoon the agency was terminating Bryant’s employment. Bryant later updated his social media page to say he is unemployed.

“These alleged crimes are egregious and intolerable,” said TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

O’Neill called the termination “wholly inappropriate.”

“That’s essentially convicting him before he has a chance to defend himself.”

Bryant was a lead transportation security officer for the TSA, according to his LinkedIn professional networking page. People in that position screen passengers, manage and train employees, and oversee the operations of TSA checkpoints, according to the TSA website.

Bryant had worked for the TSA since March 2004, according to his networking page.

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From TSA Watch:

We are seeking funds to start a National Watchdog Group that will force the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) to clean up their act.

We are a Citizen Watchdog Group, working to protect traveler rights and dignity from abuses by the TSA. We strive to ensure no violations go unreported and grievances are addressed and redressed.

Mission Statement: TSA Watch is a new membership organization being built to will serve the traveling public, American Citizens and Visitors, by working to ensure personal liberty is not sacrificed in the pursuit of national security. For the first time the public will work together in increasing numbers to watch the TSA and make sure all violations are reported. Members and other travelers will enjoy a centralized place to share their own complaints about the TSA, get help with filing official complaints with the TSA itself, and work together to seek redress of grievances and a halt to TSA’s worst patterns of violating human rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

Long Description:

TSA Watch will become the “go to” organization for Citizens and guests to address their concerns with the US Transportation Security Administration, the TSA.

For those who don’t know, the TSA is the organization that conducts most screening and searches of air travelers, and increasingly travelers of every modality.

While we prepare the infrastructure for the launch of our fully functional watchdog group, with all of it’s features, this Facebook page will serve as a forum for those who wish to share their TSA experiences publicly. We will also share news, videos and other information pertaining to TSA misbehavior.

Please feel free to share your tales of TSA mistreatment as comments, which will be curated and then made public.

Discussion:
Currently, there are numerous violations being reported in a haphazard manner across the Internet, but there is no one place to collect this information and do something about it. Complaints vary, but the top six areas of complaint include:

1. Lack of accomodation in security screening for travelers with documented medical conditions that routinely trigger in depth scans,
2. Theft of personal property,
3. Damage to personal property,
4. Sexual violations by TSA Agents groping the breasts, genitals, and other private areas of a person’s body,
5. Abusive language and attitude directed by the agents to people, and
6. Arbitrary delay of travelers making them miss their connections, which leads to lost work, happiness, and opportunity.

We will address these violations by:
1) creating TSA Watch, a new national membership organization
2) bringing to light the frequent violations of traveler’s person, property, and dignity currently made by TSA personnel,
3) by documenting patterns of these abuses,
4) by bringing further light through investigation of those TSA divisions and personal making the most egregious violations, and
5) bringing public scrutiny to these abuses through every medium we can.

The group has a go fund me page to raise support.

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In response to evolving terrorist threats, including non-metallic explosive devices and weapons, the U.S. TSA has adopted full-body scanners as the primary passenger screening method at nearly 160 airports nationwide at a cost exceeding $1 billion. Although full-body scanners play a critical role in transportation security, they have generated considerable controversy, including claims that the devices are unsafe, violate privacy and civil liberties, and are ineffective. Furthermore, these scanners are complex embedded systems that raise important computer security questions.

Despite such concerns, neither the manufacturers nor the government have disclosed enough technical details to allow for rigorous independent evaluation, on the grounds that such information could benefit attackers, or is a trade secret. To help advance the public debate, we purchased a government-surplus Rapiscan Secure 1000 full-body scanner and performed a detailed security evaluation of its hardware and software.

Source.

Video.

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