Civil Rights, Dignity, and the Constitution
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.
Background and Issues
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began deploying 450 units of advanced imaging technology (AIT) with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2010.
- Commonly referred to as full body scanner technology, AIT produces images of the body using two different systems.
- Millimeter Wave AIT uses non-ionizing radio frequency energy in the millimeter spectrum to generate a three-dimensional image of the body based on the energy reflected from the body.
- Backscatter X-ray AIT uses a narrow, low-energy x-ray beam that scans the surface of the body at a high speed. The machine generates an image resembling a chalk etching. The image is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis to determine whether objects are present.
- The scanner virtually strips the traveler and generates a nude image of his or her body.
- In addition to humiliation, being bombarded with radiation or radio waves poses health risks to travelers.
- The only alternative is choosing an invasive search of your whole body sometimes reaching inside pants, skirts, and underwear touching breasts, genitals, and buttocks.
- Some travelers are forced to submit to these offensive searches at will or randomly even if you prefer to be scanned.
- If you find these procedure too egregious for yourself or your family, you cannot refuse to submit to a search or wish to leave, without risk of being restrained, searched without consent, or arrested and fined up to $10,000.
Treating Travelers as Criminal Suspects
In recognition of these protections I have filed three pieces of legislation:
- HB 1937 would make it a crime in Texas for a person to touch specific private areas of the body during a search unless there is probable cause to believe the person committed an offense.
- HB 1938 would prohibit whole body scanners that depict the “virtual strip” images in airports in Texas.
- HCR 80 is a concurrent resolution expressing the Legislature’s strong opposition to unwarranted and unreasonable searches by TSA and urging the administration to cease them immediately.
For additional information on the atrocities committed in the screening process, please see the following sites:
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