Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Probably Never Happen

Many (most?) police departments have taken to recording interactions with the public. It helps provide proof that the law enforcement officer (LEO) was acting professionally when there's questions about inappropriate conduct or police brutality. In theory, it's a great idea. In practice, it still has its flaws (e.g., when there's accusations of wrongdoing and videos go "missing", are "damaged" or there were recording equipment "malfunctions"), but it's a start down the right path.

Right now, the TSA's in the middle of a growing backlash over their increasingly invasive "security" measures. These days, the TSA wants you to be irradiated while holding a "I'm being mugged" pose so that some government drone can look at, essentially, naked pictures of you. As an "alternative", they have been offering people the option of being given a pat-down.

When this started, the pat-down was fairly innocuous. However, too many people were choosing the option, thus defeating the point of billions of dollars in purchases of expensive, "sexy" machines. The TSA wasn't too fond of people opting out of their security theatre, so they decided to make the pat-down an option too unpleasant to consider. They directed their glorified Barney Fifes to conduct pat-downs that, outside of a government-sanctioned context, would be considered sexual assault.

Now, it seems to me that, given what they've put in place, they really should consider the LEO-esque video-taping of such interactions. That way, if a case ever went to criminal or civil proceedings, the TSA agents would be able to provide proof of no wrong-doing in the form of video tapes. I'm guessing, however, that this will never happen. The TSA knows, all too well, that if a case ever went to court, such video tapes would be damning rather than vindicating.

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