ACLU Plans Lawsuit Over Welfare Drug Test...

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by FetePerfection, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    That's okay, I describe myself as a right wing nutjob, and I have have all the trappings to prove it (drive a big gas guzzling pickup truck, a lot of guns but I don't hunt, etc.) :D It's interesting to me how an overreaching DHS/TSA is really an apolitical issue. ;)

    I know of a lawyer that is just waiting for the right instance when he will take the TSA to court. Would it be advisable that he not do that? His background is in patent law, FWIW.
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  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I don't think TSA collectively is bright enough to think that far ahead. I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm being sincere. I don't believe they had that plan from the get-go.

    I do believe that they (meaning, primarily Pistole) always relied on "testing" -- it's not a new technique, I'm not saying anything particularly revelatory, it's used all the time for all sorts of things -- test how much of x, y, or z people will put up with. Push it incrementally. Test again. And thus you progress.

    When passengers in Boston and Las Vegas proved they would put up with the full-on gropes in early 2010, Pistole surmised, correctly, that the rest of the country would, too. The national roll-out was even moved up. It had been intended for January 1, 2011. Instead, it was November 1, 2010. And now, you have people actually claiming, in all seriousness, that the gropes, assaults, instances of abuse are "no big deal." It's stunning.
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  3. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Well, lots of people have tried, are trying -- Phil Mocek, Jon Corbett, all the people whose names I can't remember now but who are in the Master Lists.
  4. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Yeah, my confidence in the American public is low too. But I haven't given up hope. More and more people are getting fed up - I keep hearing more people say they are driving and not flying (I've stopped flying too). I don't know where the tipping point is, but I believe there is one.

    Did you get your questions answered in a satisfactory way by people on the panel? Just curious.
  5. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Yeah, I think this is right.

    The thing that jumps out at me though is that they tried this back around 2004. It was similar to now although I think the trigger for a body search (done with a wand and hands) was alarming the WTMD. They'd molest kids too. My organization did a FOIA request a year later for the stuff that went on in 2004 and the biggest complaint then was 'stop molesting my kids' followed closely by complaints about having to remove shoes. I thought that the gropes would be a bigger issue than the shoes, but I was wrong. But anyway, the search process was dialed back in less than a year.

    I don't know what's different now than in 2004 - change from Hawley to Pistole?

    It really is.
  6. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Yeah, and I go left, left, left. You and I probably meet somewhere in the middle. ;) Privacy issues, information privacy issues, are like that - conservatives, liberals, libertarians - they all tend to agree on this stuff. We get some great coalitions that way.

    I think he should talk to someone (like EPIC, or a group like that) when his perfect case comes up. Patent law isn't going to help him here, and privacy law has a steep learning curve, particularly if you're going to litigate there.
  7. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Wasn't 2004 the year of the "breast exams" that so many women were forced to endure? If so, it was the vast number of complaints that brought that to a halt, although the TSA insisted right up to the bitter end that there were only a handful of complaints.
  8. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I can tell you this: airline forecasts for Fall are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down. There is, of course, a confluence of reasons. I think the once-a-year, it's no big deal why are you complaining flyers got a taste of it and won't be back until it's done. It'll be interesting to see what happens around Thanksgiving this year.
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  9. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I had no idea. No idea. This is eye-opening.

    I do remember Maureen Dowd writing about this in the NYT -- I saved it -- and at the time I thought she was being targeted by the Bush admin for her many critical columns. I had no idea lots of women were getting groped. In any case, I didn't discount her experience, and had I known so many other women were experiencing the same thing, I wouldn't have discounted them, either, which is more than I can say for the know-nothings, security cheerleaders, and naysayers out there today.

    Nah. I can't remember the specifics, but it was all mushed together in subsequent questions/discussions. Wait -- I do remember a different ACLU guy in the audience, not on the panel, saying they needed an eyewitness, someone who'd been stopped and searched in the DC Metro who was willing to come forward publicly with name, details, etc. One guy in the audience, a young black man, early 20s, law school student, had been stopped and searched. And even though he was in law school and knew his rights, he was, understandably, intimidated, and submitted to the search.

    Irony of ironies: the strip-search scanners were proposed during the Bush admin -- they were ready to go -- and it was decided that neither Congress nor the public would put up with them. I have the source for this info somewhere in my files. Can dig it up, though it'll take awhile.
  10. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Yup. That was the year.

    And there were a lot of complaints. I have my FOIA results to back it up.
  11. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I'd really love to get some good numbers. How bad do you think it has to get before the airlines start standing up for their customers?
  12. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The airline execs have to pull their heads up of the sand first. For example, Delta CEO Richard Anderson is on record as stating that TSA does a great job. Passenger screening is a cost center that they've almost completely shifted to federal government.
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  13. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    The Air Transport Association just loves the fact that screening costs are now borne by the government, however Jeff Smisek, CEO of UA/CO has been candid with his displeasure at the TSA at events attended by frequent flyers.
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  14. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I thought the strip-search machines were discussed even before Bush, actually back during the Clinton administration. At the time, it was the FAA that believed their use would never be accepted by the public.

    ETA: I am more convinced than ever that the Christmas Day incident was a set-up in order to get the machines installed in airports.
  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I now believe that anything -- anything -- will be accepted by the public. I have heard with my own ears and read with my own eyes people saying they would tolerate cavity searches. Hyperbole? Not for lots of people. They would tolerate cavity searches. "As long as it keeps us safe!" And, incidentally, as long as it happens to "someone else."
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  16. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    It is really, really difficult to pull this data out. For instance, we once had a HUGE drop on a specific market where one end was our hub, the other was a different airline's hub. We also had a number of corporate accounts in that other hub that were loyal to us, but didn't necessarily fly that particular route. It was noticeable, obvious, and extremely easy to identify. So we called our contacts and found out that not only had the other airline become very aggressive in rewards to the individual flyers, they had also added several nonstops to the final destination that flew over our hub where previously the schedule, fare, and perks had made stopping in our hub a better "deal" overall. That's why back when this nonsense started that I advocated for a sustained letter writing effort so when the bookings dropped, someone could connect the dots. I've been pushing some of my old contacts to go find that data, but alas they are spared most of this nonsense as airline employees and therefore think it's all overblown.

    Likewise, the economy's in the tank, fuel is edging up again, businesses are trying not to lay people off (some actually are) and so travel is usually the first thing cut to stanch the bleeding.

    In my first example that data is easy to see and easy to research. Now with so many factors you can't risk pinning it all on TSA as an airline manager, though in your heart and soul you may know it to be true.

    I have also related how the total liquid ban had an immediate, obvious effect. No one could have liquids, so trips of around 1000 miles or less, which in our bread and butter markets at the time were "day trips" absolutely nosedived. They did so immediately. No other big factors were in play at the time so we could lobby internally, and then to TSA, to relax the ban.

    Any drop in bookings due to scope and grope has been gradual. I predict, however, that enough people will avoid flying through the fall and winter, which are traditionally light anyway, that maybe it will catch someone's attention.

    And that right there is the biggest problem with this whole charade.
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  17. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

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  18. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    I remember 2004! I flew about 65K miles that year, and would often intentionally wear a suit jacket over a camisole to the airport so that they couldn't make me take it off because the jacket was my primary garment. I loves me my snotty fashionista civil disobedience ...

    Oh, and BTW, I'm on board with liberals giving up the word too, so we "classical liberals" (read: libertarians) can reclaim the word's original, and still used in Europe, meaning :D!
    Sunny Goth likes this.
  19. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    Apologies for getting all techie, but don't you guys do some pretty sophisticated econometric and statistical analysis to analyze fare and traffic data, and for setting fare structures? If I had the data I could come up with a model like

    traffic on route X = f(own fare on X, competing fares on X, own other routes to dest, competing other routes to dest, #ownFF, own rewards, competing rewards, month indicator, holiday indicator, TSA indicator)

    Then I could decompose the effect and isolate the estimate of the TSA effect. Estimating this model would be tricky because of the complexity of the air travel network, but there are econometrics whizzes hired by the airlines all the time to do this.
  20. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Wow, really informative. Thanks for that.

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