Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by RB, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Four-day classroom course??? And 24 hours of on-the-job training??? Are you (expletive deleted) kidding me??

    Abuse, abuse, abuse. Stupidity, stupidity, stupidity. Harassment, harassment, harassment. Expect more of all of it:

    I can see I'm going to be busy today leaving comments at all these newspapers.

    Oh, and by the way, another theft. I can't keep up with these, but I think Bill F is:
    FetePerfection likes this.
  2. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    Check this out from today's Boston Herald:

    Under the SPOT program, as passengers hand over their boarding passes and identification, specially trained agents will ask three to four questions — from “Where have you been?” to “Do you have a business card?” and “Where are you traveling?” — while looking for “micro expressions,” such as lack of eye contact, that might hint at nefarious intent.

    This whole "micro-expression" thing was marketed by the con man Paul Ekman, and the technical term for it is "voodoo B.S." Of course, like every grifter, Ekman has a schtick, per Wikipedia:

    Ekman no longer publishes details of his recent work in peer-reviewed journals, asserting that this is a deliberate strategy to avoid aiding scientists in countries that the United States considers a potential threat.
  3. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    BDO: Where are you flying today?
    Me: I have nothing to say to you. Am I free to go?
    BDO: Where did you come from?
    Me: I have nothing to say to you. Am I free to go?

    Ad nauseum.
  4. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Since you have an insider's perspective, what's their take on passengers giving BDOs the silent treatment?

    As I'm none too fond of admitting, but as is still relevant (as much as I wish it weren't), I'm on the autism spectrum. I do NOT like talking to anyone I'm not familiar with, and even then I'm uncomfortable with prolonged social contact. You can ask my girlfriend and our housemate - after long days out I'm known to retreat to my office and immerse myself in something solitary. In short, I value my ability and my right to be left alone and ignored. If a BDO came up to me wanting to talk, I'd be highly inclined to ignore them or offer terse responses like "busy reading now" and refuse to talk more. I don't want to assume any particular level of knowledge on your part but based on what you do know, what do you suppose the outcome of that would be?

    Also, what is a BDO likely to do if an uncomfortable pax calls the police because of the BDO's harrassment of that pax? There was a report of someone (chollie?) being followed into a bathroom by a particularly shameless BDO. I can see how this would make a LOT of people VERY uncomfortable and could easily lead to the police being called.
  5. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    There's talk on lots of newspaper forums about this -- people asking about the reaction to autism, to Asperger's, to anyone who's "sweating" or simply shy, etc. This whole ludicrous, obnoxious program is a recipe for more abuse.

    Pistole and Napolitano should be criminally charged. They are out-Orwelling Orwell, and bragging about it. And all over America, millions of people are just fine with it.
  6. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I wouldn't even bother with the "am I free to go?" part. They are not cops and can't detain you, so of course you are free to go.
  7. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    Metal detectors, hand wands, hardened cockpit doors and willingness of the passengers to resist have and will prevent another 9/11. Right now we are talking about a single aircraft becoming destroyed, like India Air or the Lockerbie incident. Bad enough as it goes. But Lockerbie was a checked bag incident, not sure about India Air. Nothing in this Spot Program does anything about that. There needs to be intelligence work done before the would-be terrorist gets to the airport. But by the time he's waiting in line for some stupid question about whether he has a business card, it will be far far too late as we see from the numerous attacks on airport terminals.
    Lisa Simeone and barbell like this.
  8. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    You know, ever since the introduction of "the pat down", I dread going to the airport, even when I know I can get in a NoS-free line. Case in point, a certain large midwestern hub that at least half of our founding members use on a regular basis has 3 checkpoints completely devoid of NoS, though they seem to do random groping, which appears to be rather limited in quantity. It is also obvious that in the lines that lead only to WTMD, the queue is teaming with BDOs who stare in an intimidating fashion at those in line. I do everything I can not to make eye contact.

    Regardless, with the new and "improved" procedures, though I know my way around an airport, though I have no fear of flying whatsoever, when I am en route to the airport, my heart pounds, I break out in a cold sweat, I become non-communicative, and I rush through the process so as to get over, never making eye contact with anyone. This new program is likely to single me out every time. Lovely.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  9. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    Soon as they say I'm not free to go, I have them detaining me, which is against their charter. And fodder for me when I sue the pants off them.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Same here -- it's the crotch & breast exams that kill it for us. When I saw the look on my wife's face after her first (and last) Grope & Poke on Nov. 1, I knew it was over for us. There are more pleasant ways to spend our time & see things.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  11. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Let's look at the bright side: this means that even more people are going to get the sexual assault grope and, truthfully, that can be only a good thing. The more people who are groped, the more converts to realizing that it's all for naught.
    barbell and Lisa Simeone like this.
  12. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Doober, I have to agree. The more people like me and Mike who refuse to fly, the smaller the pool of people who are flying. And the smaller the pool, the more likely those people are to experience the TSA up close and personal. As that group grows, the louder the objections. And the louder the objections, the better the chance we have of ending this farce.
    lkkinetic likes this.
  13. BillForster

    BillForster Original Member

    I wish I had a straight forward answer for you, but honestly it depends on a lot of factors.

    The best case scenario is that the BDOs are smart enough to realize that they are dealing with someone with (with respect to you) a "problem." However I suspect this will not be the case most of the time. As I am to understand it, there are basically three ways these people are trained. 1) In a classroom setting by TSOs and teachers who get the information in "packets" from headquarters. These are the same people who teach every other class on every other subject. From reading the x-ray to sexual harassment in the work place classes. 2) Online courses. The online courses are incredibly dumbed down. What's more, they are designed in such a way that a student can just click off each page, reach the end, get all the questions wrong and move on to the next online class. There are THOUSANDS of these. My favorite is the one about washing my hands after using the bathroom. I had to take that one about 8 times. Finally, 3) From on the job training. Meaning, from other BDOs who learned from both 1) and 2). My point is, if an actual behavior expert is involved in anyway, it's at the early point drafting up the class "packet."

    These people are not really prepared to ANYTHING out of the normal.

    They are taught two things. When people act normal there is no threat. When people act strange it IS a threat. So by ignoring them, or telling them that you are "free to go" is only going to make them go into "threat" mode.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Tell them you only do this kind of stuff through Vulcan mind melds. You only get into mine if I get into yours. :D

    So a good way to protest & obstruct things (perhaps even better than waiting to see if you get to opt out of the Nude-O-Scope) might just be to ignore the spotniks? Several people pushing their buttons could make for an interesting afternoon at a checkpoint:
    • Ignore the spotniks. If they persist, just hand them a wallet-sized copy of the Bill of Rights. Offer to sit down with them right then & there for an exegesis of the entire Constitution.
    • Recording devices running, both conspicuous & distrete (keep a copy of the relevant TSA policy in your shirt pocket)
    • Apply a generous portion of glycerine-based hand lotion to various part of your body & handle your carryons before it's dry (or even lather a bit on your laptop case :D )
    • Refuse the Nude-O-Scope
    • Anything else?
    Once you clear, as long as time permits, exit & repeat at a different checkpoint. :D
    Lisa Simeone and BillForster like this.
  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    According to the Boston Globe, they get 4 days of classroom training and 24 hours of on-the-job training. That's it. Then they're unleashed on the public. Police detectives take years to hone their observational skills. Yet these people are going to do it in a few days. God help us.
    FaustsAccountant, barbell and Doober like this.
  16. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    Oh this sounds like its going to be a wonderful experience. Glad I'm not flying in/out of Boston anytime soon.
    barbell likes this.
  17. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    But it's all coming to an airport near you, no matter where you fly. They also "tested" the gropes at Boston and Las Vegas before they did their "national roll-out." Everything is carefully done to see how much crap people will put up with, and then it spreads.
  18. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    barbell likes this.
  19. FriendlySkies

    FriendlySkies Member

    Care to accept several TUGers that want to flee TSA & become citizens in Australia? ;)

    As far as the SPOTters, I'll just keep my mouth shut. I see no law that requires me to make conversation with them.
  20. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    And this is not unusual for most corporate training courses, as well. Heck, even my graduate school used the online method, though we had to get answers correct or fail a course. It didn't stop people from sharing answers, but I digress.

    This "learning from a packet" on such a skill that really only works in the best of people with the best of intentions is not the way to handle this program.

    And here's the rub: in a population of people who have already been trained to suspect every person they encounter, who must stop at nothing to prevent another 9/11!, I imagine very few people will get the "all clear." I don't see this as a way to move people away from NoS/grope. I see it as yet another encumberence thrown an a mostly innocent populace.

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