Questions for Peter Pietra, TSA Chief Privacy Officer? Ask now!

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Sunny Goth, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    Sunny - I have some questions but my laptop is at home and most of my TSA stuff is there.

    I would just out of spite and if anything did happen to my luggague i would file suit against that idiot in such a manner that would make him think twice before he ever spoke like that again. you would think TSA dolts would think twice after that CBP officer got his (expletive deleted) handed to him in court (surprised hes not dead cause that stunt he pulled running the kid off the road) and all of his barring of people from the US are now under manditory review.

    Oh i would record all of that and be sure to post it, then as well as file a police complaint for terroristic threats at minimum and there are a few other pieces that could be thrown on top depending on my mood.
    AngryMiller likes this.
  2. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    I don't understand how Congress can give the head of the TSA powers the Congress does not possess. Congress can't create laws that don't pass Constitutional tests. How can Congress convey to the head of the TSA, or anyone for that matter, a privilege Congress doesn't enjoy?
    barbell, DeafBlonde and AngryMiller like this.
  3. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    They did it with a stroke of the pen. The congress critters, for the most part are unfamiliar with the finer aspects of the Constitution.
  4. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    Everything will be going up this weekend over here. Name, contact information (TSA phone number) and more details. Mike knows some of it, but from what this person said it looks like TSA really and truly hates adverse publicity of any sort. The only editing done is to remove my company name from tool chest pictures. Everything else is as it was when luggage arrived.

    Funny thing is that he said I was the ONLY person who ever complained about this. That sounds fishy just due to the number of passengers who fly out of that airport on a daily basis. He also said that 95% success with baggage is a good number (which had a side conversation going about that one). This means that out of 1,000,000 pieces of luggage that a fail on 50,000 is acceptable to him. Sorry, but that is a whole lot of luggage to fail on. Whatever happened to fail rates in the PPM (parts per million) range? Why is 100% success rate not possible? He played the sympathy card and alluded to 9/11 both of which fell on deaf ears.
    barbell likes this.
  5. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Thanks, you guys! I'm starting to collect them all into an email for EPIC. Hopefully he'll respond to some of them. I'll report back.
  6. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    I read of true outrages dumped on the traveling public by TSA and their evil minions. This issue with my tool chest not being locked by a TSO seems trivial in comparison. Perhaps it is too much for a TSA employee to use common sense when dealing with the public. Perhaps Grant Reno (MSP TSA Customer Service) was right that publishing the pictures of that on the web would result in TSA employees engaging in retaliation instead of doing the jobs they are supposed to be doing. Perhaps DHS/TSA is merely another works program that produces nothing and costs much more than it should.

    Because of this I cede the floor to those with much more serious issues.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Does this still need to be a sticky?
  8. INK

    INK Original Member

    When the final reply is in and it is updated, it will fly to the top of the list. Since the collection stage is over, it might clean up the header area a bit. Your call.....
  9. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    People with common sense don't work for the TSA.

    Thugs, thieves, and perverts work for the TSA.
  10. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I'm finally back!

    Here's what I have from the meeting -- which I ended up having to miss. I got notes from one person who was there, and I'll be getting additional notes at the beginning of the week.

    I'm going to DC next week (via train) and I plan on stopping by EPIC to chat in person. I'll get more info then.
    In the mean while, here's what I have.. This came to me in email so I'm posting it as I received it. Some of it is a little out of context for me, and it might be for you too, so I'll get clarification when I see them next week.

    The technology requires the TSA officer to input whether the person
    is male or female.

    Then the software processes their image based on that information.
    They worked to get the machine to the same level of accuracy of a
    person viewing the image. < I'm assuming that this refers to the stick figures that are supposed to protect our privacy

    The technology is only on the millimeter wave machines. They are
    continuing to work on the Backscatter technology but nothing yet on
    this application. Briefly mentioned the radiation issue. No experts
    to discuss this so we let it go for now.

    The aspect of the TSA screeners and physical searches. They have
    worked to address privacy and issue and reactions to the physical
    search option. He did not speak about other screening options. They
    think the privacy issue was on the person viewing the image.

    The issue is not just the viewing but the image collection and possible
    retention. No way to look at the machine and know what it is or is not

    Then he took questions from Transgender Equity Coalition about
    screening and gender issues. He went into detail about transgender
    persons and screening. Means that the changes would not address
    the issues they have with the technology's use.

    The said the same thing about Sikhs who face additional scrutiny
    because of head wraps. It was pointed out that many conservative
    religious communities cover hair. That the communities represented
    by Transgender and Sikhs are shared by many who are not in the
    meeting. Persons with prosthetics, medical conditions or anomalous
    physical characteristics be called into question in public because of
    how the technology works.

    The issues regarding physical contact was channeled into discussions
    around the new application on the technology.

    Collection of data was managed by the airlines directly and not TSA.
    They claim that their is no Privacy Act obligations for airlines. The
    airlines online registration system or reservation TSA questions are
    for Name, Date of Birth, and gender. Any additional information
    requested is the airlines decision not TSA.
  11. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Thank you for keeping us posted!

    A single thought, I'll leave it to others to discuss other parts:

    Once again proving that TSA is completely out of touch with reality.

    What a sad collection of morons running that organization.
    Doober and FriendlySkies like this.
  12. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    It never ceases to amaze me at how out of touch they really are.
    Doober likes this.
  13. Mybodyismyown

    Mybodyismyown Original Member

    Thank you for this, Sunny! Can you post any other information about Pietra's comments, if you got clarification from your meetings with EPIC?
  14. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Not to mention the front-liners who're either so stupid or so apathetic as to actually carry out those policies.
  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Sommer Gentry will be debating Peter Pietra next week at the Montgomery County Inns of Court. I'm going with her (as a guest, not as a debater -- only the invitees are allowed to debate). The other panelists are law professor and Constitutional scholar Jeffrey Rosen of GWU and Rich Roth, CTI Consulting (yeah, a we-can-profit-off-a-state-of-fear guy). I can't wait!
    KrazyKat and lkkinetic like this.
  16. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach


    Keep us posted!! I can't wait to hear more.

    I don't know if Jeffrey Rosen's views of body scanners has changed, but for awhile I remember him somewhat supporting them if they only showed blobby figures instead of the graphic figures.
  17. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Well, if he takes that position it's going to be hard for me to keep quiet. I can't believe that a Constitutional scholar would so miss the big picture. But then, there's a lot of (expletive deleted) going on in this country that I can't believe.
  18. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    And I can't believe that you haven't noticed that knowing what the Constitution actually means and really giving a rat's patootie if you don't agree with it are two completely separate items - as evidenced by our current President.
  19. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Well, the event was a bust. Total waste of time. Okay, maybe 2% of the time I actually learned something.

    Peter Pietra hogged the microphone, droning on and on and on and on, thus stealing time from the other speakers in what was already a ridiculously short program that started late and ended early to boot.

    Oh, and before it started, Sommer's husband asked if anyone objected to his videotaping the proceedings. Guess who objected?


    That's right. The s.o.b. who thinks it's okay if we all give up our privacy and are violated, but he didn't feel comfortable having his presentation -- in a public setting that was already being recorded by the law club anyway -- being recorded by Sommer and her husband, "in case it gets edited and ends up on a blog somewhere."

    After a tedious introduction on 4th Amendment and Administrative Search law -- all of which was already explained in the typed handout we were all given (and this was a room full of lawyers and judges anyway) -- the just-out-of-law-school lawyer ended with, "As I was talking to a colleague about this earlier today, he said, 'look, here's the bottom line -- would you rather be inconvenienced at the airport or get blown up in a plane?' And now I'll hand it over to the panel."

    Hello??? Can you say "bias"???

    Then the moderator opened with a question about scanners, and Pietra took 12 minutes to answer. 12 minutes. Repeating all the (expletive deleted) you all already know the TSA says about the scanners. Honestly, I could've gone up there and played his role. There wasn't a single thing he said that I didn't know and could've expressed more accurately and succinctly. Oh, and he repeated the lie about Johns Hopkins having tested the scanners and found them safe.

    Then Sommer spoke for 60 seconds max. I'm not kidding. But she tossed out a zinger. She asked why the TSA hasn't complied with the court-ordered mandate last July to hold a public comment period on the scanners. There were a lot of audible exclamations, and Peter Propagandist just said, "Wow!" as if he'd been struck.

    Then the security contractor guy spoke, and he actually surprised me. He said, essentially, the scanners are ineffective.

    Then Jeffrey Rosen spoke, and he took a longish time to say what Sunny, above, expected him to say: the scanners (he called them "nude machines") would be okay if they all had privacy software. Why did the govt take 8 years, he kept saying, to install privacy software when they had the technology from the get-go and subject millions of people to humiliation for all this time?

    Pietra responded with more blah blah blah. He did admit that there are too many false positives on the MMW scanners. Yet they're rolling more of them out anyway!

    The subject of money, who's making a profit of all this (expletive deleted), never came up.

    Blah blah blah blah blah. Sommer got one more zinger in -- offering her expertise as a mathematician to detail all the criminals in the TSA who've been caught and comparing that number to the number of terrorists floating around the skies -- "therefore, you're 10 million times more likely to be victimized by a TSA employee than to be the victim of a terrorist attack" (I'm paraphrasing, but the numbers are correct) -- and Pietra was visibly shrinking into his seat.

    Didn't stop him from coming back with more (expletive deleted).

    Then discussion of all the shibboleths we've heard about Israeli security blah blah blah, with no one mentioning, of course, that bombs still go off in Israel, just not on planes. (No, the public couldn't speak; we could write down our questions on little pink slips of paper, which I did, but no one came around to collect them.) Discussion of the (expletive deleted) "behavior detection" program.

    Blah blah blah.

    Then the whole thing ended with a jocular question: "Why can't Jack Bauer run our security?"

    Dismissive of the entire subject, as if the whole thing is just a joke. I wanted to hit somebody.

    Afterwards, some people mingled and discussed further. Sommer kept talking to Pietra, who kept lying and dismissing her concerns -- flat-out telling her that he doesn't believe her story of sexual assault and that he doesn't believe Lenore Zimmerman or the other women who said they were strip-searched -- "people can say anything." I was hanging on the periphery. I refused to talk to him, refused to introduce myself, refused to shake his hand, though it was obvious from the beginning that I was with Sommer. The four of us -- him, Sommer, Sommer's husband, me -- all walked out together. I continued to ignore him. Acted as if he didn't exist.

    Throw in traveling from Baltimore all the way to frickin' Rockville, and there you have it. Monumental waste of time.
    KrazyKat likes this.
  20. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Oh, and no discussion of groping. None.

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