TSA Blog Censorship

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by Linka4356, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Linka4356

    Linka4356 Member

    I am sure this has been posted before, but I cannot afford the time to search through the forums.

    I have thrice been censored by TSA for posting a comment that does not violate their comment policy.

    I would like to know a couple of things.

    First, how is this not a violation of the first amendment as it is a government agency censoring a comment? And, isn't having a comment policy to begin with a violation of the first amendment regardless?

    Second, I have already contacted both of my senators, although I feel it will do no good. I have contacted them several times in the past and at most I get personalized templates for a response. Who else can I contact about being censored by the TSA despite following their comment policy? How can I be heard?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Welcome to Travel Underground!

    My first suggestion would be to keep screen shots of your posts and forward them to the DHS OIG (DHSOIGHOTLINE@dhs.gov). Some here think that the OIG is an effective avenue for complaints, provided that you are not already in contact elsewhere in DHS regarding the matter (if you are, he will defer to them); I'm not convinced.

    My second suggestion would be pursue alternative venues to make yourself here, e.g. participate in discussions here and comment on articles in the media.
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    You may have seen a couple of my postings on the TSA Blog, I post as RB there.

    I have mentioned the heavy handed censorship many times over there and I am convinced that TSA and its employees have no regard for your Constitutional Rights, none of them, not on the blog, not at airports, not in any mode of travel.

    In my opinion TSA and all of its employees are enemies to all American Patriots.
  4. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    We have had enough of you fondling our crotches, massaging our butts, stripping our elderly of their clothing, ransacking our bags in the subway or wherever you please, stopping us in our streets, and generally treating us as if we were subject to you in every way. When nearly everyone of us has already achieved more than you ever will. We have had enough. All over this country, people have had enough.
  5. Linka4356

    Linka4356 Member

    Thank you, Mike, for both the fast reply and the direct email address. I will try that avenue as well. I meant to write you back last night but company arrived in the middle of my reply and I got sidetracked. :oops: I am wondering the best way to take screenshots of my comments when they exceed the length of the comment box. What do you suggest there?

    Ah, RB, I was actually hoping I could get in touch with you somehow. It's good to finally get in contact with you. I post as JoJo, when the TSA lets my comments through. ;) I have seen you threaten to contact the OIG over censorship. Have you ever done so, and did you get any kind of response?

    If you're curious, here's the comment they censored on their TSA Weekly round-up. This was what I posted the second time after just the links got denied. I thought I should do a weekly round-up of my own. :p Maybe one of you can point out something that might violate the comment policy that I overlooked.

  6. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    While not violative of the TOS, I'd imagine the blog would claim "too many links."

    Although a PIA, perhaps you could get it posted if you broke it up into 3 different comments, putting on each one "screen shot taken."
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  7. Linka4356

    Linka4356 Member

    Thanks for the insight. I'll try that next weekly round-up since by now this news is over a week old. I guess we'll see!
  8. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Along the lines of what Doober said, I'd venture that they're stretching the definition of being derogatory towards others.

    It's awfully rude to call TSA employees out on their extracurricular activities. Even if they're true! :eek:

    And welcome Underground, Linka4356!
  9. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I'm not going to go into any detail but I have been in contact with DHS OIG. I'd rather keep details private for now as one of our members here is a member of the TSA Blog Team. No point in giving info up freely.

    I don't see on what grounds the TSA Blog Team can call for First Amendment exceptions. They are in my opinion engaged in civil rights violations with each post censored which seems to be up around 35% of all posts submitted to the TSA Blog. 35% seems excessive and I don't think Bob can justify what it is they are doing.
  10. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Welcome, Linka4356. I long ago stopped commenting there because all my comments got censored. Only one was ever allowed to show up, the one that included something along the lines of, "I wonder if this comment will get censored like all my other ones or if it will be allowed to post." Of course they let it post.

    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  11. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    The two lines that are most likely to assure a post is not censored are:

    1. I wonder if this comment will get censored like all my other ones...
    2. Screen shot taken.
    Lisa Simeone and Doober like this.
  12. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    And because comments with either of the above attached do get posted, it's a tacit admission that the blog does practice censorship.
    Lisa Simeone and barbell like this.
  13. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    <rant>Speaking of the blog and taking screen shots, one now cannot preview a post without signing on to one's Google account? That ranks right up there with the NY Times not allowing paid subscribers to read articles without being signed in - so, of course, the Times can track what you read and "make suggestions." This just started this week.......pisses me off. </rant>
  14. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    What better way to quash speech than to demand a way to track it?
  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Okay, I'm going to be the fly in the ointment here. Neither the NYT -- nor any other publication -- can exist on advertising dollars alone. If they provide free content and only free content, all the time, to everyone, they go out of business. I don't have a problem with newspapers charging people to read their stuff (though there are ways to get around it, such as not allowing the page to fully load but just enough to read what's there).

    I'll even say that for Google, or any email service that's free -- well, you can't get something for nothing. Let's be real. They're providing you free email so they can sell you stuff. This is nothing new. Free email has now become the norm, but it wasn't always like this. I used to pay for Hotmail and would gladly do so again if it meant I wouldn't be tracked. But those days are gone.

    The TSA blog is a different kettle of fish. We are paying for it. We pay Blogger Bob's salary, we pay for the propaganda he spews, we pay his benefits, we pay the IT department that keeps it humming, we pay we pay we pay. And we pay some more. Therefore, it seems to me we shouldn't have to be logged in to Google or any other trackable entity to post a comment at the TSA blog.

    (But you all already know we're being tracked left and right in this society anyway. Unless you never use credit cards, don't have a bank account, don't have email, don't have a phone number, have the technological expertise to hide all your on-line comings and goings, etc. etc. etc., you're being tracked to one degree or another.)
  16. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I don't mind paying for a digital subscription, Lisa, but I do mind having to log in before I can read an article. The NY Times knows damned well who I am as soon as I access their site, logged in or not.

    As barbell said, it's a grand way to track people.
  17. Linka4356

    Linka4356 Member

    Two emails sent to my senators and one to the OIG the day I posted this and not a reply from any of them (unless you count an automated reply from one of my senators, assuring me he's concerned with what I have to say and will get back to me as soon as possible and yadda yadda yadda.) Honestly, I don't know why I try any more. It's not the first time I've tried to contact my senators only to get the same form response with no follow-up. No one with any power listens. How discouraging.

    In a sick, sadistic way, I'm looking forward to TSA expanding. The flying public just doesn't make up enough people for America to revolt over. It was made manifest when SOPA came out that it's not how atrocious a segment of the government is, it's about how many people are affected by it. While a small segment flies, 90% of the population uses internet regularly, hence little opposition to TSA yet huge uproar over SOPA.


    People can easily quip, "if you don't like it, don't fly!" I'm sadistically looking forward to TSA expanding to highways, bus stations, harbors, subways, malls, football games... Just so that these same naysayers finally have no choice but to wake up. Of course, by then it will be far too late, but the "I told you so! Should have listened!" will be pretty damn sweet. Can you tell how bitter I am? :p
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  18. Linka4356

    Linka4356 Member

    In case anyone is interested, one of my senators, John Boozman, wrote me back May 31st and it was not a form letter.

    Dear [...],

    Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It is good to hear from you.

    I appreciate you sharing your experience with the TSA's feedback system. I share your concerns with any form of censorship that may have been taken against the feedback you provided. Please understand that I will continue to monitor this situation. It is vital that the TSA does hear feedback and receives constructive criticism so it can carry out its mission to the best of its ability.

    In addition, I have forwarded your email to the TSA and have asked them to respond directly to you about this matter. Again, thank you for contacting me on this very important issue. Please be sure to visit our website at www.boozman.senate.gov. I look forward to your continued correspondence.

    John Boozman
    U.S. Senator

    I'll update if/when I receive anything from the TSA. Public thanks to John Boozman for his direct attention on this matter.
  19. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Wow, sure does read like a form letter to me. Except his staff added the part about forwarding it to the TSA. Everything else is what I also get from my reps.
  20. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    What impresses me about this form letter is that its devoid of the usual drivel about how wonderful the TSA is. Elected officials are catching on to the reality that stumping for the TSA may be a career killer.
    Doober likes this.

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