Lies, Damned Lies and TSA Statements: Today’s news grope-up

  • Earlier this week, the White House responded to the UC San Francisco faculty letter on nudatrons. (We mentioned that here.) National Academy of Sciences member John Sedat says “many misconceptions, and we will write a careful answer pointing out their errors.”
  • TSA has claimed that pictures will have blurred genital areas to “protect privacy.” Except as it turns out, they don’t, as documented by Dave ‘not very funny about this’ Barry in “Groin Update.” See also “So What Are We Able To See On The Body Scanner,” which would explain why a “blurred groin” is unusual.
  • TSA has also claimed that the naked pictures they take will be shown in a seperate room. As CMU professor Latanya Sweeny documents, they are visible to the public. Airport Body Scanner Disrupts Personal Security.
  • Despite TSa claims of equal treatment, Chris Soghoian reminds us that Congress and the cabinet don’t go through this.
  • TSA’s claims that they don’t store the images have not yet been publicly disproven.
  • All of which adds up to a great deal of national outrage:

    Reuters reports that, “Executives from the travel industry, including online travel sites, theme parks and hotels, were set to meet Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Pistole on Friday to discuss their concerns that security is crimping travel.”

    The feds were forced into action after five prominent pilot and travel associations, along with a flight attendants union, vowed to boycott naked body scanners as well as the new invasive pat down procedure, threatening travel chaos. The backlash has also been characterized by new cases of individuals being abused at the hands of the TSA, stories which continue to pour in on a daily basis.

Thanks to @ioerror, @nationaloptout, @samablog and to @boingboing for:


Today’s TSA news grope-up

Facebook and “your” photos

Facebook Changes Photo Memories to No Longer Show Your Ex-Boyfriends or Ex-Girlfriends:

In response to numerous complaints, Facebook has changed its Photo Memories sidebar module to no longer display friends who a user was formally listed as in a relationship with. [Sic]

But it’s not just about selective remembering because “Your Memories Will Be Rewritten.”

That’s right Ilsa, we’ll always have Paris. At least once we set our status to “It’s complicated.” Otherwise, Facebook will surpress it all. And we can remember that lovely Dom Pérignon™ we drank while we were there. It’s funny, I remember Louis bringing out something else and threatening to water his garden with it. I didn’t think we were drinking Dom, but it’s obviously there in our photos.

Ambrose Bierce Punks Richard Feynman

Via Boing Boing, where Maggie Koerth-Baker gave a delightful pointer to this film of Feynman explaining for seven-and-a-half minutes why he can’t really explain why magnets repel each other. Or attract, either.

And trumping him in time and space, Bierce gave us this in 1906:

Something acted upon by magnetism.

Something acting upon a magnet.

The two definitions immediately foregoing are condensed from the works of one thousand eminent scientists, who have illuminated the subject with a great white light, to the inexpressible advancement of human knowledge.

TSA Body Scanners News: Why show ID edition

First, a quick news roundup:

So given the new machines and how stunningly intrusive they are, is there any reason to show ID when you show up at the airport?