War on Terror

The Fine Line Between Airport Screener and Child Pornographer

|

The London Guardian reports that routine use of full-body scanners at airports—Prime Minister Gordon Brown's response to the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's fizzled underwear bomb—appears to violate Britain's ban on child pornography. "Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans," the paper says, "or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws."

On Monday I discussed an Independent report suggesting that a scanner would not have detected the explosive powder in Abdulmutallab's underwear even if it had been used on him. Last summer I noted that indecent pictures of minors are the main thing U.S. border guards find when they seize travelers' computers.

[Thanks to Tricky Vic for the tip.]

NEXT: Flying With the Enemy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I would want one of them those jobs at the TSA . . . Hmmmmmmm . . . .

  2. Quite frankly, if it takes something like a child porn law to do away with the virtual strip search, I’m all in favor of it.

    Maybe we could get a few TSAs arrested too. Bonus.

    1. If you cannot have them arrested right now for molesting young women and wheelchair-ridden old ladies, maybe by using child molestation laws would people be able to get rid of the TSA for good.

      Great idea! I just need to teach my children to yell “Child Molester! Child Molester!” when the TSA officer starts patting them down – at least, that would make them shit in their pants!

      1. Bad touch, mommy! Bad touch!!

      2. Enjoy the subsequent electrode enema, OM.

      3. Show me on the doll where the TSA man touched you.

        1. FOOL! Just look at the 3D holographic video!

  3. The London Guardian reports that routine use of full-body scanners at airports[…] appears to violate Britain’s ban on child pornography.

    badly-written laws and regulations, contradicting each other? Now, I didn’t see THAT one commin’!

  4. scanners which reveal naked images of passengers including their genitalia and breast enlargements

    Speaking of badly-written, I’m not quit sure how to interpret this. Any, um, operators care to clarify?

    1. I’m too busy holding the string tight with this tin can to look at pictures.

  5. The Fine Line Between Airport Screener and Child Pornographer

    Maybe for you there is.

  6. Awesome. Now can we make Napolitano et al live under a bridge for conspiracy to create child porn?

  7. But what shall I do with this cucumber then?

    1. It grows up to 11 doesn’t it?

      1. That would be the Holy Cucumber.

  8. I remember when I was young it took a fistful of Zagnuts for the pervs to get a look at my junk. Now they can do it and all I would get in return is a plane ride that my parents had already paid for anyway. What a gyp.

  9. So, as much as I object to this sort of invasive, suspicionless search and the stupid security theater we are subjected to in airports, I feel the need to point out that nudity is not sex. Neither are strip searches or patdowns. I don’t approve of their random use in screening passengers, but to start calling TSA screeners (or anyone involved in the decision) molesters or some such thing it hyperbolic and ridiculous.

    1. but to start calling TSA screeners (or anyone involved in the decision) molesters or some such thing it hyperbolic and ridiculous.

      It’s a start 😉

    2. I feel the need to point out that nudity is not sex. Neither are strip searches or patdowns.

      Oh… please… don’t get me started….. Oooohhhhhh. Patdowns…. Hmmmm….

    3. I had a patdown when going through Orly. It was thorough, very thorough. I would not have been able to hide anything under my taint.

    4. And yet people that get caught urinating in public after the bars close can be given a “sexual predator” label. Seems like there’s a flaw in our laws somewhere, hmm?

  10. This is ridiculous.

    Do photos of kid’s genatalia in pediatric textbooks violate childporn laws too?

    I’m not saying that I’m glad we have kids going through intense underwear scrutiny, but there’s a world of difference between pervy molestation and frisking.

    1. If bathtub pictures can be child porn (as Radley Balko and others have pointed out here at H&R), then surely the images created by the airport virtual strip search machines are too.

      1. That’s my thinking.

      2. That’s what I keep telling the DA.

        1. That was @Abdul

    2. [B]ut there’s a world of difference between pervy molestation and frisking.

      Not to me there ain’t . . . he he he.

    3. Abby, see my downthread post on this. I believe that you are correct that there is a huge blanket exemption from pron laws for “educational, scientific or artistic(*)” activities. Probably also government activities as well.

      (*) On the books, but don’t try this at home.

      1. Are you or have you ever been a member of the band Franz Ferdinand? If not, have you ever been a fan?

      2. Maybe so, but if I were a photographer and some pediatric textbook publisher came to me and asked if I’d take some shots of naked children for their textbook I think I’d decline.

    4. I’m guessing that the UK has a specific exception for educational material to their obscenity statute.

      There used to be such in the USA interpreted as limited to material for certain “need to know” audiences, so medical students got to learn about contraception legally, but lay women didn’t. Probably so in other countries at the time too.

  11. And Roman Polanski had that job all lined up at Heathrow.

    1. Heathrow? I think Stockholm was the airport that was not unresponsive.

  12. Do photos of kid’s genatalia in pediatric textbooks violate childporn laws too?
    Probably.

    1. TSA screeners and publishers of pediatric textbooks should go to jail and be declared sex offenders for the rest of their lives. And if you disagree with me, you must be a child molester yourself!

  13. Don’t worry, kids, I’m sure that if TSA is not already somehow exempt, that they’ll get around it somehow. If there aren’t already exceptions to the law for government agencies, I’m sure that AG Holder will issue an “advisory opinion” to TSA stating that scanning does not run afoul of federal child protection laws (translation: DOJ will not prosecute, even if their are citizen complaints).

    See, it’s good to be the gummint!

  14. Talk about two tempests in a teapot:

    Fear of child pornography and fear of terrorists blowing up planes.

    1. Pornographic child terrorists?”If the Great Satan will not let me sext as I want, its citizens will die as I choose.”

  15. It is just a matter of time before some news expose blows the lid off an apparent cover-up by the TSA of traffic in captured screenshots of men, women and children. My money’s on Heathrow being a major hub. Then we can all sit back and toast “I told you so”.

    1. Just saw “Midnight Express” again, so I am thinking someplace in Turkey.

  16. On Monday I discussed an Independent report suggesting that a scanner would not have detected the explosive powder in Abdulmutallab’s underwear even if it had been used on him.

    Interestingly, Ann Coulter mentioned this fact yesterday to Bill O’Reilly, who by the way has no problem with these scans (Ann Coulter said she received calls and e-mails from concerned attractive women that their pictures would end up lining the locker room of TSA officers.)

    1. I figured she’d be worried about somebody finding out see’s really a guy in drag.

        1. Here’s some ugly drag to consider: ‘Nancy’ Pelosi. How do we know? He/She already refuses to fly commercial.

    2. Yes, because these TSA guys can’t find much higher quality anime porn in five seconds with Google. Never mind that they would be risking their jobs.

      Are conservatives really that stupid? Has something melted their brains?

      1. You, my man, do not understand porn.

      2. Kiddy fiddlers in general could find gigabytes of extremely high-quality lolicon and shotacon porn in five seconds with Bittorrent or any of its many knock-offs too, and yet plenty of people continue to insist on molesting real kids and taking pictures of them while they’re doing it. It doesn’t seem to matter to them what a “sex offender” tag on their sheet might do to their careers.

        A TSA scan of a real child with its colors inverted (courtesy of image-modification software, much of it available for free) would look a lot like an actual nude photograph of that child. It wouldn’t take much ingenuity to get around any of the machine’s anti-capture technology using a digital camcorder.

        Chad, we know you leftards are really stupid. We’re just not sure how to quantify how stupid you are; there’s no such thing as a stupidity quotient, alas…

  17. Chris Dodd (D-Wall Street Banksters) is not running for re-election this year, he has announced. Unfortunately, that might make it more difficult for Peter Schiff to win the general election, should he take the Republican primary.

    Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general, says he will run on the Democratic ticket, and being that Connecticut votes heavily Democratic, it will be tough for Peter. Furthermore, the only Republicans that have come from Connecticut in the past few decades have been hardcore statists, which means that there is almost no constituency for liberty in that state. I wish Peter the best, but the hill has become a bit more steep for him.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/46504.html

  18. What’s with the red rectangles on the pic?

    1. Looks like it’s outlining questionable areas. They have the ability to zoom in on any part they want. Some pervert could zoom in on the private parts of kids, but at least that pervert would be locked away in a far off room. 😉

      1. Somehow, giving perverts a private room where they can zoom in on images of people’s private parts doesn’t really seem to help, does it?

        1. It should be a comfort to Warty, perhaps Epi and SugarFree too.

  19. Pfft. When will you self-righteous libertarians learn that the law does not apply to the government? You all act like there is some kind of list of rights defining what the government is not allowed to do to its citizens or something.

    1. actualy there is…it’s called the U.S CONSTITUTION.

  20. Even on hi-resolution, everyone looks like a grey alien on these scans.

    Is there a law against xenophilia?

  21. Alright, alright! You win.

    The TSA screeners will, from now on, be nude.

  22. Just because my security consulting agency, the Chertoff Group, has a client that manufactures these machines, doesn’t mean we are a bunch of child pornographers or molesters.

    1. We will be bowing to our L-3 overlords soon enough.

    2. Doesn’t mean that you aren’t either.

  23. McFarland should do an episode of Family Guy where Mr. Herbert gets a job manning a scanner for the TSA.

  24. Joacob,

    Thank you so much. I have the melodic tune of Touch me now by Samantha Fox invading my head for the rest of the night.

  25. Just wait till celebrity scans start showing up on the net. Oh, and government staffers. That’s gonna smack.

  26. Leon|1.6.10 @ 8:08PM|#

    Just wait till celebrity scans start up on the net. Oh, and government staffers. That’s gonna smack.
    But you will never see CongressCritters or Cabinet secretaries ’cause they will be exemt of course.

  27. Yeah, you guys are right…I’d much rather be blown up in mid air. That would be best for the “children”.
    /sarc off

  28. Personally, I would consider a scan far less invasive than a physical search/patdown.

  29. I for one am more than happy to show some hairy drooling minimum wage TSA “agent” my glowing blue junk just for the satisfaction of knowing that each and every Muslim man flying has to endure each of his wives having their burka’ed and veiled bodies scanned and leered at by a drooling “Christian” TSA infidel.

    They will suffer far greater emotional pain at this prospect than me. One could argue that Jihad could be called off until the scanners are removed.

  30. I guarantee you, after a full day of looking at the fat, the old, the sagging, and the surprisingly not-the-gender-they-appear, TSA security screeners will be looking for another job.

  31. Well, only as long as it is another gubmint job.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.