Feeling Safe

They came first for the Muslim’s junk,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Muslim.

You can see where this is going, but it’s still funny. Read the rest here.

I seldom fly, and I’ve never had any problems walking through the perfectly safe radiation of the body scanners, so I can’t get too terribly excited about this. Soon after 9/11, when the images of falling planes and burning towers were still fresh in our minds, the Bush adminstration passed over all kinds of proposed security measures at airports because it would cut into airline profits. I trust the market to thwart any practice that aggravates travelers enough to make them take the train instead.

But I’m wondering about another intrusion– a hand in my wallet.

Last year I went to cash a paycheck, drawn from Bank of America, at a branch of Bank of America. They wanted to charge me $7. They called it a ‘convenience fee’. No ‘my word is my bond’ here. No gratitude for the bailout. They didn’t want to be inconvenienced to honor their own check.

So I mentioned this to a co-worker last week and she said, ‘Did they want to fingerprint you?’ She said that they had required this of her husband. I said I’d show them a finger, but not for a print.

Is this really happening? Did any of you readers get hassled this way at the bank?

Some commenters here felt that it is lax to let citizens vote without ID. But I’m feeling like we are being led by convenience and nagging to ‘show our papers’ when dealing with corporations. I’m sick of being asked for my CVS card. Or my phone number or email. It’s none of Bob’s Store’s business where I live.

On the other hand I’ve started Facebooking, giving away all the details of my banal life. But there’s some things I’ll share with the world wide web that I should not have to discuss with my bank.

Insecure About Privacy

Before I went back to school for nursing I worked in photofinishing. I sat in a curtained booth scrolling through rolls of negatives viewing the positive images– this was done for color correction. I saw enough weddings– and cake smushings, to be glad I eloped.

People would tell me that no one looks at your pictures– it’s all done on machines. Au contraire. The minimum-wage workers running the machines would line their booths with prints of anything interesting that came through. The job was monotonous and it didn’t take much. Cute dogs, cute babies, scenic landscapes, and anything naked would end up on the wall.

I can’t blame people for being worried about airport body scans…

The government has reassured the flying public time and time again that any naked images of them at airport checkpoints would be destroyed immediately.
But now new attention is being focused on another agency of the federal government — the U.S. Marshals Service — that in at least one case has been keeping thousands of similar naked images recorded by its body scanners.

Technology marches on, so it’s certain that images will become clearer and scanners cheaper. People worry that their image will end up on the internet.

Not to slander TSA workers, who seem nice enough and very hard working when I go through security, but there’s always a few bad apples. Click here for a bizarre story about a worker who was driven to assault a fellow worker who would not shut up about what he saw on the body scan.

I am not happy about the radiation. For myself, okay, but if I had an infant I wouldn’t want him scanned. The health effects might show up decades later.

I don’t have the answer, but I’ve seen enough to ask a couple of questions.

How much trust can you put in assurances that–‘it’s totally risk free’ and ‘it’s totally confidential’?