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PR Fail: TSA's Naked Power Has Been Covered Up
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Ever been in a hurry to get through airport security, fighting through the line, practically getting undressed before you get to the screening section and then, it happens. Out of the corner of your eye, you catch one of the agents smoking a cigarette...softly. Well, those days are over because the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officially lost its creepers peepers pass as all airport full body scanners will be removed across the country

Now, before you hold your hand over your heart and clutch a bald eagle by its throat screaming, "It's for security," it was also an invasion of privacy. Just Google search TSA scanners and be sure the kids are out of the room. Those TSA agents saw us butt naked and some people complained. And this wasn't "night vision for all you Kim Kardashian fans" naked. This was "I see the stretch marks and birthmarks" naked. Namely with the fancy reverse color function. 

Many privacy advocates likened this X-ray vision to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing. According to the Bloomberg story, the "TSA will end a $5 million contract with OSI’s Rapiscan unit for the software after Administrator John Pistole concluded the company couldn’t meet a congressional deadline to produce generic passenger images."

This is the tipping point of that old cow for the TSA. Since 9-11, bajillions have been placed into heightening airport security. Fortunately, there have been no threats in airports since that day; however, there has been a gaggle of hubbub and ballyhoo in the PR department for this beleaguered agency. Most recently, the TSA sequestered a 12-year-old girl with brittle bone disorder in my fare burgh because she was apparently "laced with explosives."

The video alone in that clip is enough to make you want to take the bus from now on. There was Richard Reid, the haphazard shoebomber who caused delays across the country because the TSA jerked that knee clean off its meniscus and decided everyone had to walk through the screening apparatus sans sneakers. 

Which reminds me, I'm a little thankful the TSA has little consistency with good PR. Just imagined what would happened to air travelers when the TSA met Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Who's he? Well, let's just say his nom de plume is now "The underwear bomber." The TSA could have saved themselves a lot of cash from these pesky scanners then, huh? But hey. Hindsight is 20/20.

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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