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In a post on the blog “Taking Sense Away,” an anonymous, self-described former TSA screener wrote that security agents in image operator rooms engage in “light sexual play” and laugh at nude images of passengers.The post, prompted by a request to “Tell us, please, what really happens in that private room and why the TSA does not want it seen in public nor recorded,” explains that the TSA’s system for privately searching passengers is good, but that the image operator room “is a whole different story.”
According to the post, no security cameras are allowed in the image operator rooms, so agent behaviour is difficult to monitor:
Personally, in the I.O. room, I witnessed light sexual play among officers, a lot of e-cigarette vaping, and a whole lot of officers laughing and clowning in regard to some of your nude images, dear passengers.
Things like this are what happens (at the very least) when you put people who are often fresh out of high school or a GED program (although there are actually a few TSA screeners with PhDs, which I guess is sad on so, so many levels) with minimal training and even less professionalism, into the position of being in charge of analysing nude images of people in a hermetically sealed room.
Update: In an e-mail, TSA Director of External Communications David A. Castelveter said the TSA disagrees with the characterization of passenger images as “nude,” and that “all measures have been taken to protect passenger privacy”:
The officer who assists the passenger never sees the image the technology produces and the officer who views the image is remotely located in a secure resolution room and never sees the passenger.
In regard to the Taking Sense Away post, Castelveter said:
Everyone, including former TSA employees is entitled to an opinion, at times offered without foundation. We expect all TSA officers to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Where violations of professionalism occur, appropriate corrective action is taken.