The federal government wants you to review it on Yelp. Don’t do it. It won't change anything.
People have been leaving unofficial Yelp reviews for the TSA and various dreadful DMVs and post offices around the U.S. for a while now, but now the government says it’s going to start reading those reviews.
Yet, Gizmodo.com has recommended that people shouldn't waste their time doing this. I agree.
Here's the reasoning:
This sounds good in theory: The government gets a way to review feedback, people get a way to express their frustrations with how things are run. But I can’t imagine these reviews will have a substantial impact beyond temporarily placating the people who write them. Aside from the window dressings of a more engaged government, they’re meaningless.
Gizmodo.com also makes the valid point that "Yelp, like other review sites, doesn’t have a foolproof way to vet who writes in, and it’s riddled with fake reviews."
GOP Presidential hopeful and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina posted a one-star Yelp review for the TSA yesterday, railing that “The TSA spent $160 million of your taxpayer dollars on body scanners that have a 96% failure rate. Unfortunately, these stories of inept federal bureaucracies have become far too common.”
Yahoo News weighed in on the new Yelp policy, and Carly Fiorina's post in particular, stating this is "an opportunity to see the two things Yelp enables best: trolling and self-promotion."
Yahoo also backed this up with some research to prove how ineffective previous Yelp reviews for the TSA have been:
Interestingly, the TSA has plenty of other one-star reviews on [the Yelp] page already, dating back as far as 2006. They don’t seem to have influenced many changes. We wonder if Carly’s rant will make any difference in your airport security wait time and travel taxes either.
Fiorina could be guilty of trolling and self-promotion with her one-star Yelp review, but she isn't wrong.
We're just lucky that no one has tried to take down a plane with a bomb because the TSA would literally be unable to detect or stop such an attack.
In June of this year, the Department of Homeland Security "uncovered widespread screening flaws that allowed banned weapons and fake explosives to easily get past TSA agents about 95 percent of the time," the Washington Times reported.
The Washington Times also noted that a new inspector general report found the Transportation Security Administration failed to properly screen 73 airport workers who appeared on terrorist-related vetting lists.
In case you missed these reports, you can watch a recap here - pay attention to how many millions of tax dollars have been spent and wasted on TSA training:
So again, safe to say we're safe in the skies because no one has tried anything...yet.
We're letting TSA grope us repeatedly because...we like it? That's gotta be it, because all these tests that the TSA has failed nationwide prove the groping won't do anything to stop a person from bringing a bomb on a plane.
Aside from GOP candidates, celebrities have spoken out about the TSA as well. Just this week, British singer Morrissey accused a TSA officer of sexual assaulting him. Morrissey said in a blog post that he was groped inappropriately by a TSA worker at the San Francisco Airport as he was getting ready to board a British Airways flight to London.
In the interests of imperishable bureaucracy my submitted complaint against this 'officer' will obviously be either unread or ignored because, as we all know, on matters of officialism it is not possible to be pleasantly surprised by anything at all. However, what is clear is that, should you find yourself traveling through San Francisco International Airport, you should expect sexual abuse from the so-called 'security officers' who, we are unconvincingly warned, are acting only for our security.
You can watch Morrissey explain the incident to Larry King here:
I anticipate the official statement from the TSA will be: Well, Morrissey, if you don't like it, don't fly. Which is coincidentally what Jesse Ventura has resorted to doing after he lost his lawsuit against the TSA.
Jesse Ventura sued because he wanted the agency to stop subjecting him to "warrantless and suspicionless" scans and body searches.
"People in this country need to understand when you go to any airport in the United States, you are not protected by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights," the former governor explained after losing the battle. "They can do anything they want to you and there is no where you can go to seek redress."
Although Governor Ventura was unable to get the TSA to change the groping policy, there have been other lawsuits against the TSA that were successful. A California mother sued for $75K and won when the TSA wanted to expose her bottled breastmilk to an x-ray machine. She refused to allow them to do this because (shocker) radiation isn't good for babies.
The FDA specifically states not to put breastmilk in the microwave to warm it because, among other reasons, the microwave will kill the nutrients in the breastmilk.
Suffice to say the TSA has been broken for many years, possibly since its infancy, and no amount of Yelp reviews will change this fact.
Aside from the Yelp review tactic, the federal government will be introducing more lip service to travelers nationwide. This is what we're spending our tax dollars on now: the TSA is claiming they need to collect more data about how terrible and completely incompetent they are. Failing government tests time and time again just isn't enough...so...we need THIS - THIS will fix everything:
NPR reports further about this happy face/frowny face machine, which promises to take feedback from passengers about TSA at the airport and then streamline change, just with the push of a button:
There are four round buttons with emoticons that represent different satisfaction levels, which we've interpreted as happy, kind of happy, not happy, really unhappy. The survey kiosk will ask people a simple question, such as, "Were you satisfied with your service?" Users can then press one of the buttons to submit their responses.
The Washington Post reports that travelers at airports in Washington, D.C., California and New York will be first to see the technology.
The kiosks are already at 27 passport and 14 Social Security offices. The Department of Veterans Affairs also plans to use them as is part of a yearlong pilot program that is supposed to let federal agencies quickly address customer service complaints.
These government agencies must really think the American people are stupid.
For all of those above agencies, there's only one button that is necessary on the machine: the red, frowny face. Anyone who has ever had to stand in line and deal with one of these agencies already knows that, and people have been outspoken about it time and time again.
Nothing changes, though. Business as usual. Let's continue to spend tax money on useless wars and pathetically hopeless government agencies. Hey, maybe our government has it right. We the American people really are stupid.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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