Canadian TSA's Non-Apology Apology To 82-Year-Old Woman

from the that's-not-an-apology dept

We just had a story about how the Canadian version of the TSA, the CATSA, had treated an 82-year-old woman to ridiculous security procedures — berating her for not originally telling them about the gel in her prosthetic breast (there due to her mastectomy because of breast cancer) and then arguing with her because she physically could not lift her arms in the new naked scanners. Reader Joe points out that the CATSA eventually did offer an apology… of sorts. It’s not a real apology, in that they don’t say they’re sorry for what they did. They’re just sorry the lady got upset:

“We apologized for not having met her expectations and expressed our regrets for the unpleasant experience, and that doesn’t change, regardless of the results of the review.”

So they’re not sorry for the actions. They’re sorry she expected more from them. How nice. Separately, the article points out that the CATSA will not reveal publicly what their investigation into the matter finds, meaning it doesn’t really matter what the investigation finds. They also won’t reveal the CCTV tapes — which could make sense on privacy grounds, but also sounds like they perhaps don’t want people seeing what actually happened.

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Comments on “Canadian TSA's Non-Apology Apology To 82-Year-Old Woman”

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freak (profile) says:

Just reminding everyone that it is the CATSA

And our Canadian TSA guys up here are actually pretty polite and ignore a lot of the stupider things they are supposed to do.

So I would say any wider criticism is largely unwarranted for our guys up here. But this story, even as an isolated case, IS a bit worrying, whether or not there was behind-the-scenes pressure from the US TSA.

Anonymous Coward says:

Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Guys, guys. Calm the fuck down. The milimeter-wave scanner is not the only option for security checks. If you don’t want to go through that scanner (because you’re a paranoid fuckface) you can opt out and ask for a pat-down instead. This is just a dumb elderly woman who probably wasn’t listening to what the CATSA scanners were telling her and then went bawwing to the news. Seriously, calm the fuck down. You want to fly? Then follow the rules and if you don’t like it, take an alternative mode of transportation.

Rob says:

Re: Re: Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

“Does it not occur to you that she could have opened her mouth up front and said something about it?”

No, no it does not. You can’t expect a person to know everything about a system the first time they encounter it in its every-changing form.

See, I understand that morons post stupid stuff, so I don’t take your comments all that seriously. But that’s only because I’m used to reading stupid things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Rob, I don’t expect her to have any clue at all. I would only expect her to say, up front, when being scanned, that she (a) has an artificial / prosthetic breast (similar to mentioning a replacement arm or leg), and that she is unable to lift her arm. Had she been up front, none of this would have happened.

She could very easily have a doctors note with her when she travels that indicates the same.

It really isn’t hard. It’s called personal responsiblity.

A friend of mine has some work done (bones) and the metal parts tend to set off the metal detectors. He carries information about it with him (and even has an image of the xray on his iphone, yeah technology!). By being up front (before the process even starts) he tends to avoid hassles.

This little old lady didn’t have to know anything except her own condition to make sure that the people doing the tests were aware. It isn’t asking her to have any technical knowledge at all.

Rob says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Personal responsibility my ass. Doctor’s note? WTF? Didn’t you even think about this? How the hell are you supposed to know what you need to bring in the ever-changing world of airport security. You gonna bring up your penile implant to the goons? Didn’t think so.

And BTW, you obviously are unaware that they don’t care about your doctors notes or implant cards anymore. Better brush up on your personal responsibility to learn all about that.

People like you are the problem. says:

Re: Re: Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Why do the screens need to know her medical history in the first place to fly? It’s none of there business that she sadly she had to have one of her breasts removed and replaced. Do you go around and tell anybody that looks official about all your medical procedures? There is absolutely no reason that that kind of information needs to be disclosed to bored a plan or any other form of mass transit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

NO I will not calm the fuck down. It is my right to be secure from illegal searches. I want to fly but still maintain that. Nothing I do legally should infringe on any of my rights, ever. The rules should never infringe on my rights, what part of that do you not understand. If you do not like the fact that these rights have been granted to me and every citizen of this country, then move, there’s alternative countries where these rights won’t hinder your safety.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

you still do have a right to be secure from illegal searches…you do not have a right to fly. If you don’t like their rules regarding what you must do to fly then by a plane, build a runway and fly your own ass where ever you want.

I’m sorry you make this out to be an infringement of your personal space because you expect to have any right you choose. Just realize, you don’t have the right to legally drive, legally fly, or legally boat, you only have the right to legally walk or ride a bike or swim. Everything else is a privilege under government licensing, you do have the right to illegally perform the listed privileges, however if you are caught you also have the rights to remain silent, and an attorney.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Hey, let’s try this out: next time you fly, I’m going to single you and stop you, and require you to list every single STD and lover and instances of unprotected sex you’ve had in the last 10 years, and then I’m going to require you to rotate your arm on its socket 360 degrees, before you board the plane. Then we’ll take a measuring ruler and write down the length of your penis and put it on all the digital displays in the airport.

If you’re unable or unwilling to do so, you can chose to go home and not board the plane (of course, in that case we’ll flag you and security may stop you on the way to the door and grope you because, you know, it’s fun). Since flying is not a right, there’s no reason why everyone else got to board the plane and you didn’t, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

It is still an illegal search. I am not talking about a right to fly, I am saying that there should be no way that the government should be able to make a rule that infringes my rights, and that is what they have done. They should not be able to do this type of search at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

I don’t see how this is an illegal search. Weapons are not allowed on planes. We must search your person to ensure that you are not bringing weapons on board. Pertaining to the milimeter-wave scanner: the person watching the monitor is not in the same room and the pictures are not kept. The screener doesn’t give two shits about what you look like, do you know how many people go through airports? A lot, and they have to keep things going so everybody needs to stop bitching about these new scanners. It is not an illegal search, it is not an invasion of privacy, some people are dicks and those people will get fired. There is no need to blow this shit out of proportion.


Berenerd (profile) says:

Re: Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Go back to bed America, you government is in control again. here watch American Gladiators. here is 56 channels of it. Watch these pictuary retards bang their (bleepin) skulls together to make you believe that you are living in the land of freedom. YOU ARE FREE TO DO AS WE TELL YOU!!!

We want your soul…

ignorant_s says:


Flying to an unnamed American City last week, I’m in line behind a lady who is at least 80, and a (I venture to say) Middle Eastern gentleman. I look rather scummy, and obviously, the most innocent looking of the bunch is this old lady. Who does TSA pick out to do a full body pat down? Our Grandma, of course.

I’m putting on my shoes watching some woman literally lift this poor woman’s sagging breasts looking for God knows what in front of everyone in line. This stuff must happen all the time. Do these people have no common sense? Are they being particularly random so as to seem PC?

Anonymous Coward says:

This is what happens when you cross aging and senile people with minimum wage grunts at an airport. The grunt says this is the way we have to do things here, the woman in her old age doesn’t properly explain why she can’t lift her arms, and the grunt can’t really understand what she is trying to tell him and tells her this is the way things are done and they do their thing and the old woman being all butt-hurt over this thinks she’s been wronged and cries to the media. Her being an old woman who has battled breast cancer, this makes for an awesome story about the big bad government harassing little old ladies.

There are bad people out there that want to do harm on airplanes. It is up to security to do their very best to prevent the bad people from succeeding. These procedures are in place to do just that. If 80% of terrorists look middle-eastern, wouldn’t it make sense to double-check people that look middle-eastern? I’m not saying they should be mistreated, but just whatever they do for random pat-downs and luggage check.

Also, before you go to an airport it would help speed along the security screening process if you had an idea of what the procedure is: you show your pass, you put your carry-on through the x-ray, walk through the metal-detector/milimeter-wave scanner, and maybe have a young relative there to tell you what to do.

Avatar28 (profile) says:

I wonder how long before they start banning things like large breast implants on board planes. After all, someone could get implants but have them filled with several lbs of some sort of explosive gel instead of silicone or saline. I bet they would be hard to tell apart by touch or the nudie xrays.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, we can’t let you board the plane. Your breasts are too big.”

another mike (profile) says:

Everybody needs to calm the fuck down.

Say something about what? That she’s happy to toss doctor-patient confidentiality on the pile with her other rights? Our TSA asks you about liquids or gels, like toothpaste, in your carry-on. They don’t ask about your medical history or if they’ll see implants on the scan.
You know what the end result of this is going to be, right? Implant technology has come a long way; the materials feel and move like the real thing, surgery techniques for minimal scarring came from this side of the industry. Now there will be a huge demand on manufacturers for implants that look real to a scanner. Like Agent Smith said, “Do you hear that, Mr Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”

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