Media Lies by Omission: Biased survey over-inflates public support for airport scanners
Richard Sawyer - Sott.net - 15 Apr 2010
Imagine it, make it up, publish it, sell it. Done.
"Deception by an omission of the truth is as bad as a lie."
The mainstream media was quick to publicise the findings of a survey
that showed widespread public support for the global drive to install 'naked' full-body scanners at airports.
Articles such as Sky News: UK Holidaymakers Back Use Of Full-Body Scanners
and Agence France-Presse: Opinion poll: US anti-terror too lax
, uncritically repeated the report's findings without questioning the reliability of the survey or mentioning the conflict of interests held by those in the security industry who stand to profit from rolling out these dangerous machines.
There is one glaring omission from these and the many
media reports that published 'news' articles based on the Unisys press release. That is who Unisys is, their connections with government, military, Homeland security, the Transportation Services Authority (TSA) and how they profit from airport security technologies. The failure of the mainstream media to report the true source and motives behind this survey is a clear example of how they lie by omitting the most important facts.
The survey generated headlines in Austrailia
, New Zealand
, America and the UK. All with similar sweeping joyous news of approximately 80% of air travelers from these countries who just can't wait to get zapped and show their privates to security guards in order to catch their flight.
Reading the triumphant headlines, you'd be forgiven for believing the incredible turnaround in public support for invasive technology that has generated many serious concerns, including:
One only has to dig a little deeper into who is responsible for this survey to discover the profit-driven agenda of the company Unisys. No surprises, it supplies products and services to support the implementation of increasing security systems at airports worldwide.
Who is Unisys?
From the Unisys Website
For more than 50 years, our federal government clients have trusted Unisys to help them support their mission-critical programs. When it comes to protecting your assets, data, systems, and citizens, we deliver the best combination of industry and subject matter expertise - every time. Governments around the world trust Unisys to help them solve their business problems through systems that optimize the organization and secure the enterprise.
A Unisys press release
on the same day as the survey results were announced, illustrates clearly the need for Unisys to gain acceptance for increased airport security to maximise its revenue: "Unisys Next Generation Airport Passenger Security Solution Delivers Enhanced Security for Air Travel Consumers Worldwide"
New solution builds on Unisys experience with advanced biometric technologies to enhance security, speed passenger processing time and reduce costs
Drawing on the company's experience with the aviation industry and advanced biometric-based security solutions for governments and commercial organizations, the new Unisys solution will integrate the various stages of the air passenger experience with a biometric component to uniquely identify each passenger. The end-to-end solution covers the key touch points of air travel: from electronic boarding passes, to boarding plane, to passing through immigration, to baggage collection.
"Travelers around the world are being squeezed by a growing number of critical but costly and inconvenient airport security procedures that are taking the joy out of traveling," said Terry Hartmann, vice president, identity and credentialing global practice, Unisys. "With the technologies we have today, air travel doesn't have to be such a difficult experience. Unisys has extensive experience applying advanced biometric technology to address the most demanding identification challenges, and we look forward to helping airports, airlines and immigration agencies make better use of these technologies to bring a new level of convenience and efficiency to air travel."
Some facts about Unisys' operation show some interesting connections and paint a picture of a company that uses corrupt lobbyists to win government contracts. It has been accused of swindling the TSA to maximise revenue and it is an organisation who cares little for its American employees:
- Unisys clients are typically large corporations or government agencies, and have included various branches of the U.S. military, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), numerous airports, the General Services Administration, U.S. Transportation Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service
- Unisys operates the world's largest RFID network for the U.S. military, tracking 9 million containers yearly to 1,500 nodes in 25 countries. It also created the universal identification card for citizens of South Africa.
- In 2003 and 2004, Unisys paid influential lobbyist Jack Abramoff $640,000. Abramoff raised $100,000 for Bush's 2004 campaign representing clients lobbying the White House, including Unisys Corp.
- In January 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to five felony counts for various crimes related to his federal lobbying activities. The lobbying activities of Abramoff and his associates are now the subject of a large federal investigation
- In October 2005, the Washington Post reported that the company had allegedly over-billed on the $1 to 3 billion Transportation Security Administration contract for almost 171,000 hours of labor and overtime at up to the maximum rate of $131.13 per hour including 24,983 hours not allowed by the contract. Unisys denied any wrongdoing
- In 2009 Richard Marcello, president of technology, consulting, and integration solutions at Unisys said "We were able to eliminate a whole bunch of actually U.S.-based jobs and kind of replace them with two folks out of India "
Sound like a company that is genuinely concerned about helping travelers? Or more like one of the many that will employ a wide range of tactics to generate profits irrespective of the ethics?
The actual report of the survey in question can be downloaded
from Unisys and shows that the telephone survey collated it's information from questions loaded with bias: issue: which of the following statements describe your willingness to sacrifice some
privacy for enhanced
personal security and convenience
when you travel by air?
There are emotive and assumptive terms used in the above statement that (even without knowing exactly how the questions were framed) help explain the results that the media propagated:
Some Privacy? Is 'some' privacy sacrifice an accurate reflection of allowing total strangers to view images of you and your children naked?
Enhanced Security? Is personal security actually enhanced when reports
inform us of damming evidence on the ineffectiveness of this technology?
"Authoritative claims that officials at the [UK] Department for Transport and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation.".
Convenient? The gradual introduction of increasing layers of airport security over the last ten years HAS had the effect of making travel extremely inconvenient. There has been a carefully stage-managed succession of over-hyped and unsubstantiated terror threats. Whether it be shoes, liquids or underpants, each has been followed by new inconvenient and ineffective security procedures. None of these procedures are necessary and are simply excuses to implement increasingly invasive measures which use expensive technology.
If the survey question was more accurately worded perhaps it would read:
issue: To board an aircraft, which of the following statements describe your willingness to allow naked images to be taken of you through radiation-emitting procedures with health risks so that technology companies can make huge profits?
The results would be rather different, but as we know, the media shies away from reporting anything that doesn't encourage the public to accept their taxes being used to profit the shareholders of companies in the 'Airport Security Industrial Complex' like Unisys.
Update: One of our forum members provided
some further information:
The poll was actually done by Newspoll (in Australia) at least which is partly owned by Murdoch's News Corp. The survey results were touted far and wide through Fox, News etc.
It appears Unisys collated the numbers. Only 8360 people were interviewed in 9 countries, 1200 were polled in Australia.
The US survey was done by International Communications research. One other Unisys survey was done by Lieberman Worldwide whose CEO Arnold Fishman sits on the AeroVironment corp which manufactures small drone aircraft.
Unisys I would say gets an undergrad to throw the numbers in a small database and "Voila" instant news through the News network.
The Australian Privacy Foundation has come to the same