Thank God I’m not flying this weekend.
Airports are bracing for what may be the worst Thanksgiving holiday, thanks to an Internet boycott of full-body scans at airport security checkpoints.
The protest, called National Opt-Out Day, is scheduled for today, the busiest travel day of the year. It’s lead by Brian Sodergren, who set up the website and is encouraging travelers to decline full-body scanners.
Critics say these scanners — refrigerator-size machines that show a person’s physical contours on a computer — are similar to virtual strip searchers. If travelers opt out of this, they will be subjected to a full pat-down, said airport officials, which takes even longer than the body scans.
Public interest grew this week after California blogger John Tyner resisted the scan and body check, saying, “If you touch my junk, I”ll have you arrested.”
Watch CNN’s interview with Tyner
I’m a big fan in protests and feel it’s necessary to speak out about something you feel strongly toward (or against). But when are protests — the kind that hurt or impede others — just not worth it?
And I’m not sure where I stand on this issue.
On the one hand, the body scans take about 10 seconds and only a small percentage of passengers will have to do it. I’d rather be safe than on a plane with boxcutter-wielding terrorists. But I don’t know I feel about everything — everything — under my layers of clothing being viewed by TSA officers in a private room. (Some are calling them “porno-scanners.”)
Are these scans and pat-downs really a violation of my civil rights?
What do you think?
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Unfortunately, the Body Scan or the Pat Down is a necessary evil and a sign of the times. As for Civil Rights issues, it becomes a problem when it gets too instrusive on a Pat Down or if the masking feature of the scan isn’t working properly or if the scan itself is kept (as a file) even though the TSA says that no record is kept of the scans.
I’d opt for the Body Scan myself. 10 seconds of low dose radiation and I’m on my way. What puzzles me is why the TSA folks aren’t wearing any Personal Dosimeters. The Radiology Techs, Nuclear Medicine folks, and the Radiation Therapy Specialists I know all wear Personal Dosimeters even with their limited exposure to radiologic sources.
By the way I’m writiing this from SEA-TAC airport. I left Honolulu on Tuesday afternoon. The Hawaii TSA folks weren’t doing pat downs at the time and were only using the magnetometers. I’m not sure what changes are going to be in effect on Wednesday. It’s also ironic that CNN is also discussing the TSA’s role in this controvery on the TV here at the gate.
I don’t mind the Body Scan but I hear there’s talk of “cavity searches” in the distant future. Yikes!
@jaydee Of course! How else is the TSA going to find those threats? While they’re at it, they should go ahead and perform prostate exams, pelvic exams, and colonoscopies to those who opt out of the pornoscanners.
hmmm, not sure how I feel about this and am not planning on flying until January so it will be a while be fore I have a feeling one way or the other … Seems like there are probably bigger issues we should be worried about
I would go through a 10 second Body Scan. They look then the next person jumps on and they forget what they just saw. Do this thousands of times and who cares. Give them a thrill.
I don’t want a pat down by a guy. No touch my junk too (if you can find it) 🙂
fluff up yer chillis boys, now everyone’s a porno star.
My mom just called and said she didn’t have to do the full body scan. HNL only does it if you don’t pass the first metal detector. I fly out later today so I’m going to leave my jewelry in the bag and pray I pass with flying colors!
the sad thing is this is all an illusion. i really doubt that a terrorist who’s smart enough to evade homeland security, the FBI, CIA and any number of other agencies is going to be stopped by the TSA. all the airport security measures do is placate the public.
@matti2d Well said.
Sad but true, matti2d.
The questions are do the latest TSA requirements REALLY make us safer? And how many of our individual rights are we willing to abandon in the name of this so-called increased security? Every new TSA policy implemented has been a reaction to some security incident. Remember when we didn’t have to remove our footwear? When a crazy terrorist is caught with explosives in his or her body cavities or on a young child will everyone be as passive about what new procedures might come as a result? Many say now that body cavity searches will never happen. But why not? Will 80% of the population be ok with that? 60%? What percentage will it take before the public takes a stand?
How absurd is it for us to go through these hoops when unchecked cargo may be on our flight? Or if someone has an explosive hidden deeply enough to evade the scanners? If it is impossible to attain 100% prevention–and it is–we need to accept a certain level of security and understand that this is the best we can do without crossing over lines that compromise our privacy and dignity.
No form of transportation is without risk. 40,000 people die each year in traffic accidents. TSA agents aren’t there to give breathalyzer tests to every driver before they enter their cars. They’re not there to help elderly people get across the street without getting run over by a bus. But they’re there to touch our junk before we board one of the safest modes of transportation even after 9/11. Someone is making tons of money on this added security. I know it’s not me.
I’m just waiting to hear of someone stripping down before going through security… shoes… belt… PANTS, SHIRT, SKIVVIES! Just to make a point, LOL!
Instead of national “Opt Out” day, we can organize a national “hang out” day!!!
I heard on the news that some people are actually doing this in protest! Haha!
Family in Hilo on way to mainland went to ag and check in counter stripped to Bikini in restroom before going through security. Some odd glances but TSA was cool. Hilo doesn’t have Body Scanners and she was wearing a hat and had to go back after taking it off. No issues, she went through without a pat down. Besides, what’s left to see 🙂