National Opt Out Day: Full Body Scans, Pat Downs and Travel

Many popular airports are now using “full body scans” at airport security.    For some travelers it doesn’t matter but many are advocating for a national opt out day on Nov. 24 in order to make a point about the use of full body scanners.

What are the concerns about full body scanners?

  • Some say that full body scanners are invasive.
  • Others fear that there may be health concerns that we are unaware of by using full body scanners (after all we thought BPA was safe too).
  • Still others worry about their identity and private information being saved and subjected to identity theft or humiliating YouTube videos.  Not to mention the comments that may be going on in the booth- these scanner images are pretty explicit and thorough.
  • But it’s not just the full body scans, but the more “intensive” so called pat downs that will touch your breast and genitals while being conducted.  Opting out of a scan means a full body search instead.

But aren’t we safer with full body scans? Some say yes, while other’s strongly disagree and here is why:

  • The possibility of stolen or misused information.
  • First travelers were told images weren’t stored – but they are.
  • Travelers were told that children under 12 (do you even want your 12 year old “vigorously” patted down) won’t be physically searched by a pat down, but these two recent video’s of an approximately 8 year old and a 4 year says differently.
  • The “powder” used by the “underwear” bomber probably wouldn’t have been detected in a full body scan.
  • As long as useful, intelligence information is ignored, scanners can only go so far. Last Christmas the threat came into the country. He wasn’t already here.
  • Considered to be a violation of civil rights, so aren’t terrorist winning in the end?

3yr old Screams Stop Touching Me as TSA Pats Her Down

Up in Arms about Full Body Scanners

Instead of putting our arms in the air for the scanners, some are calling for travelers to be “up in arms” in protest. Some opponents of the full body scan are advocating a National Opt Out Day while still others urge for a every day “opt out” day during your travels. Private interest groups aren’t the only ones up in arms about full body scanners. Pilots and their unions such as “the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing 11,000 American Airlines pilots, recommends pilots refuse screening by full-body machines because of concerns about exposure to radiation and privacy,” stating “”There is absolutely no denying that the enhanced pat-down is a demeaning experience,” says David Bates, an American Airlines Captain and union president.” (USA Today Nov. 17, 2010 “Backlash over Pat Downs”)

The law and full body scanners

In the “Aircraft Passenger Whole-Body Imaging Limitations Act of 2009” the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that said: “Whole-body imaging technology may not be used as the sole or primary method of screening a passenger under this section. Whole-body imaging technology may not be used to screen a passenger … unless another method of screening, such as metal detection, demonstrates cause for preventing such passenger from boarding an aircraft.” “The American people should not have to choose between having full-body radiation or a very embarrassing, intrusive pat down every time they fly, as if they were criminals,” Rep.  John Duncan (R-Knoxville and former chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee) said.

Rep. Ron Paul has introduced House bill H.R. 6416 “The American Traveler Dignity Act” in Congress in an effort to say “Enough is Enough!”  He states “The solution to the need for security at US airports is not a government bureaucracy. The solution is to allow the private sector, preferably the airlines themselves, to provide for the security of their property. As a recent article in Forbes magazine eloquently stated, “The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility.’ In the meantime, I hope we can pass this legislation and protect Americans from harm and humiliation when they choose to travel.”

What can you do about full body scanners? In the news we have heard of those who protested the full body scans, some even to the point of saying as John Tyner, a San Diego man who opted out of the scan last Saturday and told a TSA screener “If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested,”

You have three choices. You can simply put up with it. You can quietly opt out and get patted down.  Or you can join others to protest full body scanner by: Calling your U.S. Representative and ask that he/she co-sponsor on the legislation by Rep. Paul. Participate in National Opt Out Day, every day that you travel.

Express your concerns to congresspeople and the White House .

Find out if full body scans are being used in an airport you travel to or from.