TSA Security Theater and Opt Out options
I travel through an airport almost weekly and while I think 90% of the TSA rules and processes are just "Security Theater" to make grandma feel safe but I have pretty much put up with it all. However the new radiation based naked body scanners are a clear violation of rights, emits radiation that increases your risk of cancer, a waste of money (GAO report) with no clear benefit to safety. Ask yourself if you would accept this same practice to enter a shopping mall, skyscraper, city bus or a cruise ship.
The TSA claims their practices are to increase security and are not sexually explicit but news stories paint a different picture of the TSA:
- TSA agent fired after taking a scan of a female TSA officier and make a lewd comment
- Agents prank travelers with claims of finding cocaine - legal concerns of planted evidence
- Agent in Miami fired due to jokes made after a body scan
- Radiation for scanners poses risk of Cancer
- Woman sues TSA after pulling down her blouse and then joking about her exposed chest
- TSA detains and interagates a man for carrying cash. The ACLU sues the TSA as a result.
- Video of a female passenger thrown to the floor (wine bottle opener in her bag)
- Traveler handcuffed and detained for carrying English-Arabic flashcards
- TSA detained traveler until he removed his tee-shirt with Arabic writing on it. NYCLU lawsuit settled.
- TSA fines man $11,000 after declining a grope search
- Background checks of TSA agents allow for sex crimes if they occured more then 10 years ago
- TSA agent at Logan International gave pat downs despite being a convicted child molester
- TSA agent, Bennette, arrested for child molestation in Florida
Personally I plan to "opt out" rather than be scanned even though this means having the TSA bully me into a through and full pat down which includes a TSA officer touching every inch of your body. It won't be for long because indications are the enough people are offended by these new practices that the TSA will be forced to stop such clearly wrongful practices.
But I laughed out loud when I read Jeffrey Goldberg's suggestion; men should wear Kilts when going through TSA security. Thank you Jeffrey as that vision will keep me laughing for quite some time.
For even more information please read the Wikipedia article on Backscatter X-Rays.