Nationwide Opposition to Airport Body Scanners Grows, “Opt-Out” Day Emerges
People worldwide are not only questioning the implementation of naked body scanners, but protesting against it. With the president of the Allied Pilots Association recently asking pilots to refuse the naked body scanners, as well as numerous other lawsuits and questionable TSA practices, a national “opt-out” day has been organized.
Groups Speak Out
It seems that organizations around the globe are urging their members and followers to refuse the naked body scanners. In addition to the Allied Pilots Association, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the largest Muslim advice groups, has issued a warning regarding naked body scanners and physical pat downs.
Earlier this year, scientists from Colombia University also voiced concerns over the scanners. They found that the X-ray dose associated with the body scanners was 20 times higher than originally estimated, and could lead to an increase in skin cancers.
If all 800 million people who use airports every year were screened with X-rays then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large number of screened people might imply a potential public health or societal risk. The population risk has the potential to be significant, said Dr David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s centre for radiological research.
During a trip last Sunday, the father of an 8-year-old boy reported that his son was selected for extra screening by the TSA after going through the metal detector. The father said that TSA agent described the procedure, and the 8-year-old was brought to an open security area. Shortly after, the boy’s genital area was patted down by the backside of the TSA agent’s hand.
“I didn’t think it was going to be as horrible as he was describing,” said the boy’s father.
“We spend my child’s whole life telling him that only mom, dad and a doctor can touch you in your private area, and now we have to add TSA agent and that’s just wrong,” he told Reuters.
“At some point the terrorists have won.”
Opt-Out Day Emerges
National opt-out day is November 24, 2010. The day was established to remind travelers that they do have the right to opt-out of naked body scanners, and to protest the body scanners.
The mission statement, provided on the movement’s website, explains why many citizens are outraged:
It’s the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an “enhanced pat down” that touches people’s breasts and genitals. You should never have to explain to your children, “Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.”
As public opposition grows, the government will be forced to answer to the roaring voice of the people. As long as pressure is continually put on legislators, then change will most certainly be made. With more groups speaking out against naked body scanners daily, this possibility of removing body scanners from airports nationwide becomes much more likely.
Natural Society staff contribution