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National Opt-Out Day Against Virtual Strip Searches 647

An anonymous reader writes in about a protest called for the busiest airline travel day of the year. "An activist opposed to the new invasive body scanners in use at airports around the country just designated Wednesday, Nov. 24 as a National Opt-Out Day. He's encouraging airline passengers to decline the TSA's technological strip searches en masse on that day as a protest against the scanners, as well as the new 'enhanced pat-downs' inflicted on refuseniks. 'The goal of National Opt-Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change,' reads the call to action at, set up by Brian Sodegren. 'No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping. We have a right to privacy, and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we're guilty until proven innocent.' The US Airline Pilots Association and other pilot groups have urged their members to avoid the scanners and have also condemned the new pat-down policy as humiliating to pilots. They've advised pilots who don't feel comfortable undergoing pat-downs in front of passengers to request they be conducted in a private room. Any pilots who don't feel comfortable after undergoing a pat-down have been encouraged to 'call in sick and remove themselves from the trip.'"
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National Opt-Out Day Against Virtual Strip Searches

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  • by jhigh ( 657789 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:26AM (#34221582)
    I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum, far to the left and far to the right. Everyone can (and should) agree that this is a gross violation of privacy and should not be tolerated. The only people that I have heard even come close to defending this procedure are the faux conservatives that put "security" (read: invading the privacy of citizens to expand the power of the state) over liberty.
  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:28AM (#34221594) Journal

    and take off your belt while going through the scanner, my plan is to wear loose pants and go commando.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by iago ( 4917 )

      I'm leaning towards wearing a kilt.

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @11:42PM (#34227688) Homepage

        I'm leaning towards wearing a kilt.

        I have done this. Not in the US, but the are a couple of practical issues:

        1) kilt pins, stow them in your luggage and make sure to stay out of wind until you can out it back on. Three inches of pointy metal won't make you popular, and the pin weighs down the apron part of the kilt, so, use your imagination
        2) the buckles, most of my kilts have 2-3 buckles made of metal
        3) the sporran, mine has a chain and metal snaps
        4) sitting in an airplane seat in a kilt is a tricky issue, especially if you are a little rounder like me and want to be sure not to give a show
        5) don't even think of the dagger in your sock, and even the kilt flash on your socks have buckles
        6) depending on what you wear for footwear, unlacing your shoes/boots could be tricky. I wear Doc Martens with my kilt, so there is some work involved.
        7) my utilikilts have about 10 snaps. All metal.

        However, the pat down procedure could be hilarious ... Just hoist up the kilt and show the whole damned airport. Of course, that will get you arrested for a different reason.

        Happy kilting.

  • by BadEvilYoda ( 935532 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:29AM (#34221604)
    This article by Jeffrey Goldberg is both sad, hilarious, and informative. [] "We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance," he explained. "Resistance?" I asked. "Your testicles," he explained. "That's funny," I said, "because 'The Resistance' is the actual name I've given to my testicles."
  • by kaptink ( 699820 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:29AM (#34221606) Homepage

    Why just do this on one day only when you can make this your default choice? I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to cancer. And I dont much like being treated like a naughty child by the TSA or whoever either.

  • Go further (Score:3, Insightful)

    by funkatron ( 912521 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:31AM (#34221614)
    Most people have a "grab there, get hit" policy (well, less formally acknowledged than that) in their daily lives. I don't think there'd be too much fuss if people applied it to the manual search.
  • False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:33AM (#34221626) Homepage
    Opting out of the body scanner is opting in to the invasive pat-down. "Opting out" merely validates the false dichotomy put forth by the TSA.
  • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:34AM (#34221634)
    Trying to annoy the TSA for a day will do absolutely nothing. If you want to end these policies, refuse to fly until they're gone. If airlines see their bank accounts turn red with no hope of them being profitable unless the TSA is removed, you better believe they'll start doing everything imaginable to get rid of the TSA.
    • Re:Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:01AM (#34221774) Homepage

      "Trying to annoy the TSA for a day will do absolutely nothing. If you want to end these policies, refuse to fly until they're gone."

      Totally disagree. Organized public action is necessary to get results.

      The point isn't to annoy the TSA so much. The point is to get the other passengers thinking about and discussing the issue. (Website's 1st line: " is an educational outreach campaign, designed to get people to better understand what they are now consenting to when they purchase a plane ticket.") Private, invisible, personal non-purchases will not serve to publicize the issue among the electorate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by subsonic ( 173806 )

      That's about it. My wife and I tried taking amtrak. Its like how air travel used to be. There was an obvious security presence, but not even a metal detector between you and boarding- and this was at Union Station in Chicago. Not to mention the seats were larger and you had more legroom on board, plus there were two three-pronged outlets so i could keep my phone charged and watch some videos on it.
      For us, if its domestic travel, rail is a no-brainer now. Even if high speed rail takes a while to finally c

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:52AM (#34222102)

      1) Stop flying. I realize this may be hard, but in most cases it is possible. If it is truly impossible, like your work requires it, ok fine but then you just kinda have to roll with what happens. However for just about anyone else you can stop flying. Doesn't mean you can't vacation or visit family, just means you will have to drive. It'll work, really it will. When I was a kid, my parents almost always drove us out to the grandparents place because of cost. I didn't enjoy it, but it was fine.

      2) Let the airlines know you have stopped flying, and why. You may have noticed the government thinks the airline industry is rather important. They have bailed them out in the past. This could be because they consider it of strategic importance, could be because the airlines have good lobbyists, etc. Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, they listen and that's what matters. So if you make it clear to them that you are refusing to fly because of the TSA, they'll take notice. One person won't do anything alone, but if more than a few do it, they'll care. Make sure to include things like your frequent flier number and dates you traveled last year so they know you do use their service, and can see you aren't.

      3) Write your senators and representative and let them know you find this unacceptable, and that this is an issue that will decide your vote. Write a well reasoned letter explaining why this is not ok, and ask what they intend to do about it. You will very likely get a reply (from a staffer of course but it is still their position). Again, what one person says doesn't matter a whole lot but a bunch of people will make them take notice since politicians have to care about being reelected first and foremost and if their constituency is pissed, they have to deal with it. Goes double if they have pressure from the airlines as well.

      4) Actually vote on it. If your representatives say "We think the TSA is fine we aren't doing anything," vote for their challenger. Perhaps when they are running even make a campaign contribution, doesn't have to be large $20 should suffice, along with a letter expressing your support for them so long as they will work to fix/get rid of the TSA.

      You cannot expect change over night. However if people who are pissed off start doing this, change will come, one way or another. The TSA gets away with its stupidity due to apathy more or less. People just go along with their shit so it is an issue congress doesn't have to care about. If people tell congress it is a problem, then it will become a problem for congress.

      • How to stop the TSA (Score:4, Informative)

        by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:13PM (#34226144) Homepage Journal

        We need volunteers to:

        1) stand at the TSA line and hand out leaflets explaining why the TSA is sucks.
        2) get interrogated by TSA officers and removed from the airport.
        3) try to fly and find they're on the no-fly list.
        4) sue.

        And people to fund this effort.

  • by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:34AM (#34221636)
    Hello Teabaggers and my fellow Government conservatives! These scanners are just one big pile of stinking pork [] AND it's a violation of our beloved Constitution: []>The Fourth Amendment:

    The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

    This is a prime example of where "if you do nothing wrong; then you have nothing to worry about" is shown to be bullshit.

    These airport scanners and pat downs dishonor our troops and everyone who has ever died fighting for our country!

    We are supposed to be the home of the free and the brave, let's act like it! The Europeans don't do this. They don't even allow the scanners! Are they braver and more free than we are?! It sure looks like it!

    I think everyone on both sides can agree, this is just too much!

    • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:02AM (#34221778) Journal

      Perhaps the new motto ought to be: Land of the sheep, home of the scared?

      US paranoia has reached an incredible level. Yesterday I was in Madrid Barajas airport to travel to Liverpool, and there were automatic announcements advising passengers should turn up at the gate for US-bound flights an hour and a half before the boarding time of the aircraft to make it though enhanced security. If you have luggage to check I suspect you now have to turn up at the airport 3.5 to 4 hours before the actual departure time for a US bound flight.

    • by tick-tock-atona ( 1145909 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:03AM (#34221784)

      At this stage, most democracies around the world are more free than the US.

      This cognitive dissonance of declaring yourselves the "land of the free, home of the brave" is quite astonishing given that:

      How the hell are you people not making a bigger noise about these three egregious violations of your liberty?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SydShamino ( 547793 )

        The first one is a check on the power of the judiciary - and the judiciary's reluctance to acknowledge its own mistakes. It's based on the notion that most of us would rather have a few criminals go free than allow any innocent people to be imprisoned. A governor's or President's commutation or pardon is often the last recourse for the wrongfully convicted.

        And note that Libby, criminal that he is, wasn't pardoned; Bush merely commuted his sentence. This was one of the things that drove a wedge between Bu

    • by Iphtashu Fitz ( 263795 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:49AM (#34222076)

      The Europeans don't do this. They don't even allow the scanners!

      Actually the Europeans do allow scanners, and claim that 95% of passengers approve of them:

      Manchester Airport body scanners in all three terminals []

      Besides, if an international airline flight originates abroad and lands in the US, then the TSA forces the originating airport to jump through all sorts of security theater hoops. Back in 2004 I flew to New Zealand & Australia. My flight back was from Brisbane to San Diego. At the Brisbane airport the flight departed from the very last gate in one of the concourses. I got there a couple hours early due to the timing of my connecting flight, so I went to the gate, sat down, and started reading a book. About 2 hours before the flight a group of about 5 security agents showed up and had everybody leave the departure area - moving to the next-to-last gate in the concourse. Once our departure area was vacant they roped it off, put on rubber gloves, and started searching the entire area. They searched under the seats in the departure lounge, inside the trash bins, around the gate agents desk, etc. Once they had swept the gate area all but one went on board the aircraft and I assume did a fulls sweep of it as well. After that was done they allowed passengers back into the waiting area, but they screened our passports as we returned. I asked one of the screeners what this was all about, and they told me that it was solely because the destination of the flight was inside the USA and therefore USA regulations required the additional screening.

      Anybody with even a tiny bit of intelligence could see how useless all this security theater was. If I was a terrorist and wanted to hide a bomb in the airport I'd simply hide it in the waiting area of the next gate and detonate it when the security sweep is going on since all the passengers would now be in that waiting area. Or if I was going to smuggle weapons or anything else on board the plane then I'd have them hidden elsewhere in the concourse for me to pick them up. Unless the screeners search the ENTIRE concourse then a sweep of just one departure lounge is a complete waste. But it was a requirement forced on them by the USA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:37AM (#34221660)

    Also known as "National Get-Added-To-The-No-Fly-List Day"

  • so what's to prevent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by doginthewoods ( 668559 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @09:38AM (#34221664)

    People from simply removing all of their clothing when they are "hand searched"? Or demanding that a LEO be present at the search? Or demanding that the search be video'd? If the search is "public", then can someone tape it? Or getting the name of the employees who search you?

    By the way, where did that 'bagger come from from up thread? What a parrot.... Prove a negative, indeed....

  • by Greymoon ( 834879 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:15AM (#34221840)
    When traveling this holiday season, opt out of any porn scanners. Opt out LOUDLY. Say “I OPT OUT” while you smile at the nearest TSA agent. Be polite and move on to step two, the Pat Down. Getting a hand pat down. Teach your children to shout LOUDLY, “STOP TOUCHING ME in a SEXUAL MANNER!”. Adults shout LOUDLY, “Stop TOUCHING ME in a SEXUAL MANNER!”. Smile and be polite as you do this. Children are allowed and encouraged to cry. Video the whole escapade with sound and as clearly as possible. Post to Behold the power of the Internet. Game on Janet!
  • by Iphtashu Fitz ( 263795 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @10:26AM (#34221922)

    I think I'll start manufacturing a line of undergarments that have metal threads woven into them with sayings like "I do not consent to invasive searches", "TSA scanners are a violation of my 4th Amendment rights", etc.

    I wonder what the TSA response would be if they started seeing people wearing underwear, etc. that effectively blocked the scanners from seeing ones "naughty bits" and possibly also included slogans like these?

  • by Constantin ( 765902 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @12:02PM (#34222660)

    The TSA has yet to catch a single terrorist before they attempted to commit a crime. Shoe-tosses, liquid bans, enhanced pat-downs, body scanners, and all the other reactive measures implemented by this agency ignore the simple fact that the FAA red teams still have no problems whatsoever to penetrate airport security zones at will. Why would a determined terrorist be any less able to do so?

    Given that neither scanners nor pat downs can detect body-cavity contraband, the argument that terrorists cannot carry enough contraband into aircraft at this point to be dangerous is simply absurd. Plus, the TSA has not allocated any additional space to open up more parallel lines of entry into airports. So, all these scanners do is slow down the rate of passage to the point where massive security lines have become more inviting targets than aircraft themselves (Remember Rome/Vienna 1985?).

    Lastly, please consider the very real situation in most airports where the so-called porno-scanners are regularly shut down during peak travel periods for the reasons given above. If it's that simple to bypass a scanner, then having the scanners there in the first place is completely pointless. Any terrorist worth his/her salt would simply observe the usual travel/security patterns and plan accordingly.

    I always elect for a pat-down screening simply because I do not trust the statements made by the TSA re: the radiation levels being safe and some radiologists seem to agree. What I found particularly interesting in the context of one screening experience is the language used by the TSA - "opt-out". No, I didn't opt-out of security screening, I opted for an alternative screening procedure that is arguably safer since the gloves that the TSA folk wear are also tested for explosive residue. Language is important and the way the TSA is using it is contrary to what is actually going on.

    Given the extremes that the TSA has gone to lie to the public (example: we don't save the pictures, except for the 35,000+ we sent to a private contractor), the arrogance that they treat the flying public with (the constant yelling at checkpoints), and the sheer ineffectiveness of the agency at meeting its objectives makes me conclude that the better approach is to scrap the agency, return its employees into the pools of privately-contracted companies that used to do airport security, and accept that 100% safety in flying is simply not possible.

  • by npsimons ( 32752 ) * on Sunday November 14, 2010 @01:47PM (#34223494) Homepage Journal

    Someone here suggested that "people need to get over being seen naked". I can't find that comment to respond to it because it has (rightfully) been modded into oblivion, so I'll post this as a general response: some of us don't care about being seen naked. Hell, if people are so concerned that I might be smuggling a bomb under my penis (it's not *that* big), I'd go naked all the time; I don't care. The only thing that would bother me is the cold. What *does* bother me is that there are serious health concerns with the scanning machines []. I don't know about you, but I've known cancer patients. I've seen some die. It's not pretty, and we shouldn't have to sacrifice our liberty or our health just to FEEL "safe". If anyone needs to "get over" something, the original poster needs to grow a pair and stop being so scared that he's willing to sell out his own country and sacrifice his health to FEEL "safe".

  • by hackus ( 159037 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:50PM (#34225948) Homepage

    I do not fly anymore, because from what my friends tell me, if a TSA agent did some of the things that are patently criminal to half the guys crotches and ladies breasts, I would give the individual a knuckle sandwich.

    After which they arrest me, I would try to do the same to the pompous judge who fined me.

    There is absolutely no way I am going through a body scanner, unless they put a bullet between my eyes.

    Then they can willy nilly my corpse through the thing as many times as they want.


The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky