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Government Security Transportation

TSA Body Scanner Opt-out No Longer Guaranteed (slashgear.com) 278

codguy writes: Up to now, airline passengers have been able opt out of the TSA's Advanced Imaging Technologies (AIT) whole body scanners, and request a physical pat-down for their security check. But ProPublica journalist Julia Angwin points out that a rule change on December 18, 2015 now allows the TSA to compel some passengers to use these scanners instead of giving them a pat-down. The updated rule says, "While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers," (PDF source). Of course, the criteria for when this can happen is completely unspecified, and one can easily imagine them abusing this by deciding to compel anyone who requests a pat-down to go through the scanners for some reasonable cause from their perspective. Guilty until proven innocent?
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TSA Body Scanner Opt-out No Longer Guaranteed

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just build a wall, ok?

    Get it over with.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just build a wall, ok?

      Get it over with.

      The wall is already built. You'd have to be batshit crazy insane to want to go to the US of A.
      It is in all but name a technological dictatorship predicated on the worship of the dollar.
      As for the whole thing about freedom, land of brave, american dream etc... it never meant anything at all.

      • by rtkluttz ( 244325 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @03:49PM (#51174277) Homepage

        Exactly. The USA has lost. I went to an NFL game and had to have all my shit searched. I protested as an American. Any idiot knows (which means most of America is BElOW idiot status) that it is just security theater. Any terrorist with bad intentions would get more victims detonating in the packed security line than they EVER would detonating inside the stadium. The stadium spreads everyone out and the traffic jam they create to finger our asses puts us way closer together just asking for it. It is just security theater designed to make the dumb ass public feel warm and fuzzy while we give up our constitutional rights to have our ass fingered. I though America was about doing the right thing not being scared little dumbasses who won't help Syrians in need because some of the are terrorists with bad intentions. Hell some of US are terrorists with bad intentions. Help people, don't give up your freedoms for the illusion of security have a damn spine like a real American. Get a spine and realize there are only 2 choices. Let the government be worse than the terrorists EVER could be or accept that not giving up your freedoms means we have to accept that an occasional terrorist is going to get through. It cannot be stopped 100% with ANY amount of loss of freedom so why give up any that our family lines fought and died to protect. Our government uses terror more than the terrorist do... just to a different end, and that is to control the sheeple who want warm fuzzies.

  • Ask to avoid the scanner? Why that's a clear sign you have something to hide. You therefore must be a terrorist - go through the scanner.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:24AM (#51171565)

      I am more concerned about the clear sign saying "DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR MEDICAL CONDITION".

      • Seconded. I have a benign tumour in the left side of my head (acoustic neuroma) that was detected many years ago. It has not changed in size in over a decade (verified by regular MRI's) and so far has not caused me any grief. If it did start growing, one method to stop it would be to zap it with gamma radiation; however, that carries the risk that the tumour then turns malignant. So if I'm ever forced to go through one of those "death ray boxes" I'll tell the TSA agent my cancer-risk story and see where

    • Or if you go through the scanner and constantly get a pat down. That's what happens to me, always. These things are nothing more than security theater and are there to justify that the government is doing "something" to protect the flying public. If I'm going to get patted-down anyway, I opt-out routinely because it means I get the TSA to lug my bags through the checkpoint. As I'm flying today I'll give you an update but I have a 100% confidence that I'll get a pat-down after going through the Nudeo Sca

  • The rule was always just for the general pop, who were not currently undergoing extra screening. The TSA can pump your stomach on a whim and a suspicion, they can strip search you, they can destroy your property, they can detain you, of course they can compel you to walk through a scanner.

  • Whilst I don't like the body scanner, and prefer the old fashioned metal detectors, I would happily take either in preference to a pat down.

    Part of the reason that I don't like the body scanner is it is much more likely to "find" a false positive requiring a partial pat down by the officers than the metal detector is.

    • I would agree but only if the scanner is of the safe sort which uses Terahertz radiation. While a pat down would not be pleasant I'd take it any day over the backscatter X-ray scanners which have a tiny, but non-zero, chance of giving you cancer. While this risk is tiny there is absolutely no need to take it given that there are perfectly safe scanners available. So if the TSA is going to be able to compel you to get scanned then they need to be compelled to provide safe scanners which use non-ionizing radi
      • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

        They've removed all of the backscatter devices already.

        • They have? Last I heard, they were still using them, but only at smaller airports. I'm with the GP: the terahertz ones are OK with me, but not the X-ray scanners which were never tested by the FDA for safety or radiation levels.

      • My understanding is that the backscatter X-ray scanners were retired from TSA use in 2013-2014 or so (too much commotion and it was discovered they could be easily fooled).

        Instead they moved them to courthouse and jail use.

  • Pat downs are not guaranteed. There is so much that can slip through that you could have caught with a scanner. Do you know that since the program has started, the number of tiger attacks on airplanes has been reduced to zero? A pat down is not guaranteed to find a tiger hidden on your person. But by irradiating the entire body, they are 1.8% more likely to find any tigers you have hidden on your person. We simply can't take the risk people.
  • I Always Opt-out (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:35AM (#51171643)

    I fly during the primary holidays and I always opt-out ever since the process started. I've never had any issues so far and everyone has been respectable, more annoyed that they have to do extra work than anything else. Interestingly the times when it was very busy they stopped asking people to take off their shoes and let us keep our laptops in their bags.

    Skin cancer runs in my family, so that's the reason I opt-out. I have no clue if the scanners promote cancer or not, but why take the risk? I'm already getting a radiation dose from flying. Do I have any recourses if they refuse my opt-out?

    • I opt-out, too. The TSA guys are relaxed once they see that I know how it works, and that I'm not trying to make some political statement. I think this is a key factor. It takes a few extra minutes for the pat-down, and that's generally not a problem for me.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:41AM (#51171689) Homepage
    as an american, I avoid outright any travel during the holidays. I can visit my family cheaper and with far less hassle any other time during the year. That having been said -- and I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion -- I've had relatively productive experiences with the TSA sans a few minor run-ins, likely enacted as part of the general TSA theatricality.

    Returning to LA from Ohio on a business trip I was detained after an explosives detector found something on my hands. I was led to a small concrete room with two bluecoats and my carry-on was privately searched. I explained a bar of soap, and they packed everything as they found it and sent me on my way. Another time, I decided to exit the very tedious screening line to get a beer at an adjacent microbrewery in the portland airport. Big mistake. I was detained by police and questioned for leaving the line. I told them the line was boring, and I wanted beer. After refusing to answer a few questions about religion and my laptop password, my laptop was confiscated and i was free to return to the pub. I rescheduled my flight, shared a laugh with the bartender, and re-entered the line only to be followed by the cops again to my gate. My laptop was returned, along with an apology and some rambling nonsense about muslims. They didnt crack a smile until I asked how many beers the average muslim drinks in a day.

    Travel is simple, with a few caveats*, in america. board with a smile, speak softly, dress comfortably, and keep entertained. Im willing to suspect most TSA officers wont turn away a kind face asking for an opt out.

    *simple travel may not be available to anyone of middle eastern, south asian, or african american descent.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:56AM (#51171831)

      I once went through a checkpoint about an hour after visiting a bomb range. (New Mexico Tech Energretic Meaterials Research and Testing Center) and opted out. I handled C4 and ANFO then examined the damage they did and in one case stood in the resulting crater. The pat-down, wipe-the-gloves, scanner test showed nothing.

      • by ksheff ( 2406 )

        But carrying cheese in your carry on luggage will get the TSA guys at the airport check points really excited that they found some C4 until they open the bag and discover it's just cheese. Having a stress test where the medical technician injects radioactive material into your bloodstream a few weeks before flying causes lots of excitement too.

        If a checkpoint is really swamped, they can just wave people through and bypass the entire scanner/pat down routine.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      I decided to exit the very tedious screening line to get a beer at an adjacent microbrewery in the portland airport. Big mistake.

      So you think it was okay for them to question you and confiscate your personal property because you decided you'd rather get beer and see if the line got shorter a little later?

      Wow just wow. So much for the forth amendment I guess.

    • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @12:13PM (#51172517)

      Returning to LA from Ohio on a business trip I was detained after an explosives detector found something on my hands. I was led to a small concrete room with two bluecoats and my carry-on was privately searched. I explained a bar of soap, and they packed everything as they found it and sent me on my way. Another time, I decided to exit the very tedious screening line to get a beer at an adjacent microbrewery in the portland airport. Big mistake. I was detained by police and questioned for leaving the line. I told them the line was boring, and I wanted beer. After refusing to answer a few questions about religion and my laptop password, my laptop was confiscated and i was free to return to the pub. I rescheduled my flight, shared a laugh with the bartender, and re-entered the line only to be followed by the cops again to my gate. My laptop was returned, along with an apology and some rambling nonsense about muslims. They didnt crack a smile until I asked how many beers the average muslim drinks in a day.

      Wait a second, you call that kind of jackbooted totalitarian shit productive? What the fuck is wrong with you?!

    • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 )
      How the fuck is that productive?
  • by CaptnCrud ( 938493 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @11:07AM (#51171895)

    is now required to opt out.

  • The machines false like crazy. I got pat downs coming and going, as it falsed on a number of locations including the groin, of course.

  • Why does the useless and hateful TSA still exist? We need to get rid of this oppressive "security" force.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @12:40PM (#51172749) Journal

    Personally, I believe that the TSA having to look at my near-naked scan is probably punishment enough for whatever they've done to me that trip. I'd call it even.

  • I'm sorry sir, but I don't want to destroy my shoulder joints which have been injured during years of manual labor and could cause an immediate medical event. Please make sure that you pat me down instead. Thank you. What are they supposed to do at that point? Risk a federal lawsuit for discriminating against disabled individuals?
  • "While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers,"

    Those "some passengers" being the commie liberal terrorist sympathisers who request to opt out of the body scanners?

  • by It doesn't come easy ( 695416 ) * on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @01:46PM (#51173345) Journal
    Not at all. Guilty, period. Whether or not you prove your innocence.
  • Muslim, or look Muslim (Sikh). Welcome to America!
  • "Guilty until proven innocent?"

    That's what security is all about.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @02:53PM (#51173857)

    They've "only" destroyed 9 Medtronic insulin pumps ... what's 9 dead people compared to a technology proven to stop terrorists at airports, as evidenced by our large number of public trials, and the terrorists subsequently jailed, thanks to AIT scanners.

    What do you mean, we've not caught a single terrorist with an AIT scanner? Are you sure?!? Try Googling it... you *must* be wrong! AIT scanners are good for you!

  • This is why I haven't flown anywhere in 15 years. This shit right here.

    I'll just drive wherever I want to go in the US and sail anywhere else....

    I will not let TSA grope me or my family to get on a plane.
    I will not let TSA irradiate me with machines that were forced into use by the same Senator who owned a healthy share of the company that manufactured them.
    I will not let TSA take my personal laptop or electronics because I won't give them the passwords to 'look through them'.

    Seriously, Fuck the TSA and t

  • Guilty until proven innocent?

    ... more like, petty, incompetent and arbitrary until proven otherwise.

You're at Witt's End.

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