Journalist Christopher Elliott is supporting National Opt-Out Week. Don’t go through the nude-o-scopes at the TSA checkpoint, insist on a good old fashioned full body run (pat down) instead.
Elliott’s reason for supporting the movement are that the machines aren’t adequately tested for dangers due to radiation (applies more to the backscatter machines than to the millimeter wave machines), that they are easily fooled (so don’t provide much security at all), that they are very expensive (so a poor use of security resources that could be better deployed elsewhere), that they’ve invasive (we give up our rights and the terrorists really have won), and that they’ve never actually, you know, caught a terrorist.
I don’t just opt out one week a year. I did go through one of the machines a year ago in the Bangkok airport, there was one line only for transfer security between the domestic and international pier. The machine there was almost always off in the past, but not when I was going through and in Thailand there’s no “opt out.” I don’t expect rights there. But in the States I do think it’s important to preserve both freedoms and dignity.
Personally I hate “assuming the position,” I find having to hold up my hands in surrender position when standing in the machine to be degrading. That bothers me more than appearing naked before TSA authorities.
I know some folks that try to preserve a small portion of control over their own lives going through the machines, ‘flipping the bird’ or ‘giving the finger’ to those looking at their naked images.
Me, I just don’t go through. When they direct me to the machine I simply announce, “Male assist!” And they come over to offer me a special pat down.
Sadly while two years ago there was a great deal of pushback against the TSA most everyone has simply gotten used to these machines. So I don’t expect much to come of ‘national opt out week’. But I certainly appreciate the additional attention that Elliott is bringing to the issue.