Are the New Airport Scanners Making You Rethink Holiday Plans?

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 12:04 PM

A TSA officer demonstrates what the images form the Advanced Imaging Technology unit look like at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 8 passenger security checkpoint on October 22, 2010 A TSA officer demonstrates what the images from the Advanced Imaging Technology unit look like at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 8 passenger security checkpoint on October 22, 2010 (Getty Images)

The backlash against new airport screening procedures is growing. Last month, the Transportation Security Administration started rolling out full body scanners that allow screeners to check for weapons concealed by clothing. If a passenger opts out of the scan, they must submit to an "enhanced" pat-down.

A group of fliers is calling for people to boycott the scanners over the Thanksgiving holiday, forcing screeners to conduct the pat-downs, causing disruptions at one of the busiest travel times of the year. The scanners take about 30 seconds, but the pat-downs last several minutes per passenger.

We'll ask Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the new policy, but we're asking you, Is this controversy causing you to rethink your travel plans during the holidays?

One of the websites calling for the protests, WeWontFly tells that some disgruntled passengers are even threatening to show up to the scanners wearing kilts with no underwear (men) or in revealing lingerie (women).

According to CNN, there are 385 full-body scanning machines at 68 airports nationwide.


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Comments [19]

Brian Shube from Smithtown, NY

I believe that the TSA's current airport security practices constitute a violation of my constitutional rights under the 14th amendment. Something is very wrong when the government starts doing intrusive searches under the guise of "keeping us safe". Where will it end? Is the next step to send a swat team to search my house because I purchased an airline ticket?

We need to revisit our security plan and find less intrusive ways to keep the airplanes safe. Treating everyone as a terrorist (even little children and babies) is not the answer!

Nov. 24 2010 07:34 AM
Jaybee from NJ/NY

Its not like getting on the plane is a great experience...

So... the next logical step is full body cavity search of everyone. Are we all ready to go on that ride?

Nov. 23 2010 08:46 PM
Margaret from NYC

I heard once (on BBC?), then on NPR's All Things Considered (11/19), that the latest model of scanner only has a computer read images, until something's worth further scrutiny. I agree with Elena from LIC - but they must have some kind of intelligence in Tel Aviv that we don't have...

Nov. 23 2010 06:15 PM
Tom Cross from home

Did you see that 35,000 of those "pornographic xrays" have leaked online? Haha and they say they are deleted immediately after the passenger is cleared. I wonder what right is taken next. Slowly everything will be taken and we'll sit back and do nothing like always.

Nov. 20 2010 01:35 AM
Elena from LIC

The link from the blurb above talks the ineffectiveness of the scan and the radiation dangers, particularly if you have or have had skin cancer. Plus, people's luggage and personal items have been stolen while they undergo the "pornoscan."

If they don't want them in Tel Aviv, where they take pride in the most rigorous airline security in the world, I'm sure we don't need them.

Nov. 18 2010 09:20 PM
John, from South Carolina

I'm all for it: pat me down and scan. I'd rather have that than just get blown out of the sky.

Nov. 18 2010 08:30 PM
Shari from Boston, MA

If we don't stay one step ahead of those that WANT to do us harm, shame on us. Accept the world we live in and move on or stay home.

Nov. 18 2010 07:23 PM

I'm tired of everyone claiming that if a plane got blown up we'd all blame the TSA. I suppose it depends on why the terrorists got onboard. I am willing to accept a certain level of risk - as I do for driving and flying in the first place, which are far more likely to kill me than terrorism.

What's more, I'm not even sure if all this crap is making us much safer. It's not like we haven't seen anus bombs before.

Nov. 18 2010 06:49 PM
Elena from LIC

I fly maybe 6 times a year. The first time I went through one of these scanners, I didn't know what it was. Inside the booth, with my arms up, I felt a puff of air from the floor, and shuddered as it dawned on me. I exited the booth feeling humiliated and totally invaded. Someone, somewhere in a hidden office, was looking at my tits and my crotch.

Fortunately, I've since been able to choose the metal detectors. When the day comes that I have to choose between the scanner and a body-frisk, I will choose the frisk, and I will make a scene if those hands go anywhere I don't like. If I don't fly as a result, I guess I'll deal with the consequences. But there is a line that must not be crossed, and this body scanner is totally over that line.

How many liberties are Americans going to give up? People are ready to throw them away if it "makes us safer." Except, it doesn't. It's smoke and mirrors, so people can point at something and say "see? We're doing something, and it's really invasive, so it must be thorough."

But we aren't safer when people like me periodically smuggle forgotten liquids and blades through the carry-on X-ray.

There have been in-air terrorist attempts since 9/11. How have they been thwarted? Other passengers. Not the X-ray, not the metal detector, not the quiz about where our luggage has been.

Creeps who want to smuggle their tools onboard will use creative means, including body cavities. Will the unquestioning "Sure, if it makes us safer" still apply when those searches are instituted?

I can't imagine how women and men who have been sexually assaulted will handle this—or their other option: a close-contact body frisk—should they be unlucky enough to be singled out for the body scan booth. This invasive procedure is disgusting, and it's disgusting that we accept it.

Nov. 18 2010 06:03 PM
Steve Parker, on Facebook

So what if they can see your parts. You have the freedom to choose other means to your destination if you're not willing to be scanned. If something were to happen, everyone would be blaming the TSA for not being stringent enough.

Nov. 18 2010 05:10 PM
By text from Salt Lake City, Utah

I had no plans to travel for the holidays, but I am absolutely appalled at the new security procedures. It's a violation of basic human dignity and the thought of children or survivors of sexual assault having to undergo these procedures makes me sick.

Nov. 18 2010 04:45 PM
By text from Salt Lake City, Utah

I have to fly my two teen sons across the country three times per year. I go through security each time as I escort them to their plane. I don't mind whatever security has to do to safeguard my children's lives. They already hate flying and feel anxious every time they have to go. I don't see this getting better. I only hope they turn 18 and can choose when they fly before the odds catch up.

Nov. 18 2010 04:44 PM
By text from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

No, the TSA is window dressing and won't stop a very motivated person. TSA staff are drunk with power.

Nov. 18 2010 01:51 PM
Rusty Roy -- Facebook from Groveport, Ohio

If it means my family and I can fly more safely, I am all for it.

Nov. 18 2010 12:44 PM
By text from Providence, RI

I feel things are safe enough that I may let my son fly.

Nov. 18 2010 12:43 PM
Kelly -- by text from Myrtle Beach, SC

Absolutely not. If you don't like it, drive. I saw an online news article about a TSA officer suggesting that a type 1 diabetic leave her insulin pump at home next time, and that was ignorance at its finest.

Nov. 18 2010 12:43 PM
By text from Massachusetts

The new security measures are more theatre than anything else. What's wrong with existing procedures? Are you saying we haven't been safe since 9/11 or do we have to accept the fact that life is inherently risky and only reasonable security practices are warranted. Who will make sure the scans remain deleted and private or will they become virtual porn for some DHS screener making minimum wage?

Nov. 18 2010 12:43 PM
By text from Pontiac, Mich.

Yes. No cold showers that morning. :))

Nov. 18 2010 12:42 PM
Cristy Moran (via Facebook) from Miami, Fla.

No. Seriously, no. Do I agree with them? Not so much. Would I vote against them? Yes. But do I have the luxury of circumventing them by not flying at all? No.

Nov. 18 2010 12:38 PM

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