Travelers dislike new invasive airport security techniques
Grassroots push behind ‘National Opt-Out Day’
TAMPA, Fla. – If you are flying this holiday season, you should prepare yourself for a difficult decision: Would you rather have a revealing picture of you taken or be aggressively patted down by another person?
Both are now possible under new rules set forth by the Transportation Security Administration.
The TSA has been employing the full-body scanners for some time now. The scanner takes a revealing picture of the traveler, bypassing clothing and producing a photo that includes anatomical features.
Passengers are often asked to go through the full-body scanner if they set off a metal detector during regular screening.
Starting Oct. 29, if a person chooses not to go through the scanner, a TSA employee will now conduct an aggressive pat down. The TSA employee will use the front of their hands during the pat down — rather than the previously-used back of the hand — and slide their hands along the body. The touching does include private areas.
According to TSA, “pat downs are designed to address potentially dangerous items… concealed on the body… to stay ahead of evolving threats.”
However, all of the passengers interviewed by ABC Action News at Tampa International Airport voiced concerns about the pat downs.
“I’d rather have the machine (take my picture),” said Pat Moore from Spring Hill.
“I’d take the picture, rather than some stranger’s hands all over my aggressively,” Karin Lewis, from Clearwater, said.
“There’s got to be a different way. I don’t think either one is the right way to do it,” said Jessica Spinner, who lives in Tampa.
Spinner is not alone. A grassroots effort has been launched to stage something called ‘National Opt-Out Day.’ Scheduled for Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving, the group is asking people to opt-out of having their picture taken by the scanner. Travelers are allowed to make that decision.
Although the group does not like the pat downs either, they suggest travelers submit to the pat down instead. Some have expressed concerns that, because the pat downs take longer, this will lead to delays on a very busy travel day.
“There is no intent or desire to delay passengers en route to friends and family over Thanksgiving,’ says a posting on the National Opt-Out Day website. “Once people are made aware of what is happening, they may have reservations about the new virtual strip searches and enhanced pat downs — especially for their children or spouse or other loved one.”
For more information about the push, log on to http://www.optoutday.com/.
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