Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fly with Dignity

This month TSA has instituted new regulations for travelers in an attempt to make flying safer. Now all passengers are required to pass through an x-ray body scanner as part of security.  These body scanners have been referred to as a "virtual strip search" because they transmit an image of the passenger, naked, to a screen in another room for a TSA agent to inspect.

Travelers may opt out of the body scanner and choose, instead, to be given a pat down which involves a TSA agent passing his or her hand over every surface of your body, including breasts and groin. Passengers that qualify (qualifications seem to vary from airport to airport) will still get an intimate pat down after passing through the x-ray.

I object to the body scanner for two reasons. Firstly, because having a naked image of myself viewed by a stranger just doesn't sound ok to me and secondly, because I object to being subjected to any radiation that is not medically necessary, especially by machines that have not been the object of long term studies.

I object to having a stranger's hands in my clothes for obvious reasons.

So what choice do I have? I feel like I've become TSA's crack whore. My lifestyle involves flying and to keep up that lifestyle I have to either submit to a nude photograph or to being groped. It's humiliating and fills me with dread for the future. What next? Complete strip searches? Orifice checks?

Today was National Opt Out Day, where travelers around the country chose to opt out of body scanners with the goal of raising awareness of the amount of privacy being sacrificed in the name of safety. Today is over, but you can still visit Fly With Dignity to learn more about the movement, sign a petition, and find out what you can do to instigate change.

As for me? We've already bought our tickets to Oregon for Christmas, so it looks like I'll be getting felt up. But next time? Maybe we'll be looking at trains.

4 comments:

  1. I am very much with you. We're flying at Christmas this year but I've checked both airports and neither have the scanners yet. PDX is supposed to have them next year though so after this trip, we've agreed to look into the train schedules and/or plan on taking longer vacations so that we can drive. It's such a pain because flying is so convenient. But it is NOT convenient at all when you have to subject your person to being seen, felt and groped. To me, no amount of convenience is worth being subjected to such humiliation and loss of personal privacy.

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  2. And I always wanted to go travelling to Europe. Hm. :P You make me have second thoughts about future globe trotting. I'm not exactly interested in someone's hands on my person. :P

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  3. My dad says the are installing these at bus stations in "case of an emergency." We have to stop it here at the airports. It's only a matter of time before this common practice for any group travel.

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Muse with me. Please?