Will 'opt-out day' become no-fly day?
Monday 15 November 2010
US travellers are being urged to refuse body scans at airports next week by several pro-consumer groups in an action which could cause delays on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
Grassroots group We Won't Fly has designated November 24 as "National Opt Out of the Airport Scanners Day," to highlight the "health and privacy dangers" of the controversial machines.
It's a call echoed by several other sites such as OptOutDay.com, which says that it wants to force a family discussion of what is appropriate when traveling, as the date selected falls just ahead of Thanksgiving.
November 24 sees a surge in travel for the US Thanksgiving holiday and is one of the busiest travel periods of the year in the United States, sparking fears that if the protests are successful, the groups' actions could create mass delays at US airports.
TSA protocol requires that passengers who opt-out of the machines require a time-consuming "enhanced pat-down."
"Not only are these porno scanners a gross violation of individual privacy," said We Won't Fly co-founder George Donnelly, "they're also a threat to the health of millions of passengers and ineffective as well.
"The goal of the demonstrations is to urge Americans to exercise their legal right to 'opt out' of the scan."
The plan is the latest attempt by an increasingly vocal group to force the US government to rethink the scanners.
Last week, a leading pilots' union urged its members to refuse the body scans and request private pat-downs, condemning them as humiliating to pilots.
With only a week remaining until November 24, no doubt travelers and security officials are watching the group's support levels closely.
Note: consumers in other countries should read up on local rules before joining the protest in solidarity - refuse a scan at some airports in Great Britain, for instance, and you won't be allowed to fly.
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