SCAN OR HAND?
The Story That Just Won't Go Away____________________________________________________________________________________
Airport travelers call it groping, prodding or just plain inappropriate - a pat-down that probes places where the sun doesn't shine. The Transportation Security Administration calls it the new reality of airport security.
The examinations routinely involve the touching of breasts and genitals, invasive searches designed to find weapons and suspicious items.
The new pat-downs have prompted a growing backlash among pilots and flight attendants, civil liberties groups and security-weary passengers who say the touching goes too far.
In the latest escalation of the debate over the balance between security and passenger rights, privacy advocates have enlisted consumer rights activist and four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who called the screening techniques "extremely voyeuristic and intrusive."
"If anyone is going to try to get through, they're going to [conceal items in body cavities], so this isn't going to stop that," Nader said. "My prediction is that TSA is going to lose all of this."
Brian J. Sodergren of Ashburn, who works in the health-care industry, is organizing an "opt out" day to encourage passengers to say no to advanced imaging technology, known to industry insiders as a "virtual strip search." He's planning the protest for one of the busiest travel days of the year - Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving.
Another group launched a Web site, WeWontFly.com, and says it has gotten more than 70,000 hits per day since going online a week ago. The Web site asks passengers to say no to scans and pat-downs and for TSA to remove its "porno-scanners" and "gropers.
"We're opposed to letting TSA treat us like criminals," said James Babb of Eagleville, Pa., an activist who is organizing the We Won't Fly campaign.
But while passengers can opt out of being put through the full-body scanners, if they want to fly, they can't also opt out of the pat-downs.
Several of the country's leading passenger advocacy organizations, as well as pilots' and flight attendants' unions, have publicly criticized the heightened screening, questioning its effectiveness and asking the Department of Homeland Security to make pat-downs and full-body scans a secondary security measure.
Several of the country's leading passenger advocacy organizations, as well as pilots' and flight attendants' unions, have publicly criticized the heightened screening, questioning its effectiveness and asking the Department of Homeland Security to make pat-downs and full-body scans a secondary security measure.. Click Here for more info.
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