A group called We Won’t Fly is calling for travelers flying on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving, to refuse to submit to full-body backscatter x-ray scans.
Calling the scans “strip searches,” they are asking flyers to simply say, “I opt out,” when asked to go through the scanners.
Passengers who assert their right not to be scanned will most likely be subjected to newly introduced security procedures, what the Transportation Security Administration calls an “enhanced pat down.” TSA agents will use their palms to touch passengers’ genitals and chest area in what some opponents describe as a form of sexual molesting.
Passengers can ask to have the pat-down performed in private with a witness of their choosing if they don’t want it done in front of fellow travelers. The group is hoping enough passengers will refuse scanning that the government will be forced to back down from the new procedures. The group has criticized practices that subject young children to a hands-on approach; in response, the TSA announced revised procedures for children under 12 years old.
Concern about the health risks has also increased. A number of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco wrote President Obama in April alarmed at the “potential serious health risks” posed by the new scanners. Specifically, they objected to the description of the back scatter X-ray machines as being low dosage, equivalent to the cosmic rays that airline passengers are exposed to during flight.
For more information, go to www.wewontfly.com.