Ronald Francis Kimble: Internet campaign to boycott full-body scans
11/24/2010

A loosely organized Internet campaign is urging people to refuse the scans on Wednesday in what is being called National Opt-Out Day.

Online PR News – 24-November-2010 – – The nation's airport security chief pleaded with Thanksgiving travelers for understanding and urged them not to boycott full-body scans on Wednesday, lest their protest snarl what is already one of the busiest, most stressful flying days of the year.He noted the alleged attempt by a Nigerian with explosives in his underwear to bring down a plane over Detroit last Christmas.

Despite tough talk on the Internet, there was little if any indication of a passenger revolt Monday at many major U.S. airports, with very few people declining the X-ray scan that can peer through their clothes. Those who refuse are subject to a pat-down search that includes the crotch and chest.

Many travelers said that the scans and the pat-down were not much of an inconvenience, and that the stepped-up measures made them feel safer and were, in any case, unavoidable.The extra time needed to pat down people could cause a cascade of delays at dozens of major airports, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

More than 400 imaging units are being used at about 70 airports. Since the new procedures began Nov. 1, 34 million travelers have gone through checkpoints and less than 3 percent are patted down, according to the TSA.

The American Civil Liberties Union has received more than 600 complaints over three weeks from passengers who say they were subjected to humiliating pat-downs at U.S. airports, and the pace is accelerating, according to ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Calabrese.

Ricky D. McCoy, a TSA screener and president of a union local in Illinois and Wisconsin, said the atmosphere has changed in the past two weeks for officers in his region. Since word of the pat-downs hit the headlines, officers have been punched, pushed or shoved six times after they explained what would be happening, McCoy said.

A video showing a shirtless young boy resisting a pat-down at Salt Lake City's airport has become a YouTube sensation and led to demands for an investigation from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, an outspoken critic of TSA screening methods. The video of the unidentified boy was shot Friday by a bystander with a cell phone.

The TSA said in a blog posting that nobody has to disrobe at an airport checkpoint apart from removing shoes and jackets. According to the TSA, the boy was being searched because he triggered an alarm inside a metal detector, and his father removed the youngster's shirt to speed up the screening.

The boycott campaign was launched Nov. 8 by Brian Sodergren, who lives in Ashburn, Va., and works in the health care industry.

"I just don't think the government has the right to look under people's clothes with no reasonable cause, no suspicion other than purchasing a plane ticket," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said he has no idea how many passengers plan to opt out, but added: "I am absolutely amazed at the response and how people have taken to it. I never would have predicted it. I think it hit a nerve."

In the meantime, security lines appeared to move briskly at many airports.

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