Americans are pretty angry about these full-body airport scanners. I’m kind of ambivalent about them. I haven’t been on an airplane in a few years though. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had to go through one. Their effectiveness is debatable because they don’t penetrate skin and, let’s just say it, everybody has a butthole that closes. Most people. I would hope.
So the way I understand it is that you can decline to be scanned but then you have to consent to a police-style frisking, complete with someone touching your man parts. Or lady parts. Whatever you’ve got.
If you decline the frisking you’re in big trouble – potentially facing civil charges and a $10,000 fine.
So basically once you step foot in the security line you’re legally bound to do one of three things:
– Let someone look at you naked
– Let someone pat you down like a criminal
– Pay $10,000 and maybe face some legal charges
Well…when I break it down that way it does sound a little crazy.
Some guy is so mad that he’s trying to organize “National Opt-Out Day“, a day where all fliers are encouraged to decline the body scan and instead opt for the “enhanced pat-down”. I’m not sure who that will piss off more – the TSA or the millions of weary travelers who’ll get stuck in even longer lines as they travel the day before Thanksgiving.
Israel has had to deal with airport security threats a lot worse then ours for a lot longer than we have, and they’ve got things down to a science.
“First, it’s fast — there’s almost no line. That’s because they’re not looking for liquids, they’re not looking at your shoes. They’re not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you,” said Sela. “Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes … and that’s how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys.”
This article gives an enlightening overview of their airport security system. They basically break the whole process down into several layers, so that by the time you actually get to the X-ray machines you’ve already passed through five layers of security – whether you realized it or not. It’s an interesting read.