PHILADELPHIA, PA – A grassroots effort, We Won’t Fly, is organizing mass x-ray scanner opt outs at airports around the US for National Opt Out of the Airport Scanners Day, November 24, in order to highlight the health and privacy dangers of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) backscatter x-ray airport scanners.
“Not only are these porno scanners a gross violation of individual privacy,” said boycott 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.”
If you have to fly on November 24, We Won’t Fly urges you to opt out of the new scanners for your own health and privacy. Say “I opt out!” Be prepared for delays and intimate TSA “patdowns.” If you’re not flying on November 24, We Won’t Fly urges you to tell your friends, family, and community members who are flying. Organizers of local meetups can list their events on the nationwide map at http://WeWontFly.com/opt-out-day .
As University of California scientists noted earlier this year, the airport scanners may pose a serious health risk, although the TSA and FDA recently stated their their studies have shown that the risks are “miniscule.”
“Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed,” they said in a letter of concern.
A recent article in the San Diego Entertainer on August 31, 2010 stated that “the scans are detailed enough to identify a person’s gender… to identify a passenger’s surgery scars, or to discern whether a woman is on her menstrual cycle or not.”
As CNN has reported, the scanners include ethernet connectivity. Images can be stored and shared by design. According to CBS News, US Marshals saved 35,000 images from similar scanners at just one courthouse.