The Plan is Simple
- If you absolutely, positively must fly, opt out of the scanners. Do it to protect your health and privacy.
- If you can avoid flying, don’t fly. Hit the airlines in the pocketbook until the scanners and gropers are gone. Make the airlines work for us.
- Raise holy hell. Register your disapproval of the scanners and gropers to your airline, your hotel and all government officials who claim to work for you. Educate your community.
For your Health
Backscatter X-ray uses ionizing radiation, a known cumulative health hazard, to produce images of passengers’ bodies. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with defective DNA repair mechanisms are considered to be especially susceptible to the type of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation. Also at high risk are those who have had, or currently have, skin cancer. Ionizing radiation’s effects are cumulative, meaning that each time you are exposed you are adding to your risk of developing cancer. Since the dosage of radiation from the backscatter X-ray machines is absorbed almost entirely by the skin and tissue directly under the skin, averaging the dose over the whole body gives an inaccurate picture of the actual harm. In their letter of concern, the UCSF faculty members noted that “the dose to the skin could be dangerously high”. The eyes are particularly susceptible to the effects of radiation, and as one study found allowing the eyes to be exposed to radiation can lead to an increased incidence of cataracts.
For your Privacy
Aside from the health risks of these devices, the fact remains that they allow strip searches to be conducted on a wide-scale level. That they are automated and mechanical in no way changes the fact that when a government agent looks beneath your clothing you are being strip searched. These strip searches are being performed without any probable cause or reasonable suspicion, as primary screening. 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.” Although the TSA purports to be staffed by highly trained professionals who respect the privacy and dignity of travelers, TSA Screener Rolando Negrin was ridiculed by other TSA screeners for having a small penis after being imaged by an AIT device (AKA porno-scanner).