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TSA aware of ‘opt out and film week’

TSA Opt-out
policy poster

As the busiest travel season of the year approaches, the Transportation Security Agency is girding for another mass protest of its body scanning policies and technologies.

The agency is preparing for a loosely organized protest at airport security checkpoints called “Opt Out and Film” week. The protest, being promoted online by privacy advocates, would have travelers use the agency’s opt-out of policy to get out of the electronic body scan in exchange for a physical pat-down. The protest, according to the conservative news site Infowars, is set to run November 19 -26 and is aimed at sending a message to the TSA about privacy rights.

The protest, according to Infowars, is aimed at catching invasive TSA pat down procedures on film.

The TSA responded on its Web blog on Nov. 19, pointing out that it doesn’t prohibit photography at its checkpoints. It also explained the opt-out procedures and options.

“We’re also aware of the Opt Out and Film week, where some are planning on opting out of the body scanner and then filming their experience,” said TSA “Blogger Bob” Burns on Nov. 19. “TSA respects passengers’ rights to exercise freedom of speech as well as the rights of fellow travelers trying to get to their destination safely and without unnecessary delay. While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may,” he said.

Protests of TSA body scans in the busy holiday travel season have become something of a tradition. “National Opt-Out Day” in 2011, for instance, aimed to have  large numbers of airline passengers refuse electronic screening procedures in lieu of a physical pat-down, hoping to snarl airport security lines in protest of both procedures. The mass protest mostly fizzled, however, resulting in no major delays at airports.

“TSA takes its mission to protect the safety of the traveling public seriously and our officers will continue to uphold our high standards of professionalism during the busy holiday season and every day throughout the year,” said Burns.’ We are reminded of the need for constant vigilance with instances such as the 2009 suicide bomb attempt.”