3 troubling ways the TSA punishes passengers who opt out

Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Africa Studio/Shutterstock
If you don’t want to walk through a poorly tested full-body scanner or have a TSA agent belittle your anatomy before your next flight, then you still have the right to opt out and submit to an “enhanced” pat-down.

That’s exactly what I did on a recent trip from Orlando to Atlanta. Actually, I do it every time I fly.

But as I waited for a male agent — who would ask me to spread my legs, would touch my torso, rub the inside of my legs, and feel the back of my neck and arms — I began to understand what the TSA really means when it says it’s focusing its efforts on “intelligence-driven, risk-based screening procedures.”
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Is this the beginning of the end for the TSA’s full-body scanners?

Time to make the scanners disappear?

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the mainstream media last week ignored a legitimate grassroots protest against the TSA’s allegedly invasive full-body scanners.

Oh sure, there were whispers of National Opt-Out Week here and there. The trade publication Government Security News reported them, although it left readers with the impression that this action would fizzle. A lone op-ed in a New Jersey newspaper recognized the protest and supported it.
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Is this the only way to change the TSA?

Here’s a question everyone should be asking after last week’s stunning verdict against Andrea Abbott, the Nashville mother who tried to stop TSA agents from patting down her teenage daughter: Where do travelers turn when they have a legitimate grievance against the agency charged with protecting America’s transportation systems?
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TSA denies it turned off body-scanners on “Opt-Out” Day — but where’s the proof?

Two weeks after declaring National Opt-Out Day a failure and renaming it TSA Appreciation Day, the agency charged with protecting our transportation systems has formally denied it turned off its full-body scanners in order to squelch the pre-Thanksgiving protests.

“As soon as the media started reporting that Opt-Out Day was a bust, reports started coming in from blogs stating that TSA had intentionally shut down the Advanced Imaging Technology machines,” the agency says in a blog post. “This claim is utterly and completely false as AIT operations were normal throughout the holiday travel period.”

There’s just one little problem. In denying that it cheated in order to disrupt Opt-Out Day, TSA has offered no credible evidence — other than its own word — that the scanners were working.
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TSA Administrator John S. Pistole will testify at a Transportation Security Administration oversight hearing in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

Maybe our elected representatives will tell him what their constituents have been saying since the beginning of this month.

Maybe they will say, “enough!”

Enough with the full-body scans. The technology is unproven and may be ineffective and unsafe. It violates our privacy. We never asked for the machines, and we are not asking for them now.
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Hotel calls mandatory room safe fee a tax, requires you to opt out when checking in

Next time you check into the Fairfield Inn in Sandusky, Ohio, mind the safe in your room. They’ll add a $1.07 fee to your confirmed rate for having one — whether you want it or not.

But you probably won’t even know they charged you for a safe, because they list this surprise surcharge as a tax on your final bill.

Want to have the fee removed? Good luck with that, too.

Maybe it’s a dollar a day, but for Tom Slikas, it was the principle.
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