How Far Is Too Far For Airport Security?
BOSTON (CBS) – With full body scanners in place, and a T.S.A. policy allowing “firm pat downs”, some airline passengers are asking, “How far is too far for security?”
The security vs. privacy debate has been raging at airports since 9-11. Over the years, airline passengers have found themselves taking off their shoes, handing over their toothpaste and bottled water, without much complaint.
Now many travelers are calling the latest security methods – body scans and very thorough pat downs – invasive and humiliating. Some passengers are so upset by these measures that they’re refusing to fly.
A video that went viral online over the last several days added fuel to that debate.
A man named John Tyner was flying out of San Diego. He refused to step into the full body scanner, which displays a revealing picture of your body to a screener in a private room. Tyner was told his other option was a pat down.
He met with a supervisor to challenge the rules, and recorded the exchange on his cell phone.
“I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying,” Tyner said. In the end, he refused to fly, and is hoping other passengers will do the same.
Related: TSA Explains New Screening Methods
The new website wewontfly.com is asking people to boycott airline travel next Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year. The site’s owner said it’s getting about 70,000 hits per day.
At Logan Airport, many passengers echoed the sentiments expressed by Tyner.
“I don’t like some stranger touching my body,” one female passenger told WBZ News Radio’s Carl Stevens. “I think it’s gross; I don’t think it’s necessary… I think it’s invasive.”
At the same time, there are plenty of passengers who accept the security measures as necessary changes. “We’ve had reasons for these things happening,” another woman at Logan said. “It’s not like someone just woke up one morning and decided, ‘let’s do the most we can to inconvenience everyone as they go to the airport.’”
For its part, the government says – get used to it. “We’re doing this; airports in Europe are doing this. This is just the next generation of airport security,” said Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano.