Resources for National Opt Out Day

Wednesday, November 24, is National Opt Out Day. We Won’t Fly, a grassroots organization that’s taken the lead in organizing, describes the goals

The goal of National Opt Out Day is (1) to educate the traveling public about airport naked-body scanners and the new “enhanced” TSA groping so they can make an informed decision; (2) force positive change on the TSA by slowing down their security theater with creative protest; and (3) show the airlines our consumer power so that they will lobby the government on our behalf to get the naked-body scanners removed and the TSA abolished. The government has failed us. We’re taking our message of real security, dignity and privacy to the airlines until they get on our side.

An important clarification on point #2: the goal is not to interfere with other passengers getting to their destinations. As AP’s Ray Henry describes in TSA chief: Resisting scanners just means delays, the government is trying to convince travelers not to exercise their rights. But as We Won’t Fly’s George Donnelly discusses, Opt Out Day could make security lines move faster by reducing the number of people flying and giving travelers better information than the TSA is providing.

Whether or not you’re planning on opting out, it’s important to know your rights — and to know what your options are if something goes wrong. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources out there. Here’s a quick guide:

November 24:

If you run into problems, EPIC’s Incident Report form is a good place to report them. EPIC is currently suing the government to stop deployment of the naked scanners, so sharing this information with them is extremely valuable.

One question that’s come up a lot is whether or not it’s legal to take pictures. The TSA says they do not prohibit photos (although some airports may have local ordinances), but there have been some reports of TSA agents attempting to intimidate photographers by claiming otherwise. If this happens to you, don’t panic: follow Robert Graham’s and Steven Frisching’s lead by responding politely but not giving into intimidation. Steven says he’s got the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications (which handles PR and press liaisons) on his speed dial … hmm, not a bad idea at all: (571)227-1917.

Good luck — and happy opting out!

also posted on I Will Opt Out