I don’t go through the TSA backscatter machines. Instead, I go through the traditional x-ray machines and receive one of these pat-downs. I’ve done this since national opt-out day back in 2010. When I refused and was being lead away for my ritualistic groping, someone asked why I refused. This post is to explain that. I refuse for a number of reasons but generally as a protest against the securitization of civil life.
First, the scanners are ineffective for real security and merely promote security theater.
Second, the scanners at $150,000 are extremely expensive and thus combined with the first point, wasteful. Note that the price tag above ignores the cost of extra training, personnel and repair.
Third, there is no reason why people should be nonchalant about being pictured in the nude. Thankfully, TSA has responded to this complaint and has updated the software to display a generic body outline instead of a “passenger-specific image.” Of course, I must rely on faith that the TSA are updating their software as there is no transparent process to review the TSA’s actions.
A fourth point was health but I accept the results of recent studies showing that the amount of radiation from the machines is minimal. However, there is still worry that the TSA agents themselves are receiving an unhealthy dose of radiation.
These ineffective costly devices that promote fear and dependency on the government for a general sense of safety are terrible policy. By being a persistent objector, I hope to remind some analyst somewhere that reviews the number of refusers that there are still people against the backscatter machines. My flight is about to leave so I have to shut up about this point.