Note: originally posted on mjanja.ch! Posted here for exposure and posterity.
I flew from Portland (PDX) to San Diego (SAN) this week. I was greeted by one of the controversial full-body millimeter wave scanners. Unsure of the privacy and health implications of the scanners, I decided to opt out and get a manual pat down instead. I was somewhat surprised when my mom whipped out her iPhone and started filming it… good instinct!
She filmed it until they told her to turn it off. At one point I had seen on the TSA website that it was legal to film the pat downs, but I didn’t contest it at the time as I hadn’t done my homework properly.
Opting out of the scanners is your right—just ask, it doesn’t have to be a confrontation. In my experience the people were friendly and professional, so I don’t have any particular complaints about that. It’s kinda sad that they work for one of the most hated government organizations in the country, though…
With regards to the TSA and catching “terrorists,” I’m not sure how effective the post-9/11 scanning techniques are, but it does seem like it’s a bit over the top—it’s both a huge pain in the ass for travelers and a huge cost to tax payers. I’m not sure if it’s worth the billions we spend.