Wednesday, Nov.24th is ‘National Opt Out Day’ – boycott airport scanners.

by on November 23, 2010 · 21 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, Health, Organizing, San Diego, War and Peace

Editor: The following is from the “We Won’t Fly” website.

Grassroots consumer advocate We Won’t Fly is organizing educational outreach events and mass airport body scanner opt outs at airports around the nation for National Opt Out Day, November 24. Our aim is to prepare travelers for the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security theater so that passengers can make informed decisions before getting trapped in the lines. We will also highlight the privacy and health dangers of the scanners by slowing down their fake security and forcing a rollback so we can get real passenger security instead.

How you can make Opt Out Day a success.

“TSA does not have the manpower to stick their hands in the pants of everyone coming through there,” said We Won’t Fly co-founder James Babb. “We are encouraging people to not just opt out of the radiation scan but also opt out of the groping by not flying at all.”

If you have to fly on November 24, opt out of the virtual strip search body scanners for your own health and privacy. Say “I opt out!” Tell your friends, family and community so they know how to protect themselves, too. Be prepared for delays and intimate TSA groping. At least you will avoid the risk of cornea damage and skin, breast and testicular cancer and the humiliation of a virtual strip search.

“For those I care about, I’m urging them to just not participate, to just not fly that day,” Babb said. “I hope to see deserted airports. But if you want to do it, I say have some fun with it, be creative. Wear the kilt. Leave your phone on record. You could be the next YouTube star. These (TSA) people need to be humiliated. What they are doing is inexcusable.”

If you’re NOT flying on November 24, tell those around you who are flying to opt out. Tell them that the TSA is forcing us to trade our privacy for no additional security. Organize a meetup at your local airport, whether it has scanners yet or not, to educate travelers about their options so they can make an informed choice. Get your meetup on our map (see above). Read our blog for the latest news and tips. Visit our Organize! section for supplies and more information on running an Opt Out Day meetup. We’re here to help!

“Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage. The more we undermine our own laws, the more we convert our buildings into fortresses, the more we reduce the freedoms and liberties at the foundation of our societies, the more we’re doing the terrorists’ job for them.” – Bruce Schneier

The Goal

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.

“If the threat is Al-Qaeda,” said We Won’t Fly co-founder George Donnelly, “the TSA will never be a match for it. Al-Qaeda is networked and agile while the TSA is a lumbering, top-down giant. We need decentralized security where those closest to the action can call the shots.”

How to Opt Out

Say “I opt out”. When/if TSA agents direct you to a full body x-ray scanner, tell them: “I opt out.” Be prepared for screaming, intimidation and groping. Don’t let the TSA agents move you into a back room! Keep an eye on your property and stand your ground. Let every individual see how the TSA is treating peaceful travelers.

“If you or your loved ones are submitted to humiliating, rude, or indecent actions in line, please speak up to defend them. If you are suddenly confronted with an unacceptable grope, please call out loudly enough for others in line to know what just happened. Do not take this silently. I was hurt (and appalled later) that no one spoke up for me; the silence was deafening.” – Anonymous

Because they Make you LESS Secure

The scanners actually make passengers less secure. Leading Israeli airport security expert Rafi Sela says the scanners are ineffective. “I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” he said. The millimeter wave scanners do not detect the kind of powdered explosives used in January’s attempted underwear bomber attack. The TSA doesn’t claim that the x-ray backscatter scanners do either! Alert passengers stopped the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber and stopped an airplane from striking the white house on September 11. We passengers have a better track record than the TSA, yet the TSA humiliates us, intimidates us and lulls us into a false sense of security with their security theater.

“I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” said Rafi Sela, leading Israeli airport security expert.

Safeguard your Privacy

A recent article in the San Diego Entertainer on August 31, 2010 stated that “the scans are detailed enough to identify a person’s gender… to identify a passenger’s surgery scars, or to discern whether a woman is on her menstrual cycle or not.” CNN has reports that scanner images can be stored and shared by design. As CBS News recently reported, US Marshals saved 35,000 images from similar scanners at just one courthouse. The bottom line is that the TSA is forcing us to trade our privacy for absolutely no security in return. There is no balance.

“This time they’ve gone too far,” declared Philadelphia Opt Out Day rally co-organizer Ken Krawchuk. “I have three beautiful daughters, and the last thing I want is some stranger groping them or snapping nude pictures under color of law. Every parent should be outraged at such a gross violation of their children’s privacy. Enough is enough!”

Protect your Health

As University of California scientists noted earlier this year, the airport scanners may pose a serious health risk. “Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed,” they said in a letter of concern earlier this month. The TSA has not demonstrated the safety of these machines and it’s their own employees who are most at risk!

“It is breathtaking to witness the speed at which a mere bureaucracy has undone the dignity and freedom of Americans”, added Donnelly. ”The TSA can not continue without our consent. Act now. Opt out. Better yet, just don’t fly.”

For More Information

For more information, visit You can also contact George Donnelly at 941 538 6399 or or Jim Babb at 610-574-1222 or Inquiries in Spanish are accepted by George Donnelly.

We Won’t Fly is a grassroots consumer advocate for air travelers. We are boycotting the airlines until they join with us in opposition to the humiliating and pointless TSA security theater. We Won’t Fly urges travelers to stop flying until we have real passenger security that doesn’t trample our basic human dignity. You can find more information at

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Goatskull November 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Unfortunatly I’m flying tommorow. If I end up having to go through the grope procedure then that TSA agent better plan on buying me dinner.


Abby November 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Wear a kilt! :-)


Goatskull November 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Commando? Who was the one who suggested that?


Sarah November 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

will you opt out?


Jon November 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I’m flying tomorrow and I don’t want to go through the x-ray machine. I’ve been patted down before and don’t really have a problem with it, but I completely understand those who do. It’s a terrible choice for us to have to endure as a “free” country. I guess, when it comes down to it, I value my marriage over my privacy, and my wife would kill me if I decided not to fly to be with her family on Thanksgiving.

By the way, we will be in Mexico for the holiday, Puerto Penasco. I guess her family’s idea of Thanksgiving is ceviche tacos and tecate’s. Don’t worry, I’m packing instant garlic mashed potatoes, a can of green beans, turkey jerkey and a six pack of Stone IPA. It’s gonna be one weird turkey dinner. Have a great holiday OB!


Goatskull November 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I’m kind of in the same boat with my girlfriend.


Goatskull November 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I’d rather be in your shoes. I’m going to centeral Illinois.


annagrace November 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Jon- ” Instant garlic potatoes, a can of green beans, turkey jerkey and a six pack of Stone IPA,” this is exactly how traditions begin- and they do have to begin somewhere. The feast of the turkey jerkey! I hope you wear an “OB declares GHAD” tee shirt to the airport just to liven things up. Can’t wait to get a post-pavo report.


jim grant November 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Your going to Rocky Point, we love that place….my buddies started playing music there 15 years ago when it was just Old Port !!! Bring me back 5lbs of Jumbo shrimp please…..

jim g


Goatskull November 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Also excellent place for kitesurfing/windsurfing. Stone IPA? Pretty good but I prefer Double Dorado from Ballast. Cerviche tacos actually sound pretty tasty. If you haven’t guessed, I’m bit envious.


Sarah November 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Jon –

I grew up in Tucson and Mom’s idea of Thanksgiving was to drive to Rocky Pt. with all the neighbors and forget about turkey and stuffing!

Of course this was in the early 70’s when Rocky Pt. consisted of a shabby trailer park for the Tucson tourists to keep a “weekend home”.

My mom was incredible and never let us take “gringo” toys to Mexico with us. We had to play with sticks and balls of tin foil, just like the local kids. Now that I’m more than grown up I appreciate the role that Rocky Pt. (and Bahia Kino, where we went for longer vacations) played in my life. We had many “christmas trees” made of cactus and decorated with pop-tops!

Have a blast!


Goatskull November 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

No. I just want to get there.


Obese Man November 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

They can grope me all they want. ;-D


harry jones November 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

don’t just opt from the scans when they reach your back side, make sure you let them know how you feel buy eating beans the night prior….


Goatskull November 24, 2010 at 5:44 am

I’m at the airport now. Just went thru security with no problems. Tho “opt out” is a complete non event. Now the big question is why am I leaving San Diego for centeral Illinois in november?


tj November 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

What about exemptions for the multimillionares & billionares who are “green” & therefore don’t fly in corporate or private aircraft? And don’t forget large political contributers too, “green,” or not.

As long as “our” government officials (do as we say, not as we do), Muslim women (Janet Napolitano), & Pilots (WHO do our fearless (brainless?) LEADERS THINK FLEW the PLANES on 911?) are exempt – then how can the riff-raff object?


Back to the “class system” … finally.



Abby November 24, 2010 at 8:55 am

Everyone needs some 4th amendment undies! These will show in the scanners!


Frank Gormlie November 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

Jim Grant reports from the San Diego airport: smooth sailing – no large numbers “opting out”, not that many lines. He said he saw a couple of protesters but that was it.


Me November 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm

LOL, well that’s the way it is. Me personally I hate flying, but if I was content to not go through those scanners, then I just assume drive, or take a train.

Happy Thanksgiving Frank, and everyone.


Abby November 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I’m getting reports from people flying today that many airports aren’t using the scanners or doing pat downs.


Frank Gormlie November 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Abby, give us more of an update, won’t ya?


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