There's been a lot of talk lately about the new body scanners at airports, which create a "virtually naked" image of you -- bringing up all sorts of privacy concerns, especially as reports are coming out about how the machines can record images
. Many people, concerned about how these machines operate, have asked not to use them, and there are usually other options. Boing Boing
points us to the story of a working, uniformed pilot (working for ExpressJet) who refused to go through the backscatter scanner
. After being directed to a normal metal detector, and declared an "opt-out," he was told he needed to be patted down by security. He refused, noting that it was intrusive and that he had made it through the normal metal detector without a problem (the same security review he'd been given for many years as a pilot -- even in that same airport).
At that point, the TSA got upset, and a bunch of other folks got involved, including the airport police. He was detained, asked all sorts of questions (some he refused to answer), and not allowed to leave when he asked. At one point he was told he was free to leave, but then was stopped again and told he was not allowed to go until he spoke to one more person. The pilot, Michael Roberts, noted during his explanation of what happened that he's actually taught the TSA-mandated security training program at ExpressJet. The whole story is yet another example of security theater in action -- people just doing things because it's on the checklist, not because it makes anyone more secure.
"What do you mean I 'should know better'? Are you scolding me? Have I done something wrong?"
"I'm not saying you've done something wrong. But you have to go through security screening if you want to enter the facility."
"Understood. I've been going through security screening right here in this line for five years and never blown up an airplane, broken any laws, made any threats, or had a government agent call my boss in Houston. And you guys have never tried to touch me or see me naked that whole time. But, if that's what it's come to now, I don't want to enter the facility that badly."