Protests of full-body scans could slow holiday travelers

November 23, 2010

Produced by City Room and Associated Press

TSA demonstrates body scanning technology (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla).

Loosely organized, internet boycotts of airport body scans could slow down travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The National Opt-Out Day protest is scheduled for Wednesday, which is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year. At issue are full-body scans that show a traveler's physical contours on a computer.

The American Civil Liberties Union is not involved with the protests. But local ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka said neither the scans nor the optional pat-downs actually make flights more secure. "We're getting the worst of both worlds. We're not advancing our security interests, while at the same time Americans who are flying at the holiday season are having to make the ugly choice between these embarrassing naked scans or having themselves groped by strangers," Yohnka said.

Body scans take as little as 10 seconds, but people who decline the process must submit to a full pat-down, which takes much longer. Even if only a small percentage of passengers opt-out of the body scan, experts say it could mean longer lines, bigger delays and hotter tempers.

Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said the airports plan to bring in extra workers for the holiday.