NEW YORK, Nov 17, 2010 (IPS) – Privacy advocates called on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Tuesday to end its controversial new initiative of whole-body scans and enhanced pat-downs of airline passengers, calling the programme “dangerous to health, ineffective and unconstitutional”.
Led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, a group of organisations held a telephone news conference to insist that the “strip-search” programme be suspended and turned over the Congress to investigate.
“The machines are ineffective, the pat-downs are too invasive, and the use of radioactive technology poses health risks,” Nader said, citing testimony from a number of physicians who agreed that radioactivity “could cause skin problems” and might pose a public health threat to passengers. . .
EPIC has filed a lawsuit to suspend the body scanner programme, calling it “unlawful, invasive, and ineffective”. Opposition to the programme is growing. The Libertarian Party, the American Pilots Association, Airline CEOs, flyers rights organizations, religious groups, and others are calling for an end to invasive searches at airports.
Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle said today, “The TSA should end the strip-search machine programme immediately. We’ve reached a point where our government has no qualms about humiliating us.”
The EPIC lawsuit challenges the unilateral decision of the TSA to make body scanners the primary screening technique in U.S. airports. Three frequent air travelers are joining EPIC in the lawsuit: security expert Bruce Schneier, human rights activist Chip Pitts, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations legal counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili. (More)