TSA full body scanners, hand-slide searches raise privacy concerns

The Sacramento BeeNovember 17, 2010 

Uttered at a San Diego airport checkpoint last weekend, the words already are Internet legend:

"If you touch my junk, I'm going to have you arrested."

Traveler John Tyner's video-recorded warning to an airport security screener has become a national "YouTube moment" igniting debate over new airport security measures.

Tyner, a 31-year-old computer programmer headed for a hunting trip, refused to submit to a new hand-slide body search technique introduced nationally last month.

That technique, and a new full-body machine scan that Tyner also refused, have prompted questions of whether anti-terrorism measures have gone too far.

In a protest letter sent last week to the federal Transportation Security Agency, an Elk Grove woman said she felt "extremely violated" by a hand slide search at the Sacramento airport.

The issue threatens to create anger and potential slowdowns at airports over the crowded Thanksgiving travel period.

The scanning machines allow security employees to check for weapons by seeing through passengers' clothing. In the new pat-down procedure, officers slide their hands, palms inward, over passengers' shoulders, flanks, abdomen and around their legs. The officers pivot their hands near the breast and crotch areas, so the back of the hand brushes the body.

Pilots associations, passenger-rights groups and civil libertarians call the new measures unnecessary invasions of privacy.

"You have a choice of being ogled or fondled," attorney Linda Lye of the American Civil Liberties Union said. "That's no choice."

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.

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