We Won’t Fly


We are opposed to the full-body backscatter x-ray airport scanners on grounds of health and privacy. We do not consent to strip searches, virtual or otherwise. We do not wish to be guinea pigs for new, and possibly dangerous, technology. We are not criminals. We are your customers. We will not beg the government anymore. We will simply stop flying until the porno-scanners are history.

We will not be abused simply for the privilege of purchasing your services. We demand the airlines make their maximum lobbying effort in support of our, your customers’, rights and liberties. We are eager to fly again, but only when this invasive threat has been contained.

This scanner technology has now spilled out of the airports and into the streets. Mobile scan machines may be taking x-rays of you on the way to work or while you drive out of town on vacation. Your kids may be getting x-rayed on the bus. Soon, dangerous backscatter x-ray technology may be everywhere. Resist! Not just passively, but actively with your voice, your vote, your feet and your dollars. Our future, and that of our children, is at stake.


  1. While I totally object to the idea of the backscatter, I find that the whole physically dangerous angle undermines the legitimacy of the privacy concerns.

    I mean, if you make an argument that it is unsafe, all the TSA has to do is demonstrate within a reasonable level of confidence that it is safe and BOOM! Your major line of attack is undermined.

    I mean given that most people that read this blog laugh at EMF sensitive people, or cell phone radiation, it seems disingenuous to get your knickers all twisted up at whatever minuscule level of radiation comes out of these machines.

    But as far as privacy issues go, keep up the pressure.

    Question: I want to tape tinfoil letters to the inside of my shirt that spell something like “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” or “Future Fark Headline” the next time I travel just in case they show up on an xray. Is this a dumb? And if not, what should I say?

    1. That’s a good point. I’m also a bit worried about the potential health effects of these machines, but you’re right that privacy should be the main focus, for the reasons you stated.

      These scanners will probably turn out to be harmless, like microwaves and cellphones before them, but then again, no one is forcing you to use either of those.

      I’ve also wondered about aluminum foil letters inside my T-shirt, but I’m not clever enough to come up with witty slogans. I’ve thought of something like, “If u can read this, ur invading my privacy!” or “No shirt, no shoes, no bomb.” I’m sure the Internet will come up with something better.

    2. Agree about the health thing. It’s a non-issue for most – though maybe not for pilots etc.

      As to writing a message for the scanner… I love the idea, and am just sure the TSA wouldn’t kick up a fuss. They’ve shown themselves to be good-humoured in the past when it comes to obviously silly jokes about carrying bombs and so on, I don’t see why this would be any different.

    3. Sure, put any message on your body you want. Just make sure you have a nice LONG layover until your next flight, say 2 or 3 days.

      If I did that, I’d go with the message, “Allah Akbar!!!” You know, freedom of religion and whatnot.

    1. So, my siblings and their young children live on the other side of the country from me, and I looked at the Amtrak site last night about this. It will take 3-3.5 days to travel to them by train, and another 3 days to come back. I would consider being held hostage by a train in the middle of the country for a week not exactly a great alternative.

    2. First I should say, I take the amtrak train a few times a year, but my ride is about 6 hours. I also used Amtrak to travel from Philadelphia to NY and Baltimore a few times, which were about 2-3 hours each.
      So for that distance, I think its great. There is adequate leg room, even in coach. The employees have always been kind and helpful. I don’t get searched, patted down, and I don’t pass through a metal detector. I never have to unhook my medical device to board. My luggage is in the same train car as I am. I can take up to 3 very large suitcases/carry-ons if I choose. I can show up at the station 20 minutes before my train departs. I am on a tight budget and the train is much less expensive than flying and takes me fairly close to my rural hometown – much closer than any airports.
      If only Amtrak would put wi-fi on their trains like Bolt Buses do, it would be golden.

  2. I object to the virtual strip-searching performed by these scanners as well as to the touching involved in the procedure performed on those who opt out of the scanners. I also agree that these machines may not be dangerous at all.

    However, the wewontfly.com statement is inflammatory in referring to the machines as “porno-scanners.” The statement is also inconsistent, referring to them as “potentially dangerous” in the first paragraph and later as just plain “dangerous.”

    What might have real impact:
    1) respectfully opting out of the scanners,
    2) writing your elected representatives in government and explaining your objections,
    3) contacting news organizations with stories of experiences and your objections.

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