It’s national opt-out day. Will you participate?

Early yesterday afternoon I passed through O’Hare airport on the far end of terminal 3, approached the security checkpoint and was selected for scanning with a backscatter detector. With a boarding pass in my back pocket I was also selected for a pat down. In this case, the TSA officer used the back of his hands to check my entire back side – and sent me on my way (without the computer that I forgot at the checkpoint) to gate K7.

The Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) was a simple security measure that day, but today, on the nation’s busiest travel day many will face it for the first time. And in protest, many are advocating a movement to opt-out of the scans.

In lieu, those who opt out will be subject to an intensive pat down, the results of which has been covered on the web ad nauseum.

More importantly, however, is the added time necessary for a pat down. AIT scans already take longer than a quick walk through a magnetometer, and opting out of one adds further time to the affair. Some critics of the movement are thus concerned that unsuspecting passengers will be held up at security and more flights will be missed.

Needless to say, if 95% of passengers choose not to be scanned by an AIT device this Wednesday it’ll surely send a strong message to the brass at the Department of Homeland Security. If a few trouble spots cause innocent passengers to miss flights though, I’m not so sure that it’s worth it.