US officials face flak over new invasive airport searches

Melbourne, Aug 31 (ANI): Civil libertarians have raised their voices against US officials using "invasive and aggressive" searches for those who refuse to go through their controversial full body "naked" X-ray scanners.

The "front-of-the-hand, slide-down technique" amounts to an indecent assault in any other context and shows an alarming disregard for privacy by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), said civil libertarians.

"People want to feel safe and secure when flying," quoted Civil Liberties Australia director Tim Vines as saying.

"And that includes feeling safe from the wandering hands of transport officials.

"The punishment for opting-out of an invasion of your privacy is an even greater invasion of your bodily integrity," he added.

Airport officials traditionally use pat-down motions to search travellers and the back of their hands when touching private areas.

While the TSA has said that it has received "very few" formal complaints about the new search techniques, Vines called for a halt to the procedure until they could reveal why it was needed.

"The actions of the US TSA would amount to indecent assault if performed by anyone else in the community," he said.

US passenger Rob Webster told the Boston Herald he found himself subject to the new search after refusing the scanner during a domestic flight.

"It was extremely invasive," said Webster.

"This was a very probing-type touching. Not just patting over all your areas, but actually probing and pushing and seeing if I was concealing something in my genital area.

"If anybody ever groped me like that in real life, I would have punched them in their nose," he added. (ANI)

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