I had a very nice time in Kiev, until my trip back this afternoon—read also about my baggage mishap. After years of vociferously protesting full body scanners as an unreasonable and unconstitutional intrusion on privacy, I quickly caved in this afternoon when I was asked to go through an L-3 Millimeter Wave Scanner at Boripsol Airport.
Security is one level above check-in and my heart sank when I saw the scanners. I had a feeling there was no opt-out available in Ukraine, particularly when I read this sign:
Nevertheless, I did ask the guy checking my ticket if I was required to go through the scanner. He looked at me with a confused look and I repeated my question, stating that I did not want to walk through the machine. He simply stated, “No scan. No fly.” Roger that—through the machine I marched.
I would and will never go through a scanner in the United States, but this was not the USA. Bottom line: I wanted to fly and as a foreign visitor who elected to visit Ukraine, I had no right to opt-out.
Nevertheless, I found it quite disheartening that Ukraine has taken the guilty-until-proven-innocent approach when it comes to airport screening. I am not a scholar of the Ukrainian Constitution (Конституція України), but Article 28 states:
Everyone has the right to respect of his or her dignity.
No one shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment that violates his or her dignity.
Does a virtual strip search fall under this prohibition? I could make that argument.
Kiev is a wonderful city—pictures coming this week—so don’t skip it because of airport security, but be warned: the full body scanners cannot be avoided.
Sounds like the one time I went through a scanner a year and a half ago. Although it was in a much friendlier country, it was two weeks after they had been forcing everybody to empty their bags at a secondary checkpoint past the main one, and thoroughly patting everybody down just to get into the gate area from the main concourse (the joys of entering the US in the month after the underpants bomber).
Cancer rates high among TSA agents near scanners.
Eh, while I agree it’s basically an invasion of my privacy, I just do it. I know I’m in the minority of the bloggers and respect the stand your taking, but I just have bigger issues with the TSA touching my junk vs. seeing an image of it. The physical groping IS a outright violation in my mind.
I was actually in a similar situation in a US airport. I was flying out of MSP, and was opting out of the scanner, when the TSO told me, “just go through this, its faster, and no radiation”. While I was tempted to ask about his background in nuclear medicine, I waited for a moment, and just decided to go through, as I didn’t have a lot of time before my flight, and I needed to make a phone call. I’ve found it best not to engage the TSO if at all possible.
I have more of an issue with the backscatter machines for the health risk. I probably shouldn’t ‘submit’ to either machine, but if pressed I have done the millimeter wave machines a few times.
I’m probably exactly the ‘sheep’ that the TSA expects most passengers to be, given that I sometimes back down and just follow their possibly unconstitutional search process.
And I’m starting to hear reports that the London airports are offering the same no scan, no fly policy as you experienced this past weekend