Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Opt-out day

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the "opt out" day at airports today isn't going to amount to much.

There's been an awful lot of hype in the media, but it's unclear if very many people are actually going to participate (and demand a pat-down rather than the full body scan).

It's true that if a lot of people participated, it would cause a mess, because the pat down takes longer. But probably only a tiny fraction of travelers will demand the pat down.

Also, note that there's bad weather today in a decent swath of the middle of the country. In other words, those images you see on TV of a lot of people waiting in airports may have little to do with the opt-out day.

Midday Update: CNN finds Airport security moving smoothly despite 'Opt-Out Day'. NYT checked a few airports and found no news. The Post checked the local airports and found no delays so far. NBC has found no major delays.

Evening Update: Reports that backscatter machines not being used at some checkpoints, or not very much. Is TSA simply stopping the demonstration by making there be nothing to opt out of? Hard to know how much the machines are normally used and to what extent today's policies were different from normal.

Otherwise, the news reports are pretty consistent that there weren't delays at security.

11/30 update: Nate Silver has a good post on these last questions. TSA has reported total number of people who opted out of the scanner machines, and we know about how many total passed through security, but we don't know how many the TSA pulled aside to scan.


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