Tag Archives: opt out

25 Civil Liberties, Privacy Groups Form Coalition to Fight TSA’s New Body Scan Guidelines

On January 13, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) issued a letter to the Transportation Security Administration and lawmakers regarding the TSA’s recent decision to make airport body scans a mandatory procedure.

The coalition, which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and anti-biometrics group the Constitutional Alliance, said they were writing to Congress “regarding the TSA’s recent claim that it can mandate whole body scanning for airline passengers.”

In December 2015, it was reported that the TSA was changing its procedures without notice, making full body scans mandatory for some passengers. Prior to this point, passengers could choose to opt out of the full-body scan machines and undergo a pat-down instead. The new procedures will allow the TSA to select passengers for mandatory body scans.

The letter states:

“We are representative of leading civil liberties, human rights, and non-profit organizations, across the political spectrum. Many of us previously petitioned the DHS Secretary to conduct a public rulemaking on the use of airport body scanners after the agency sua sponte decided to make a pilot project into a national program of electronically strip searching airline travelers.”

The letter states that in the lawsuit EPIC v. DHS, a federal appeals court ruled that the TSA failed to conduct a public rulemaking as required by the Administrative Procedure Act.

The same court also found that the body scans were not a Fourth Amendment violation because “any passenger may opt-out of AIT screening in favor of a patdown, which allows him to decide which of the two options for detecting a concealed, nonmetallic weapon or explosive is least invasive.” With the new rule changes, that option is no longer available for all passengers.

The coalition called for public hearings to study the TSA’s conduct as well as a temporary hold on full-body scanner funding and increased oversight of the TSA. The letter also demands the TSA be required to publish all de facto regulations, be required to evaluate the cost of screening procedures using whole body scanners, and calls for several changes to regulations to make sure any orders from the TSA are subject to judicial review as are other government actions.

The letter was sent to Representative Jason Chaffetz, Chairman, and Representative Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Below is the full list of coalition members:

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Civil Liberties Union
Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Constitutional Alliance
Consumer Action
Consumer Federation of America
Consumer Watchdog
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Cyber Privacy Project
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Liberty Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Security Counselors
National Workrights Institute
Niskanen Center
Patient Privacy Rights
Privacy Times
R Street
Restore The Fourth
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)

Exclusive Interview with Pacific Justice Institute on “Opt-Out Movement” and parental rights


What should you do if your child is bullied or punished for opting out of a standardized test?

As reported previously, South Carolina students were removed from their classrooms and asked by the principal to agree to take the test despite initial refusal. When the children again refused, they were sent to the school’s office and received a discipline referral marked “refusal to obey,” according to The Greenville News.

Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, told TruthInMedia.com’s Joshua Cook that his organization helps families by educating them on their parental rights and offering free legal advice.

Dacus told Cook that Pacific Justice Institute will help parents for free if their child is being picked on, demeaned, or denies privileges for opting out of standardized tests.

Listen to the full interview above.

As Standardized Testing Opt Out Movement Grows in SC, Students Disciplined For Refusing Test

A school district in South Carolina disciplined at least 12 students who, at the request of their parents, refused to take new standardized ACT tests.

According to local news, some students reportedly felt bullied by the school administration to take the test, which was given last week across the entire state.

The students were removed from their classrooms and asked by the principal to agree to take the test despite initial refusal. When the children again refused, they were sent to the school’s office and received a discipline referral marked “refusal to obey,” according to The Greenville News.

This refusal is part of a national backlash towards standardized tests, as many parents don’t believe the assessments actually help their children learn.

In many states, parents can “opt-out” of the tests, but not in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Department of Education, districts were told that state law doesn’t have an opt-out provision, and that schools must give tests to everyone.

Instead of “opting out,” concerned parents are “refusing” to allow their children to be tested.

But that didn’t sit well with administration. Read more here.

Opting Out of Your State’s Vaccine Database

The Washington Post just printed an article “2013 is the year that proved your paranoid friend right.”  Mostly the article discussed the Snowden and NSA stories, and tech privacy issues.

A concerned mom and blogger recently wrote an article echoing that sentiment, but added in a personal point of view regarding a explosive issue of vaccines and their possible link to autism. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/28/2013-is-the-year-that-proved-your-paranoid-friend-right/

There are myriad “mom” blogs all over the internet that focus on their child’s growth and development.  The “Adventures in Autism” blog did an entry saying that with government overreach at all-time highs, the start of 2014 is a great time to opt out of your state’s vaccine database.

As for whether or not individuals believe there is a link between vaccines and injury, there have been court cases where children with autism were awarded millions in damages.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/post2468343_b_2468343.html

Ben himself also did a great “Truth in Media” episode on the vaccine courts.

However getting back to the blogger “Adventures in Autism”, she states that Pharma/Vaccine lobbyist Paul Offit is sure to ramp up a 2014 campaign for vaccines in only a matter of weeks.  She is concerned that Offit is recommending parents be required to complete an education program before having the right to opt their children out of vaccines.  She alleges that he and his employers, the pharmaceutical industry, helped push California legislation AB2109, requiring parents to complete an education program if they want to be allowed to opt out of vaccinations.

“Offit suggests one way to raise vaccination rates is to make it harder for people not to get themselves or their children vaccinated.  This could mean, for example, attending education classes that teach the public what the safety profiles of different vaccines are, before they are allowed to opt out of vaccination.  He says, “You have to convince people that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice; it’s just a choice to take a different risk.” http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-years-to-do-opt-out-of-your-state.html

The blog goes on to list laws and regulations pertaining to CDC and State vaccination databases, including records on all citizens.  She shows how you can attempt to get removed from the database.  She then points out that the new ACA/Obamacare law allows for oversight of vaccination programs including home health visits.

What do you and your family think of State Vaccine Databases?  What do you and your family think of the new Obamacare/ACA laws allowing for home health visits?

The opinion of the blog “Adventures in Autism” is that author’s opinion, and as with many of our news stories, BenSwann.com is not advocating on a story just by reporting it.