Lawmakers call for ban on airport pat-downs, body scans
Privacy • The nonbinding resolution is being considered by other states as well.
Published: February 27, 2012 07:06PM
Updated: February 13, 2014 05:37PM

A move to do away with body scans and pat-downs at airports is taking off among Utah legislators, who contend it may violate the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

“I just have this vision of Patrick Henry or George Washington or Thomas Jefferson standing at the gate, holding their arms out and saying, ‘Stick your hands down my pants. I just have to get where I am going.’ This is such an offense to who we are,” Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, testified Monday.

He convinced the House Government Operations Committee to unanimously pass his HCR3 on Monday, and sent it to the full House. The resolution calls on the federal government to get rid of pat-downs and full-body scans and replace them with equally effective methods that are less invasive.

Ivory said Utah would join a dozen or so other states that are formally pushing to replace pat-downs and body scans with such things as bomb-sniffing dogs.

“We have people going through the machines that have their naked images out on the Internet simply to fly,” and pat-downs are performed on children “in ways that we as parents tell them is molestation,” Ivory complained.

Conservative Ivory has an unusual ally in his fight: American Civil Liberties Union attorney Marina Lowe.

“The federal government is asking the rest of us to give up our privacy in its vain search for the last attempted bomber while the terrorists are creating new ways and creative ways” to evade current procedures, Lowe said.

No one spoke up at the hearing in defense of the pat-downs and body scanning. The only tepid defense came from Rep. Janice Fisher, D-West Valley City, who said, “I endure them because I want to feel safe when I get on the airplane.”

But Ivory quoted Benjamin Franklin, saying that those willing to trade liberty for security deserve neither, and “we’re at a point now where we are not only trading liberty for security, we’re not getting security.”