Location-based social networks have seized (pun intended) a contentious issue affecting travelers at airports this holiday season. Starting with the infamous "day before Thanksgiving" travel onslaught, both Loopt and Foursquare have found ways to relate to the we-rub-you-the-wrong-way security guards and their new frisk-first-ask-questions-later policies.
Transportation Security Administers (TSA) are taking a lot of heat for their explosive new controversial guidelines subjecting air travelers who refuse to undergo an electronic body scan to a mandatory pat-down. Certainly no previous policy has galvanized the traveling public as much since 9/11. Many have foresworn ever flying again, others are seeking litigation and some are sponsoring various protest - one of which was developed by the location-sharing network Loopt.
National Opt-Out Day is a protest planned by those who are against the
TSA’s new security regulations of full-body scanners (which show
passengers fully naked) and invasive pat-downs administered to those who
opt out of the scans.
Loopt will celebrate National Opt-Out Day (11/24) by rewarding 10 travelers when they check-in with Loopt and opt out of a body scan in favor of a full-body pat-down (apparently the lesser of two evils). The incentive to do so, is a free iPod touch (pun also intended, I am sure). Here is an example of the text someone might post on Loopt to win the Touch.
Foursquare, one of Loopt's major competitors has also jumped on the band wagon. Starting today, the LBS will award anyone who checks in at an airport with a newly created badge for the occasion called (what else) the "Baggage Handler." Check-ins are triggered when the Foursquare users include words along the lines of "TSA," "touch," "grope," or "Don't Touch My Junk!" The badge unlocks for the passenger with a friendly message that reads: "Looks like you've had your baggage handled. Happy Holidays and have a safe flight."
For others that won't be flying the unfriendly skies this holiday season, but can't get enough of all the jokes that are circumventing the blogosphere and emails, here are a list of some of the noteworthy bumper stickers you might want to consider to support the ongoing protest.
Safe Travels, and have and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!