Airport Body Scanners Too Revealing
May 18, 2009 by Bob Livingston
Is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) looking for hidden weapons or making pornographic movies? After looking at images from the naked body scanners being deployed in U.S. airports nationwide later this summer the answer is not so clear.
What is clear is that these scanners reveal far more than hidden weapons. They reveal every curve, nook and cranny in the human body and throw that image up on a computer screen for a TSA agent to view.
Called millimeter wave scans, the devices are set to replace the traditional metal detectors that passengers must go through to get from the ticketing to the boarding area of the airport.
The technology was first implemented a couple of years ago as a trial in the airport in Phoenix, Ariz. Similar machines were later put into operation in New York and Los Angeles.
When the TSA first began pushing the new technology it did so saying it would be used on a voluntary basis by those who didn’t want to have a more invasive physical pat down during a secondary screening.
In other words, those suspicious-looking white-haired grandmothers who didn’t want a TSA agent touching and feeling them all over would step into the machine so a TSA agent could instead ogle their image.
But now it’s not just the white-haired ladies, it’s everyone—children, teenagers, 20-somethings, middle agers and old-timers—going through the image scanners. There remains an option for those too squeamish to have their image made. You can step off to the side and a TSA agent can pat you down.
TSA says that the scanners will blur faces so no one will know whose body is being revealed. And TSA assures you the image is deleted the instant the passenger is cleared through the checkpoint. It also says only male TSA agents will view the males and only female agents will view the females.
Well that’s encouraging. We know there’s never been a man or woman who got their jollies from looking at naked members of his own sex.
Besides, the idea that the TSA is going to go to the trouble of separating the males and females into special lines once the checkpoints get backed up during peak travel times is unbelievable. And, in a news report demonstrating the working technology at an airport there was but one computer terminal in the room and the female agent was viewing a male scan. Later in the report a male agent was viewing a female image.
While news articles about the technology showed mixed reactions to the scanners by passengers, the very idea that one would have to submit to a virtual strip search just to travel on an airline should throw up all kinds of red flags. Big brother government already has too much data on your finances, medical records and shopping habits. This will give them a digital photo to go with it.
Thankfully the American Civil Liberties Union is considering filing a lawsuit against the TSA. Hopefully they’ll follow through.
If not, expect to have to reveal your naked body at every public venue in the near future because, coming soon to a subway station, stadium, concert hall and shopping mall near you, enhanced body scanners for the viewing pleasure of government agents.