Terrorism remains a significant concern and is a sensitive topic in the U.S. However, there are those who argue that some security efforts go a bit too far when it comes to protecting air travellers from attacks. Among such sensitive topics, none is drawing as much criticism and attention as the recently deployed "whole-body imaging" scanners.
The new scanner was first deployed in Phoenix, Arizona, in November 2007, and has since been deployed at 40 airports. The 40 deployed machines cost $170,000 each and provide an alternative to pat-down for customers repeatedly setting off the metal detector.
The system has its advantages -- it is much faster than a pat-down search, taking only 15 to 30 seconds, where a pat-down search can take up to 3 to 4 minutes. The device also is touted as very safe, using millimeter wave technology, and emitting approximately 10,000 times less radio frequency than a cell phone.
However, the unsavory aspect to some is that the system reveals semi-nude images and anatomical features according to CNN. The image produced is milky white with the face and the skin blurred to protect the identity. Two officers work the scanner -- one leads the passenger into it, and never sees the images; the other takes and examines the image, but never sees the passenger. The system is designed to provide extra protection to peoples' identity.
Despite the presence of visible anatomical features, including male genitalia, Tulsa screener Debbie Shacklett states, "[The images] are not pornographic at all. I don't look at them as people. I look at them as a thing that could have something on it."
Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is fighting the deployment, though, says they represent a grotesque invasion of privacy. She states, "People need to know what's happening, with no sugar-coating and no spinning. We don't have the policy to hold (the TSA) to what they say. They're writing their own rule book at this point."
She adds, "What they're showing you now is a dumbed-down version of what this technology is capable of doing. Having blurry images shouldn't blur the issue"
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has introduced legislation to ban the machines. Like Ms. Coney, he is opposed to the scanners and the clearer "backscatter" technology scanners, which the TSA says it does not currently deploy.
Chris Calabrese, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union comments on the issue, "A choice between being groped and being stripped, I don't think we should pretend those are the only choices. People shouldn't be humiliated by their government,” to satisfy security concerns.
The TSA says that the deployment is still in the pilot phase. However, officials say they say that they believe the program has been a success so far, and they hope to see it expanded to more airports. In the meantime, the issue of these blurred nude images seems unlikely to go away.
quote: The 40 deployed machines cost $170,000 each and provide an alternative to pat-down for customers repeatedly setting off the metal detector.
quote: The truth is a lot of you don't realize how this all really works
quote: However, officials say they say that they believe the program has been a success so far, and they hope to see it expanded to more airports. In the meantime, the issue of these blurred nude images seems unlikely to be unlikely to go away.
quote: Seriously anyone who's job it is to look at these images doesn't even care to look at your genitalia.
quote: You are the kind of moron who thinks that just because someone is paid $200,000 a year they are a better person.
quote: Sinful said: "You're forgetting this isn't some doctor making $200,000 year, it's some high school dropout making $8/hour."
quote: But if a machine does the same thing without you even aware of the process then why would you feel bullied unless you have something to hide?
quote: You were never guaranteed the right to fly in a commercial aircraft without a check in the Constitution.
quote: I mean let's assume that an airline could opt out of TSA/FAA checks.
quote: Now alcohol is an issue, but imagine alcohol + knives. Which is better?
quote: If an industry cannot exist under the Constitution, it should not exist. I believe the airline industry can exist without needing to violate our rights. I will not argue against Customs searching incoming passengers, but there is no need to search passengers traveling inside the United States. It's court decisions regarding the former that has somehow allowed the latter.
quote: While many do not want this "invasion" of privacy they also want SOME sense of security, tell me how do YOU provide this?
quote: They've never stopped a terrorist using these methods and it's never made me feel more secure, only bullied.
quote: no need to go near an airport
quote: THE TERRORISTS ARE IN THE WHITE HOUSE. 9/11 was an inside job and anyone that doesn't know that at this point has got to get away from fox news.
quote: Two officers work the scanner -- one leads the passenger into it, and never sees the images; the other takes and examines the image, but never sees the passenger.
quote: the cute girl monitoring the screens gave me a wink.
quote: quote:the cute girl monitoring the screens gave me a wink.You misspelled "grimace".
quote: So are strip searches illegal in America?
quote: Courts have often held that blanket strip searches are acceptable only for persons found guilty of a crime. For arrestees pending trial, there must be a reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is in possession of weapons or other contraband before a strip search can be conducted. The same often holds true for other situations such as airport security personnel and customs officers, but the dispute often hinges on what constitutes reasonable suspicion.
quote: That's right. The government can't force you to undergo a strip search without reasonable suspicion. However, the government can ask you to voluntarily submit to a strip search. While you have the right to refuse, you don't have any inherent right to enter a secure area. And since the airport terminal is a secure area, coupling a search with entrance to the terminal is perfectly legitimate. It's the same principle behind those signs up on federal courthouses and military bases that state that entry onto the premises constitutes consent to search.
quote: Do you want your 15 year old daughter to be "patted" down?
quote: Its not like the person viewing the screen is getting any sort of sexual gratification from this.
quote: The people behind the screen would almost certainly be screened for any history of sexual offenses or other similar offenses.
quote: They themselves that would derive sexual pleasure from this are the ones most worried about someone getting their jollies from their image.
quote: But suddenly now everyone is a prude. The same people who shot porn videos of themselves and put it on the internet. The same people who watch those videos.
quote: I'd rather look at women in bikinis all day compared to this. This is a medical image in my book.