Airport security a little too transparent
By Danielle Cintron
Associate and Online Editor
Since the introduction of full-body scanners in the United States, lobbyists for the new technology have had arguments against the scanners ranging from health violations to child pornography accusations. The full-body scanner or millimeter wave scanner was developed by Steven W. Smith, president of Tek84, an engineering company based in San Diego.
According to the website, www.tek84.com, Smith created the first body scanner, the Secure 1000, in 1992 by using the ultra-low-dose X-ray
Since then he has continued to develop the technology and will be providing the aviation community with the next generation, the Ait84.
Tek84’s site goes on to list the reasons as to why the technology is beneficial to both the Transportation Security Administration as well as the general public. The scanner allows TSA to view the passenger’s naked body to check for hidden banned items, foremost on the list weapons and bombs. Thus, the TSA and the passenger would not be involved with inappropriate contact, and it would also nix the need for strip-searches.
As well and good as the idea of keeping passengers safe on public transportation is, I feel, the full-body scanner is a complete invasion of privacy, and I’m joined by thousands of Americans who share my opinion.
The idea of having the scanner around for checking those passengers who give reasonable doubt and require a strip-search seems fine by me, but using it as a routine check on all passengers seems extremely unnecessary. The scan does not give the full view of the human form but is detailed enough to show the nude skin of the person and will provide the image of any type of prosthetic from implantations to medical equipment.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit July 2 to suspend the deployment of full-body scanners at airports in the United States. The Ait84 scanners are currently installed in more than 20 airports in the U.S. alone, according to www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk.
In some airports like the one in Lagos, Nigeria, the scanners have already met the abusive standards EPIC feared. Gadling.com reported the security officials of Lagos airport have been caught using the scanners as a form of pornography.
“Nigerian investigative reporters visited the airport during a slow period when security officials had time to spare. The journalists found some of them hanging around the scanner display. Since the scanner blurs the face in an attempt to give anonymity, the officers were hurrying over to the line to peek at the passengers before going back to the scanner to check out their favorites,” the website said.
The article does not say if there was a punishment for the security officials, but it does mention that some of the passengers were upset because it went against their religious beliefs.
On a more personal note, I could not imagine going through a full-body scanner on a routine basis.
The idea of having someone look at basically my naked body is a scary thing. It’s hard enough to share nudity in an intimate setting, let alone with an audience of strangers.
I completely agree with the idea of using the scanners as a quicker way of checking suspect passengers, but by using it on all passengers, I fear that the scanners will continue to be abused.
Danielle Cintron is a senior journalism and English major from La Place who serves as associate and online editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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