New TSA Body Scanner reveals all, embarrasses some

Tracy Stewart, September 08, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    Think airport security is invasive and a tad humiliating? Well, chances are you won't be a fan of the new Provision body scanning machines, set to be installed in 24 U.S. airports by the end of the year. These new machines scan/x-ray beneath clothing to search for concealed weapons or explosives, including plastic and ceramic weapons that often slip through metal detectors, and provide an alternative to the TSA frisk search. However, some argue that these body scanners (as seen in the above image) work a little too well, like a hands-free strip search.

    From an article in the St Petersburg Times:

    The TSA says its procedures protect people's privacy. Faces are blurred on images. Neither officers looking at the image nor the subjects see each other. Images are deleted after viewing, and officers can't "save, store, print or transmit" them, said TSA spokesman Christopher White.

    He describes the images as robotic, like someone in a tight-fitting leotard. "You can see detail, but it's not a naked picture," White said.

    Riiiight. Spot-on comparison, but that's why most folks we know (excluding our Richard Simmons sighting at Atlanta Hartsfield many years ago) steer clear of wearing tight-fitting leotards to the airport. Or anywhere else.

     Attorney Chris Calabrese with the American Civil Liberties Union in New York disagrees. "It reveals explicit details of people's bodies and medical details like colostomy bags," he said. He doubts the TSA can protect images from those seeking to sell pictures of celebrities or people with odd body shapes.

    Passengers not so keen on flashing their "VIP areas" to TSA employees, may opt for the good old fashioned pat down instead. So which one will you choose, hmmm? Comment below.