The TSA recently announced that airport security scanners which can see under clothing are being installed at 10 U.S. airports, according to the AFP. Travelers will enter glass booths while a 3-dimensional full-body image is rendered using “millimeter waves.” Because the image gives a clear representation of travelers’ bodies and genitalia, it has some people concerned about their privacy. More, inside…
The article says,
While it allows the security screeners — looking at the images in a separate room — to clearly see the passenger’s sexual organs as well as other details of their bodies, the passenger’s face is blurred, TSA said in a statement on its website.
The scan only takes seconds and is to replace the physical pat-downs of people that is currently widespread in airports.
TSA began introducing the body scanners in airports in April, first in the Phoenix, Arizona terminal.
The installation is picking up this month, with machines in place or planned for airports in Washington (Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington International), Dallas, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Miami and Detroit.
But the new machines have provoked worries among passengers and rights activists.
“People have no idea how graphic the images are,” Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union, told AFP.
The ACLU said in a statement that passengers expecting privacy underneath their clothing “should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies such as evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane.”
Besides masking their faces, the TSA says on its website, the images made “will not be printed stored or transmitted.”
“Once the transportation security officer has viewed the image and resolved anomalies, the image is erased from the screen permanently. The officer is unable to print, export, store or transmit the image.”
Lara Uselding, a TSA spokeswoman, added that passengers are not obliged to accept the new machines.
“The passengers can choose between the body imaging and the pat-down,” she told AFP.
Even if we trust the TSA to blur the faces of travelers and properly dispose of the naked images, and we don’t, we believe the TSA has reached yet another milestone in violating our privacy. We appreciate the fact that the TSA is allowing us to choose between the full-body-scan and a pat-down, as if giving us some choice absolves them from any criticism. So which would you prefer, being groped by the TSA or letting them take your naked picture?
Scanners that see through clothing installed in US airports [AFP] (Thanks to Bladefist!)