Airport Naked Body Scanners
Get a Makeover
But TSA Hassles and Privacy Violations Persist
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) keeps keeping travelers guessing as to what procedures they’ll have to endure to get to their gates.
Shoes, wallets, liquids, creams, medical devices – some airports have different procedures for hassling passengers than others. ID checks and personal questions from TSA agents – the agency deliberately targets people at random to try to catch them off guard. Even frequent fliers who are enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck trusted-traveler program never know when they’ll be singled out and ushered through standard or enhanced screening procedures.
As for those infamous full-body scanners that pose health and privacy threats, TSA recently began removing full-body X-ray machines from several major airports. But not to retire them. They’ll simply be redeployed at smaller airports!
The new generation of millimeter-wave imaging equipment that is being rolled out at large airports automatically converts scans of passengers’ bodies to cartoonlike representations that supposedly prevent individual passengers from being fully revealed to TSA agents. But, of course, you have no right to receive this less intrusive type of scan instead of the more intrusive one if you happen to end up in a security station decked out with the old X-ray machines. You can opt out of the naked body scanners only if you agree to long waits, a pat down and the verbal humiliation that typically goes along with it.
For some, opting for the pat down is their way of protesting a system in which citizens are treated like cattle, conditioned to conform and to comply passively with petty government demands that arguably serve no useful purpose.
TSA agents have recently stepped up the pressure on those who would dare to opt out. As a matter of procedure, agents now verbally confront such individuals and attempt to persuade them to drop their objections to entering the naked body scanners.
As the Washington Times editorialized, “Over the past decade, the public has been forced to shell out $57 billion for an agency that has made flying an ordeal. All of the groping and indignities passengers have been subjected to has been for naught. TSA has never caught a single terrorist, yet it continues to insist on spending billions on pornographic scanning machines. The European Union, by contrast, refuses to adopt the technology.”