Privacy vs Protection in the Airport

October 23, 2011


So, last week as fall break was ending I had to fly back to Michigan from my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.  During the security checks though, I was subjected to something interesting.  I had to go through one of those full body scanners.  You know, the ones which basically show a stranger your naked body.  “Sir, please place your hands on the sides of your heads like antlers on a reindeer” said the TSA agent.  Oh great, as if giving a peepshow to a stranger wasn’t bad enough, I now had to look like a freaking reindeer.  I eventually got through, but this security check made me feel uncomfortable and violated.

A man passing through one of the full body scanners

I’ve now had more time to think about and research that security check and as you probably already know, I’m not the only one that had problems with it.  These full body scanners are extremely controversial, according to this abcnews article.  Many argue that these security checks violate our 4th amendment, which protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure.  Indeed, the biggest problem people seem to have with the full body scanners are that they invade privacy.  A British politician, Philip Bradbourn, has called this method of security a “virtual strip search” as quoted in this Times article.  He also says:

“[The] technology has the potential to turn a legitimate security concern into an unacceptable peepshow for security industries,”

Much like me, many people felt violated and uncomfortable with the full body scanners.  Many parents also become angered when they see their spouse or children have to go through these scanners and have to show their bodies shown to random strangers.  In fact, to add to the controversy, in England these scanners violate child pornography laws.

Privacy isn’t the only issue people have with these scanners either.  Each scanner that an airport buys costs 150,000 dollars, according to the Times article linked above.  Many feel that this is not an efficient use of money by the government and many feel that the costs outweigh the benefits of these new machines.  In Europe alone, thousands of full body scanners would be built in airports.  The costs for these scanners quickly stack up.  Furthermore, these full body scanners take a much longer time to pass through than just your standard metal detector.  In these full body scanners you have to take the proper stance (the reindeer pose), get scanned, then wait while the TSA agents figure out if you have illegal objects on your body.  On the other hand, your normal metal detectors just require you to walk through.  The metal detectors are a very quick and efficient process, while the full-body scanners can take 10-20 seconds longer, which can add up in the long lines at airports.

However, the more I did research, the more it came up that maybe I was seeing this issue the wrong way.  As it turns out, the TSA agents do not get a descriptive image of your body.  As a TSA agent was quoted as saying in the abcnews article above:

“Essentially, what we did is we dumbed down the image [for the back scan machine]; now, the image is much like a gingerbread cookie, it’s the outline of a body.”

Furthermore, as mentioned in the same abcnews article, the TSA agent who gets to see this outline of your body is in a remote location and cannot see you when you pass through the scanner.  And there’s more, the TSA does not store your body’s image anywhere, it goes away right after it’s looked at by the TSA agent.  Also, that same TSA agent cannot bring anything into the room that could take a picture of your scanned body (cell phones, cameras, etc).  After reading all of that, privacy issues do not seem to be as big of a concern.

These scanners do seem to be a help to security, but there are still some questions about its effectiveness.  Things like guns and other hurtful weapons can easily be seen by TSA agents.  To add to that, people carrying contraband, like drugs, are getting caught a lot more often with these full body scanners.

It's quite easy to see weapons and other illegal items

However, according to the Times article I linked above, some people believe that the terrorist attack on Detroit (the underwear bomber) may not have even been seen by these full body scanners.  As quoted in the Times article:

Ben Wallace, a British Conservative Parliament member who was involved in a defense firm’s testing of the technology, said over the weekend that the scanners probably wouldn’t have picked up the powder.

The underwear bomber was the reason that these full-body scanners were created in the first place so the doubt about whether the underwear bomber would have been caught is not a good thing to hear.  Some people of course do believe that this terrorist attack would have been caught, as said in the Times article.  However, it is not good to hear that this security is not perfect, considering the costs of these machines.

So, with all of these points to consider, what do you think about the full-body scanners?  Do the benefits (increased security and identity safety), outweigh the costs (privacy, time, and money)?


About ngamin1614

I'm a sophomore at the University of Michigan. I'm originally from Nebraska, where the corn grows 6 feet high (there's a reason I came to Michigan). I think I'm gonna be a math and econ double major and hopefully after my undergrad, I can pick up a job and then get into business school. But, things change, so we'll see. I play tennis, listen to music, hang out with friends, and am always up for a good adventure.

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21 Comments on “Privacy vs Protection in the Airport”

  1. marckarpinos31 Says:

    I think this is a great topic to address. When I came back from break I flew out of a very tiny airport in the NY area. As a result, I expected a near non-existant security line but to my surprise the line was longer than the one I dealt with at the Detroit Airport. I would have to say it was a result of the airport having one line and one full body scanner. In that sense, I agree with your post in saying that these things are expensive and they are not time efficient. The girl in front of me in line almost missed her flight because the line was so slow!

    On the contrary though while I read the beginning of your post I couldn’t help but disagree. While the concept may seem invasive I was pretty confident that these machines were solely an X-Ray that did not expose individual bodily features. As a result I would be much happier with a TSA agent viewing my X-Ray than letting someone get through security with a weapon that can bring down my flight.

    As a result I believe these scanners are worth the time and money that they cost us. As travelers did with the old metal detectors we are going to have to adjust to the time that TSA security takes. After all I think we can all agree we would rather deal with a slight inconvenience than a hijacked fight.

  2. isobelkraft Says:

    I, like the author, was a bit wary of my privacy with the new full-body scanners. However, before I even read to the end of this post, I felt that these scanners were necessary to increase security at our airports. It comforts me to read that the TSA agents do not see as much as I thought and that they are in a remote location. I believe that Homeland Security has done a fine job in ensuring that people still keep a sense of privacy in a very exposing situation.

    The benefit’s of the scanner most definitely outweigh the costs in this situation. It is important to remember that the most important thing in this situation is the security at our airports. If increased security means more money spent and a some traveler inconvenience, so be it. Traveling has been more difficult by far since 9/11 (it has gotten a bit faster since then, of course), so everyone should be used to having to arrive hours in advance for flights and to deal with long lines at security checkpoints. Those that get in a huff about it are either not well-prepared for their travels or are forgetting that these procedures are for our safety. It is no question that, due high security risks, the checkpoints are needed to keep the airways safe from possible attacks. As for those that are concerned with their privacy, the Times article the author linked makes it clear that the government is doing everything to guarantee that the people’s privacy is not breeched unnecessarily.

  3. bsrobin Says:

    This issue is extremely hard and probably impossible to find the “right” answer. The new full body scans absolutely do help security and safety in airports and planes but it is also an invasion of privacy. However, I believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives and these body scans should be implemented in airports across the country and hopefully the world as well. The reasoning is because airports and the companies that own the planes are all private corporations. It is each passengers choice to pay the company and fly with them; therefore, the airports should be able to conduct whatever security they see fit. Additionally, this security will be able to stop people like the “underwear bomber” and other people attempting to bring harmful materials on the plane. As is the case now, not every single person is required to go through the body scans. This helps make the process quicker and the people that may have a problem with them, may not end up using them anyway.

    I have gone through the scans probably at least 10 times myself and although they may be intimidating, they are extremely useful. Personally, I am comfortable with someone else looking at me through a scan but i do understand why some people may feel differently. For these people, the only other remaining option may be not to fly or use these airpots. Harsh as that may sound, safety and security should be the number one concern for all airports and the measures that have to be taken to ensure everyones safety may at times, be drastic. One possible solution I pose is to have women TSA agents looking only at women through the scan and the same for men. This may eliminate some of the uncomfortable feelings that people have about strangers looking at them. The only people that should really be worried about these scans are the people trying to smuggle things onto planes because it is now nearly impossible.

  4. drainey323 Says:

    I personally have never be subjected to one of these full body scans yet, and while I, like most people, would be uncomfortable if I had to do it, I feel that it is very beneficial for airports to have. No, it is not a perfect process but if it means lowering the chances of threats and attacks on our nation then I am all for it, even at the expense of temporary embarrassment. As far as the cost, I feel that it will pay for itself in time. Stopping just one terrorist attack is worth it. Furthermore a person may opt. out of the scan for a full body pat down, which is even more uncomfortable and embarrassing in my opinion.

    However, I do question how one is selected to go through these scans. Like I said, I have yet to have to go through one, and i have been flying recently. From my understanding, one is picked at random. If this is the case, I do slightly question the benefit and effectiveness if only every 10th person, or whatever the selection process is, is being scanned. Granted it would be a lot more time consuming if everyone was subject to the scan, but what is an extra hour or two at the airport to the well being of everyone?

  5. cbeidler Says:

    Being from the suburbs of Philadelphia, my only travels options to and from Ann Arbor are an eleven hour drive or an hour and a half flight. Clearly, the flight wins, and I fly home a couple times a year. When the airports first started using the scanners, my mom was the one who informed me of them. She was enraged, ranting about privacy violations and ‘peep shows’. Needless to say, after our conversation, I was pretty nervous and uncomfortable with the idea of having my body scanned. However, after doing my own research and looking at the scans myself, I can honestly say I don’t have a problem with the scanners. I’ve gone through them dozens of times and have never once felt violated or uncomfortable by what the TSA agents are doing. They are professionals and they treat the situation as such.
    I asked my dad what he thought about the full body scanners, I think he summed it up perfectly: “So long as my plane doesn’t get blown up.”

  6. Lilian Baek Says:

    Besides privacy, time, and money, I believe there are other factors to be taken into consideration when deciding whether the advantages of body scans outweigh the disadvantages. For one, what is the health threat? Although the radiation of the scanners is kept within low limits, there is always the possibility of machines malfunctioning, raising risk of cancer. Okay, so that’s settled to some extent. What about the intrusiveness? Although full body scanners reveal metallic and non-metallic items, scanners do not reveal things in body cavities. This age-old method for smuggling contraband would have the potential to pass by the scanners, making the whole process pointless. In addition, scanners cannot detect low-density materials such as powders and liquids. Seeing as how more states are replacing their scanners with less intrusive one, I believe this isn’t as big of a problem as it seems. With the updated software, passengers are reduced to an outline and is then detected of any peculiarities that need further checking. New York and Florida are just some of the states that have installed this program and it is only a matter of time that all 50 states will follow. Also, what would you consider more intrusive- a body scan or someone patting you down? At the end it pretty much comes down to the same kind of idea, however, I think it would be more uncomfortable if someone physically touched checked me. Although these factors are of concern, when it comes to my safety and that of others, I would happily agree to a body scan.

  7. ianbaker2041 Says:

    I think that what this ultimately comes down to is, like many other blog posts, personal liberties vs. protection of society as a whole. I for one favor the latter.

    Like you, I’ve gone through the full body scanners. When I was flying home from Guanajuato, Mexico last November, I went through one at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas. Much thanks to the US security for ensuring that everyone entering America is weapon-free. However, on this scan, my upper leg had to be patted down. The security officer was very friendly, wasn’t rude, offered to do it in private (although I frankly didn’t care and declined), and was, per TSA policy, of my gender. Even though it was a somewhat uncomfortable procedure for all the obvious reasons, I couldn’t find anything to gripe about. If patting me down protects America, I’m all for it.

    That’s why I really can’t understand all the objections to the full body scanners. Since November, I’ve gone through scanners twice more this summer on my way to and from Europe, and I’ve yet to have a bad experience. Given the number of passengers traveling through America’s airports every day, it’s a shockingly LOW number of cases that star the mean TSA agents acting rudely to passengers. At the end of the day, the full body scanners keep America’s skies safe by ensuring that no one brings weapons or chemicals on airplanes. The cost shouldn’t come as a huge objection either. The TSA has been gradually phasing in the scanners; this disperses the cost greatly. Many small, local airports will not have full body scanners for quite some time thanks to the government’s efforts to that end.

    As I mentioned above, it comes down to protection of everyone vs rights for some. It also reminds me of the Patriot Act for that same reason, and as I support the Patriot Act in its entirety, I support the TSA’s new techniques for the same reason. While it may inconvenience a few people from time to time, security measures such as these keep everyone safe. The government should primarily be an institution to keep everyone safe, and given the airline industry’s record of hijacking, it only makes sense to employ more stringent procedures to protect passengers. Besides, if you don’t want to use the scanners, drive or don’t travel at all. You still have the choice. No one forces you to fly.

  8. mcdonmeg Says:

    I think this a very great issue to discuss since like you said it is a very controversial topic. In my opinion I can see both sides of the argument. On one side, it could make someone feel safer seeing that airports have put much thought and money into airport security. Ever since 9/11, people have been aware of the dangers others can bring if there isn’t high enough security. Although some people might think that it invades personally privacy, I am fine with them using these machines if it means that I will be on a safe flight. However, I can understand why people might find these machines violating if they think that the machine is a “virtual strip search”. People who do have these feelings and don’t agree with the machine can request not to use them. Every time that I go to the airport, my dad requests to not use them, not because he feels like it is an intrusion but because he thinks that the emissions the machines give off could potentially be harmful to his health. Therefore, he just gets pulled aside and is hand searched. Both ways are fine with me as long as my flight is a safe one.

  9. beaurh Says:

    This topic is controversial in more ways than simply preserving privacy and maintaining efficiency. The notion that this method is an intrusion of privacy is inappropriate. The catastrophic consequences that a 10-12 second full body search can prevent vastly outweighs the inconvenience and small intrusion.
    Another complaint, as mcdonmeg brought up before, is the radiation that these machines emit and the detrimental side effects. Frequent radiation exposure is known to damage chromosomal structure which, in turn, can lead to cancers and mutation in progeny. Companies that manufacture these scanners state that the amount of radiation exposure is too miniscule to cause any damage, but this is, again, debatable. The issue arises with men and women whose occupation revolves around flying multiple times per week. Without wearing a radiation monitor it is impossible to tell how much exposure one is really getting.
    I believe that if someone is this worried about radiation exposure, then they should purchase a radiation monitor. Again, national security is too important to neglect based on principle.
    The article below gives an excellent overview of this issue.

  10. Baihan Li Says:

    Wel, just a simple question: would you be comfortable if there is no full body scanner in airpot? With the scary memory of 911, will you still believe that people getting on the airplane are safe?

    The answer is no. Absolutely no.

    In fact, being scaned in the airpot is also part of your social contract, though this sounds really funny. While you hope that you enjoy a safe ride, other riders, reasonably, hold the same wish. Since you want to make sure that others do not carry any weapon like a bomb onto the plane, you should be willing to the fact that everyone, including you, should be checked.

    Therefore, the only problem there might be: oh I don’t like to pose like this with so many witness; or, can we do the scanning in a more private way?

    However, what if this is processed in a really private way? Well, it might take as twice as it does now to have all the passengers scanned, since no other passenger should see this awkward scene. Will you be happy with that?

    The answer, from most of us, might be no: waiting migh be much more irritating than posing awkwardly in public.

    Well, trading off is an important part for us to living in a society. We give up some for what we want. The sharp edges and corners in our personalities are gradually, though painfully, erased, because none of us want to be hurt.There is, in fact, no way to live the life totally as one wishes, as none of us can live alone. Similarly, there is no absolute freedom nor absolute right as we are always dependent on others.

  11. sbsmoler92692 Says:

    Though adequate information was provided, I still hold strong feelings towards the extreme benefits that the airport security provides. Though the full body scanners are costly, as stated above they cost around $150,000, I do not feel that one can put a price tag on the thousands of lives that those machines save and prevent from being unjustly taken away, daily. Without such powerful tools and protective measures against the terrorism that has occurred in the past in airport and transportation settings, I definitely think travelers would be more at risk. Though they are extremely costly, the full body scanners are more accurate measures of security, which I think is an actual legitimate good use of the money being spent on security.
    It is also crucial that we consider the opposite situation and imagine an airport with little or no security, and the amount of crime and terror attacks that would easily happen in that case. Therefore, in this sad day and age where crime is omnipresent, I don’t view it as the slightest invasion of privacy but rather citizens complying with the adequate measures necessary to prevent further crime in airports. Citizens should feel honored, rather than violated, that they have such machines that can spot out all types of drugs and weapons that could be used during flights to tamper with their security and safety on board.
    Because the arguments for both sides were made clear, I can now firmly state that I believe the pros definitely outweigh the cons to this situation. When it comes down to a matter of security, and protecting our country’s citizens, the benefits will always outweigh the dollars in my opinion. I now feel more comfortable travelling in airports with the full-body scanners, just to ensure that I will have safe travels.

  12. parijog Says:

    I fully support the TSA in the use of these full body scanners. This small invasion of privacy can be justified by the increased safety for travelers. Everyone who has gone to the doctor for a full checkup has felt the initial embarrassment of being naked in front of a stranger, but everyone chooses to follow though with these checkups because they know it is the best way to protect their health. These security scans at the airport are much less invasive, but still provide heightened security for the individual. It is not as though the security personnel, who sees thousands of people in a day, is going to stop and take interest in your form, no matter how embarrassing you may find yourself. Additionally, there are regulations in place to prevent these ginger bread man-esque pictures from being released, so even if your outline were somehow recognizable, there would be no way for it to be accessible to anyone but the trained security guard. In the end, I know that I would rather have to fly naked than fly with an elevated risk of terrorism.

    As for the cost and extra hastle of these machines, I believe it is a price worth paying. There is no dollar amount we can tag onto the terror attacks that have gripped air travel over the past 10 years. Safety and peace of mind in regard to air travel is priceless, and I would hate to see a disaster that could have been averted if we had to patience to pay a little bit extra or wait in line a little bit longer at the security gate.

  13. kaitlinlapka Says:

    I just flew to and from Hawaii recently and was interested in this as well. Not even leaving the country, yet traveling across the Pacific made me feel like I was taking an international flight- having to fill out agricultural papers on the plane before entering the state, meals on board, over 8 hours, etc. However, I found something contrary to your post. The level of security shocked me as quite low. In neither O’Hare International airport nor the Lansing Capital City airport did I see such extreme measures. Now I have seen them before, and surely I had planned to see them again. I thought it was odd that all I was asked to do was show my ID, walk through a metal detector (of sorts, looked pretty basic), and run my bag through the scanner. That was it. No one near me was even searched, profiled, or randomly asked to be checked again. Also, it was 6 AM and I thought many of the security guards looked a little too relaxed. They were sleepily sipping coffee and chatting about yesterday’s work. Should I be punished and risk lack of safety simply because these security officers and employees were tired? I hope not.
    I think that if airports want to use this technology they need to do two things. First, they need to make it a uniform procedure for all people at all times. It is the only fair way, and will also not allow for excessive viewing of certain people. If it is helpful in one terminal or region, it should surely be helpful in all. Second, I think airports need to put up information explaining said machines: what they do, what they see, and offer to give the traveler a minute to read about these procedures. That way, people can understand they aren’t being violated and soon it will become as routine as flipping your ID with your ticket.

  14. mfriedlander92 Says:

    People think that these new scanners are an infringement on our privacy rights. However, the pictures produced by the machine are blurred outlines of the human body. They don’t show your face or any identifying-characteristics besides if you are a male or a female. Also many people don’t understand how the system works. The person telling you to go through the machine and the person sitting by the machine as you walk through, are NOT the people who review the pictures. The pictures are sent to a different room where someone is sitting at the computer and then sends a message, like radios to the TSA officers who are out by you saying if you are allowed to go. It is like male, good – female, good – female, no. Then the pictures are destroyed immediately; they do not go into a database.

    I personally don’t think that allowing a stranger, who will never see your face or who you are, see an outlined image of of your body to see if you have any weapons on you is that big of a deal. Yes, it makes some people uncomfortable, but then you can ask for the full body search (which would most likely be way more uncomfortable anyways). Wouldn’t you rather me slightly uncomfortable for 7 seconds, rather than being part of a terrorist attack.

    The issue should be security and safety and not privacy, because I have been through these machines plenty of times and I have never felt violated by using the scanner or by the actions of the TSA officers. The cost of these machines shouldn’t factor in to this argument, because as someone stated before you can’t put a price tag on someone’s safety.

    Overall, I think that people need to understand that the government isn’t trying to take nudey pictures of you and save them for their own purposes. They are trying to protect you and increase your safety while traveling. Therefore, people should stop acting as if they are being completely violated by these scanners producing a blurry image of your frame to someone locked in a room. This is something that could end up benefitting the society as a whole in the end, so is 7 seconds of uncomfortableness really worth another 747 plane being blown up?

  15. blogger32 Says:

    This post addresses many important issues regarding public safety and human rights. As a frequent traveler, I have gone threw the body scan systems many times at airports and do not see why people are viewing the machine as an invasion of privacy. The body scan simply turns out a skeletal image of the person it has scanned and it is in no way revealing and embarrassing, in my opinion at least.

    I think that in this instance, our government and TSA are doing the right thing by using these body scanners. As you said, they do take longer and can cause back up at security lines, but as you said this machine is very good at detecting weapons on people trying to fly and has even led to an increase in finding people in possession of drugs. Additionally, I do acknowledge that these machines are extremely expensive, but for wealthier nations like the United States I think it’s an absolute most to upgrade to these devices. Think about it this way…is it worth having another terrorist attack in our country because of a breach in airport security…especially when a full body scanner could have avoided the entire incident? Absolutely not.

    Although I am an adamant supporter of stringent airport security…I do think there are times where TSA takes things a bit too far….check out this link for a story that in my opinion is a real example of breaching someone’s rights.


  16. JustinMandeltort Says:

    Flying from New York to Michigan for school is a trip that I take often. I have never been scared to get onboard a flight, something I owe to the security at the airport. Yes, I may complain in line about how slow the process is or even angrily question why I would be someone to get randomly searched. Yet, at the end of the day, I should be and am thankful for the security at the airport. Whatever means are necessary to ensure my safety on a flight I feel is necessary; even if it means getting to the airport an hour earlier. The increased safety outweighs things like time, privacy and money. Privacy is a key issue to many, but if privacy was kept in the airports then what would security even be like? We have to have our privacy limited to ensure the safety of our families, friends and children when getting onboard a plane. The full-body scanners are new technology, and will be questioned at first for sure, but at the end of the day everyones safety is the number one concern, and these scanners will help strengthen that. I think that all will agree that they would give up more privacy and time to make sure they are going to get where they want to go safely.

  17. erfreed3 Says:

    During a trip to Portland, Oregon this summer, I was subject to an Advance Imaging Technology (AIT) machine. Much like this author, I wondered the extant of what the TSA officer could see, as well as the true effectiveness of the machine. Like the author, I think it is good that the AIT machines have made it easier for officers to spot weapons and contraband. However, I did not realize that AIT machines expose travelers to potentially harmful radiation. As mcdonmeg and beaurh mentioned, if people are truly at harm by using these machines, then other ethical questions are at work. Personally, as a semi-hypochondriac, knowing that these machines may cause cancer doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    After doing some research, I read that the TSA is planning to to update all of their AIT machines to reduce what a TSA officer can actually see. Supposedly this new software, known as Automated Target Recognition, displays travelers much as generic figures. In this case, I am strongly in favor of using these machines as a part of airport security. Even if this was not the case, I would much rather be subject to a brief few seconds of nudity than not have the security measure at all. I see these AIT machines as being the most effective technology we have. Sure, they are not flawless but they are a work in progress. Although, to get back to my earlier point, if these machines do truly cause harm via radiation, they should all be recalled. The point of this post is the safety of the passenger. It would be all too ironic if these AIT machines, that are supposed to be increasing our security, may be doing personal damage on our bodies.

  18. amgille Says:

    As it is the government’s duty to protect citizens, I do not find a problem with the full body scanners. Yes, they are obnoxious, annoying, slow, and might in fact make one late for their flight, but at the same time, they prevent the other hundred people on that flight from potentially being killed.

    Toward the issue of being late for the plane, people should instead change their routines at the airport to allow for more time to get there. In the past, people could show up to the airport twenty minutes before their flight and still make it, however, that in between time has become increasingly longer and longer. Today, it is more likely that someone will arrive at a larger airport two hours prior to their departure time in order to make up for this higher security. It might then be safe to assume that society’s increasing security, though less efficient, is increasing protection in the airports.

    While one may argue that it limits the protection of one’s body due to the images being seen, that is also untrue. While one’s body is exposed in these pictures, those that are viewing them are delegated to a small professional groups, much like that of a doctor’s office. Furthermore, as the author noted, the bodies are simply gingerbread copies, bereft of many details, including one’s name. Overall, while one may have their personal body “under inspection,” there is more protection for the overall body as it deters further attempts at terrorism.

    So, as we give up some of our liberties to secure our property, we consent to these procedures, much like a contract as noted above by Baihan Li. In order for us to receive the best security possible, we must note that there could be infringements upon privacy to keep us safe from the ultimate act of terrorism – death.

  19. bonannianthony Says:

    Over the past summer I flew from Detroit to Los Angeles and back. I honestly didn’t realize the new body scanning machines were in use in airports until my sister told me. So once I got to the airport I was kind of anxious to get to the security checkpoints just to see these new machines. Once I got to the front of the line I did the “reindeer” pose and was pictured. Once I finished I quickly went through the point to try to get a look at the screen the TSA screener was on; to see what they could see. I managed to see the picture of myself on the screen and from what I could see I had no reason to feel violated. I didn’t think the screen shot was “bad” in any way. However, once we cleared security and was waiting at the gate for our flight, I had to ask my sister what she thought of it. She was “ok” with it and made the point that this is what our world is coming to now. Seeing my sister take a step back and really think about it got me to thinking also. Even though the new scanners may make people feel uncomfortable it is something that can improve our security and in turn, safety. With new technology and new problems in that technology; I’m sure airport security will be a hot button issue for the foreseeable future.

  20. bmjasper Says:

    Let’s agree to disagree. As a New Yorker, and a friend of many people that have lost parents during 9/11, I have to disagree with you. Honestly, people should be able to spare 1 minute to ensure the safety of hundreds, or in some cases, thousands of people. We have faced true evil and our comfort will forever be sacrificed for the safety of American citizens.

    There is no doubt about it, the world is becoming a messed up place. Times have changed. Terrorists exist. The airport is no longer a casual place of transportation, it is a potentially dangerous area. Thus, every security measure is appropriate. Had there been more security during September 11, thousands of U.S. citizens would be alive today. To call the security checkpoints an inconvenience is wrong. I, along with most other people, would gladly support more efficient safety precautions in our airports.

  21. godzillagti Says:

    I don’t think that these body scanners are worth it. Not only is your privacy being violated and put onto a screen, but we do not know the health issues involved with it. As we all know, x-ray machines emit some radiation, which is why you often wear a lead vest when getting an x-ray, but what about this machine. This machine appears to use similar techniques in order to get a very in depth image of the body, so how do we know that we aren’t being subjected to harmful dosages of radiation? If these don’t even work all that well in finding drugs or harmful weapons then they most certainly aren’t worth the cost. That being said, I do think that there needs to be a better form of detection other than the simple metal detector. This is why I have no problem with the “pat down” procedure where TSA agents outline parts of your body to see if anything illegal or dangerous is attached to the body. It is fairly quick, won’t harm you with radiation, and is really only between you and the agent. I went to fly to south carolina a few months ago and I was terrified for whether I would get the full body scan, or the pat down. I saw the machine and even saw a person go through it, but I didn’t have to. I didn’t even get the pat down. I ended up just going through the metal detector and then moving onto my plane. This creates another problem with these fairly expensive machines, they aren’t always used. This means that the government is spending all of this money, but isn’t scanning or searching everyone. I’m not a terrorist so I didn’t bring anything harmful onto the plane, but what if I did? Due to the fact that I wasn’t scanned, I couldn’t done some serious damage on my plane just like the Detroit bomber had attempted. Overall these machines just aren’t worth all of the time, money and invasion of privacy.

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