Airport Body Scans

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Current Events

Well, I have to fly to Costa Rica in a couple of weeks so I’ve got to do some conscious thinking about airport security.  What can I bring on board?  What goes in my luggage?  Will somebody be looking at my naked body?  Are they really paid enough to have to do that? …

We don’t have body scanners in Canadian airports, but one result of the recent talks about a North American Security Perimeter is that they will soon be installed.  Personally, I don’t really care, but I can understand why some people would.  It is only a matter of time before we see leaked pictures.  In fact there already are some (most notably from an Orlando courthouse, -although they are really low resolution, unlike the airport pictures). Original reports stated that these machines do not have the ability to save or transmit scanned images, but a recent CNN story reveals that not only can they, but that the US government insisted that they be able to do this.

If you are questioning the resolution, just do a Google search for “airport body scan” images and check out the variety.  The Photoshop reversal is particularly “revealing”. In Britain, officials were the first to decree that children shouldn’t be required to go through a scan because it could be viewed as “child porn”.  Canada has adopted that same standard.  I wasn’t able to discover what the rule was in the U.S.

Is this a necessary evil?  Do we need this to insure that planes don’t blow up?  One of the most interesting articles I’ve read on airport security looks at what they do in Israel.  You would expect Israeli airlines to be a prominent target for terrorism, but they are the safest in the world.  What is their security secret.  Not body scanners at $250 000 a piece.  They rely on trained human beings who interview the passengers.  They have rooms built in which to put suspected explosives so that they don’t have to evacuate a whole airport if there is a threat.

I just find it interesting that a country like the U.S., which constantly champions their stand on individual human rights (to the extent that they shun state run medical insurance as an infringement of those rights), have OK’ed this heavy handed body scanning.  It’s like solving the problem with a sledge hammer.

Perhaps they should make the decision that everyone has to go through airport security completely naked.  It would simplify matters, wouldn’t it?

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