Friday, June 06, 2008

Scanning Your Body At An Airport Near You

Airport security in America is an interesting topic to be sure. Some don't mind being scanned, searched, poked and prodded. If they think it keeps them safe then more power to the ill-trained men and women with shirts that have "TSA" embroidered on them. Taking your shoes off is standard here, but laughed at in most of the world's airports. The thing is, most people just don't know if the TSA is doing a good job or merely acting like it. Well now they get a new piece of equipment to play with.

From USA Today:

BALTIMORE — Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation's busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently started using body scans on randomly chosen passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and at New York's Kennedy airport.

Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month. Reagan National Airport in Washington starts using a body scanner today. A total of 38 machines will be in use within weeks.

"It's the wave of the future," said James Schear, the TSA security director at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where two body scanners are in use at one checkpoint.

Schear said the scanners could eventually replace metal detectors at the nation's 2,000 airport checkpoints and the pat-downs done on passengers who need extra screening. "We're just scratching the surface of what we can do with whole-body imaging," Schear said.

Security people love this because they can look more intimately at passengers and call it "more advanced." The reality is that the machines can be fooled by someone that would want to do harm, while for the most part all it does is strip (no pun intended) innocent people of their privacy, allowing TSA personnel (some of whom have questionable personal backgrounds) to see private parts of people (albeit in black and white imaging). Their spokesman says its no big deal and people don't mind, but that is to be expected from a biased source.