Airport Body Scans: A Better Screening Option

I haven't flown since last year, but I'm still intrigued by the prospect of getting a free body scan with a paid plane fare. Chris Strohm's "House to consider ban on airport body scans" (which I read at govexec.com), quotes a TSA spokesman who says that 99.6 percent of passengers chose to have the body scan over other screening options.

I'm pretty sure I'd rather have a scan too, even though "It basically looks at your body naked," according to Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). But because facial images are blurred and your body image is viewed in different location, there's some sense of remote separation. I'd rather experience that than some stranger physically patting me (or my wife and kids) down.

Now I know I'm going to get a lot of flack from those of you who disagree. So what if they gave us the option of airport screening using the scanner or by the more conventional metal detector and a pat down? If the object is to determine whether or not someone is hiding something dangerous in their clothing those are really the only two alternatives available to our at present. A metal detector alone won't reveal a plastic gun, but a body scanner will.

Personally, if scanned images are verifiably temporary and transient (they're supposedly deleted immediately after viewing), I'll opt for that technology. To me, they're just as invasive as some body searches, just in a different way. Airport security screenings have become a necessary evil for airline travelers and since that's the case, maybe we should have the choice of how we get "examined."  

This story, "Airport Body Scans: A Better Screening Option" was originally published by Computerworld.

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