Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Overkill? Justified?

We go to Shriners in Salt Lake for Brody's surgeries on his hands and arms. In order to avoid the 13 hour drive, we fly there.

I just read that, when we fly out of the Salt Lake airport April 25, we will be subject to a comprehensive body scanning security device. In a closed-door room about 100 yards away, a computerized image of the person appears on a screen, and a Transportation Security officer looks for items that would be unusual for a traveler to possess. The TSA officers have wireless devices to communicate with each other about whether it's necessary to hold a traveler back in order to check their right back pocket, for example.

Salt Lake City is one of six cities in the United States — including Tulsa, Okla.; Albuquerque; San Francisco; Las Vegas and Miami — in a pilot program using the units. The federal government will analyze passenger data after six months and determine whether to put more units in more airports.

At this point, it's voluntary, not mandatory. Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union wonders whether travelers who volunteer for the body scan really understand what they're consenting to. According to the ACLU, the body scanning technology could project images that shows evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size of breasts or genitals.

Of course, no cameras or cell phones are allowed in the viewing room, and the TSA says that there is no way to save the images.

I recognize the value of detecting ceramic or plastic explosive devices, I do.

It's just that it seems incredibly invasive. See for yourself:

Once you're done doing this:


This is what the TSA sees:



As a mother to a son who has a unique medical conditions, I'm going to avoid this scan. As a woman, I'm going to avoid this scan because it's invasive and just plain creepy. I know my husband would probably love to do this scan, but only if he could also see what he looks like (and the traveler will not be able to see his own image).

So, would you submit to this kind of scan, in place of regular old metal detectors? Or should this kind of screening be used in place of a body cavity search, only when there is probable cause for such searches?

12 comments:

I am Mary S. said...

I would NOT submit to a scan like this. You're right, it's creepy as hell and incredibly invasive! I could see using it in lieu of a body cavity search if there is just cause, but just for plain old Traveller Jane and Joe, no way!

SaRaH said...

No, thank you. If security doesn't get to know me intimately, to the terrorists win?

Jacque said...

No way!

Robyn said...

No, definitely not. No. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine if I took Benj through that? They would think my kid was carrying on explosives hidden in tubes! HA! We'd never make it through secutiry.

Lori
www.caringbridge.org/visit/benjidennison

Tracy said...

No. I wouldn't see that as something needed for the average Jane or Joe. That is just too plain creepy to me. It would really deter me from flying.

www.caringbridge.org/visit/margaretreed1

Tracy said...

No. I wouldn't see that as something needed for the average Jane or Joe. That is just too plain creepy to me. It would really deter me from flying.

www.caringbridge.org/visit/margaretreed1

Dayna said...

Ewww, I wouldn't want to do this either. While I can see the necessity I suppose, I personally think it's waaaay creepy.

Christine said...

Thanks, gals - I'm so glad I'm not alone!

Greg said...

Being a quadriplegic for the last 10 years so many people have seen me naked... And not in a good way, lol.

I don't think it really matters to me. I can understand your concern but personally it's just another hoop in society.

Christine said...

Greg, I love your perspective. Thanks for your comment!

feitpingvin said...

I wonder how quickly "dah t'rrsts" (or some pimply teenage hacker type for that matter) are going to be able to beat the system. And it will be beat... then what?