Posted March 5, 2009 by Carl Unger
As the old saying goes, "If you've got it, flaunt it." That may be the thinking behind the TSA's new security scanners, which uses a high-tech imaging system to reveal what passengers have hiding beneath their clothes. The technology, called millimeter wave imaging, can detect non-metallic items such as plastic weapons and liquid explosives, which conventional metal detectors miss. And the new machines work well, meaning flying will be theoretically safer once they are fully implemented. But there's a catch: These machines can see everything beneath a passengers clothes, and I mean everything.
Needless to say, such a revealing form of passenger screening has brought outcry, notably from the ACLU and other privacy advocates. And who can blame them? Most people don't disrobe in the airport, and these machines effectively force you to do so. But the TSA claims passengers' privacy is protected because the screeners viewing the images can neither save the image nor see the passengers' faces.
Still, the idea of a TSA screener seeing a black-and-white image of your bits and pieces is too much for some people to bear. As of now, passengers can refuse to use the machine and choose the metal detector instead, though the TSA says these passengers may require a pat-down following the metal detector. After all, a person refusing such a thorough search could be trying to protect something, even if it's just their dignity.
What do you think about the TSA's new technology? Is your privacy worth sacrificing in the name of security, or is this an unfairly harsh way to treat innocent passengers? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Thanks!
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