Patt Morrison for November 17, 2010

Invasion of the body scanners: coming soon to an airport near you

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Joern Pollex/Getty Images

A man demonstrates a check by a full body scanner at Hamburg Airport in Hamburg, Germany.

As if metal detectors, shoe removal, and random cavity searches weren't enough, the Transportation Security Administration has roughly doubled the number of controversial, full-body scanners present in 68 airports across the U.S. Labeled "digital strip searches" by opponents, the full-body scanners penetrate through clothing providing a detailed image of the passenger underneath. A growing number of passengers, labor unions, and advocacy groups say the TSA has gone too far by introducing these machines (not to mention their alternative, what TSA calls the "enhanced pat-down") without an adequate test period or legislative oversight. Opponents are obviously bothered by the intimate nature of images produced, but also want to know how those images are stored or not stored (will your body scan turn up on the web?), and are these X-rays a health danger? So, are you ready to bare all in the name of national security? What if that patriotism might also lead to health complications?


Billie Vincent, President and CEO of Aerospace Services International, a transportation security consulting firm, and former Director of Aviation Security for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center

Kate Hanni, founder of Flyer’s Rights, a non-profit consumer organization in the United States representing airline passengers.

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