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New Airport Full-Body Scans: Addresses Privacy Concerns, or Still Worrisome?

The Boston Globe reports that the Transportation Security Administration unveiled new body scanners that show less details to TSA screeners. Does this cool the debate over the scanners, or are they still worrisome?

When full-body scanners at airports became prevalent at airports in recent years, it stoked a debate over whether the scanners are too invasive.

Yesterday, however, the Boston Globe reported that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) unveiled new body scanners that show less details to TSA screeners. Instead of detailed images viewed in a private room by security personnel, the scanners initially only produce generic outlines of passengers, while still picking up on weapons or suspicious objects on a would-be traveller's body. 

When full-body scans were introduced, some protested that the images were too intrusive and that the scans themselves would be ineffective because they would not detect "low-density" materials like plastics, chemicals and liquids. Others argued over health risks. Passengers were not required to go through the full-body scanners and could opt out for a pat-down.

Those in favor of the scanners argued that they reveal metallic and non-metallic items, are less instrusive and more effective than pat-downs, and that they do not produce naked images of travellers—a concern seemingly rendered moot by the new scanners, which use electromagnetic waves instead of X-rays.

With yesterday's announcement by the TSA, we want to know: Has your opinion of full-body scanners at the airport changed? Did you opt-out before and won't anymore, or do you still have concerns over the full-body scans? Or did you not have any problem with the scanners in the first place? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Magellan October 06, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Never had a problem with them. They are so much faster than the old metal detector type scans that I prefer them.
Adam October 07, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I opt out of any scanner that uses backscatter x-ray and/or produces a detailed image. If the machine uses millimeter wave (not x-ray) and does not produce a detailed image, then I might be willing to go through the scanner.
Some Guy October 08, 2012 at 12:16 AM
As so many security experts around the globe have rightly observed, this is 'security theater', with a high ticket price. I suppose Michael Chertoff's connections to the manufacturers are totally unimportant, just like Cheney's connections to Halliburton were in no way ever worthy of consideration. The TSA is yet to prove itself useful as an agency, DHS Fusion Centers are operating with little to no oversight, in utter disregard of Posse Comitatus, and my friends, this IS what a police state looks like. Be clear: this is NOT making you safer. But it perpetuates the BELIEF that you need it to be safer, as it steadily lowers the bar in terms of expectations of decency. How many of you are aware that there a great many vans equipped with this technology that can look right into your living room? Don't take my word for it. Take 5 minutes and prove it to yourself. These machines are garbage. I'm not terribly concerned about the radiation (the flight exposes you to far more), but I AM concerned that people actually think this is in any way helpful, and that once again, Americans are being taken for a ride, fooled by fear into spending ungodly sums of money of what is a purely psychological exercise. The overt message says, "safety". The subliminal message says, "be afraid". Maybe we should be. But who of?

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