Thursday, March 11, 2010

Smile...Your Naked Self Is On Candid Camera Body Scanners!

In a frivolous and stupid non-thinking response to airplane terrorist attacks in recent years, the TSA and nanny state control freaks are pushing the idea of installing body scanners in airports and making people walk through them.  These scanners would act like the X-ray scanners on your luggage, supposedly allowing scanner operators to identify weapons hidden inside and underneath passengers' clothing without doing a physical pat-down.  There are a few major problems with this idea.

First and foremost is the obvious privacy issue.  These scanners can actually look through your clothing, rendering you effectively naked in front of the scanner operator...and yes, they do see you naked on their screen (a good example of the images can be found here or here, or you can run your own Google search for 'backscatter scanners' - it's pretty amazing technology).  Second, what happens to the images once you walk on through the scanner?  They're supposedly destroyed immediately, but does that really happen?  Third, even if every airport in America was completely blanketed with these scanners, what about everyone who boarded an airplane departing from a foreign country and thus didn't pass through one?  Are we going to force every airport in the world to install these scanners?  Finally, what about the radiation?

Let's start with the last one, which is the easiest and most cut-and-dry.  The radiation levels a person is exposed to with these scanners is extremely tiny, so there are no safety concerns involved, even for frequent travelers.

On the other questions, though, scanner proponents aren't exactly being truthful or forthcoming.  Case in point:

Heathrow Airport employees copied and distributed naked scanner pictures of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan this week.

The pictures were supposed to be immediately destroyed after passengers proceed through the gate.
Prison Planet reported:

Claims on behalf of authorities that naked body scanner images are immediately destroyed after passengers pass through new x-ray backscatter devices have been proven fraudulent after it was revealed that naked images of Indian film star Shahrukh Khan were printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London.

UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said last week that the images produced by the scanners were deleted "immediately" and airport staff carrying out the procedure are fully trained and supervised.

"It is very important to stress that the images which are captured by body scanners are immediately deleted after the passenger has gone through the body scanner," Adonis told the London Evening Standard.

Adonis was forced to address privacy concerns following reports that the images produced by the scanners broke child pornography laws in the UK. When the scanners were first introduced, it was also speculated that images of famous people would be ripe for abuse as the pictures produced by the devices make genitals "eerily visible" according to journalists who have investigated trials of the technology.

So there's your privacy concern validated, as well as an answer to what happens with the images.  Now, how about the effect on terrorism:

I missed this report from last week and it is totally worth highlighting.

Because of the Christmas Day panty bomber and all the other threats and nonsense the Islamofascists are throwing at us, the TSA intends to make us all start walking through full body scanners where TSA agents will be able to see us in all our nekkid glory.

Except the Council on Islamic Relations objected. So now the TSA looks like it is going to carve out a total exception for muslims so no muslim will be subjected to a full body scanner.

Thanks bureaucracy!

Furthermore, these scanners do nothing to discover threats inside the body, like this one:

Regarding the failed attempt to assassinate Saudi Counter-Terror Chief, Prince Naif, the bomber hid the explosive device in his butt, but things worked out well in the end. The bomber was a Saudi national who traveled from Marib, Yemen to Saudi Arabia under the guise of surrendering, and no one was killed but the bomber.

So, let's recap.  These scanners are supposed to:
1. maintain personal privacy
2. protect us by identifying terrorist threats and weapons

In reality, these scanners actually:
1. allow airport employees to copy and distribute naked pictures of anyone walking through them
2. can't identify threats or weapons inside the body, or on any Muslim who is allowed to bypass them (not that Muslims are a demographic worth watching, of course)

Sounds like a typical nanny state success story to me.

There's my two cents.

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