Virtual Strip Search
Coming soon to an airport near you
How do you feel about being strip-searched for no probable cause? I can guess you would not like it.
Well, how about being viewed through a screen, semi nude, by security agents using a see-through body scanner, again, for no probable cause? I am sure you would not like it either.
Last week (on 6/5/2008), USA Today reported:
"Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation's busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.
"The Transportation Security Administration recently started using body scans on randomly chosen airline passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and New York's Kennedy airport.
"Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month...
"The TSA says it protects privacy by blurring passengers' faces and deleting images right after viewing. Yet the images are detailed, clearly showing a person's gender...
"Passengers scanned in Baltimore said they did not know what the scanner did and were not told why they were directed into the booth...
"Passengers can decline to go through a scanner, but they will face a pat-down."
As you could imagine, groups worried about possible privacy and civil rights violations (such as the ACLU and CAIR) have expressed strong concerns about this new intrusive measure.
Excerpts from ACLU's statement:
"Body scanners produce graphic images of travelers’ bodies and are an assault on their essential dignity...Ultimately, we question whether the security value of these scanners is proportional to the cost to flyers’ dignity and privacy..."
Here is a sample image of a scanned person (My apologies for the explicit photo, but it is important to show the extent of the violation of privacy)
(Photo Source: ACLU)
More to come on this matter soon.
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html