Body Scanners

The current technology, we know, displays a nude image of your person to a TSA agent. Engineers are working on a version of this technology that just provides an outline of the person, and an image of any objects that the scanner picks up. This presents an interesting question as to whether this fixes the civil liberties issue with this technology. The general court consensus on airport searches is that they are reasonable. Good argument to be made that electronic strip searches are unreasonable. But what happens if technology makes it such that it’s no longer a strip search?

I’m conflicted, because I would like to see TSA abolished and for us to return to the pre-911 security arrangement. But if technology can be used to make the security less obnoxious, without unduly prying into people lives or peeking through their clothing, I’d rather have a machine analyze my body image than be groped by a security agent.

11 Responses to “Body Scanners”

  1. Weer'd Beard says:

    This would be a valid discussion if the TSA actually STOPPED anything. They don’t, so IMHO they should be disbanded.

  2. boydk425 says:

    In addition to Weer’d Beard’s argument, of course, it’s a false dichotomy to say that the choices are having a machine analyze my body image or be groped by a security agent. We don’t -have- to choose between those two choices.

  3. Andrew C says:

    With current security arrangements, I don’t fly. I’m not going to choose between digital strip search and physical groping. If it’s a body outline showing only hard objects under my skin, I’d consider flying again. It’s still unconstitutional and inappropriate in my opinion, but feels like a violation of my property instead of a violation of my person. If they can’t see my body, I don’t see a difference from scanning my bag – assuming there are no lurking health risks from the scans.

  4. Countertop says:

    I fly. Alot. 65,000 miles on Delta so far this year. And all my trips originate or end in Washington, DC with a good 75% out of Reagan National – which I suspect has as tight a security operation as anywhere.

    I’ve seen TSA do dumb things (moving aside my hunting knife to pull the Elvis ’68 comeback special snowbound out of my carryon in Memphis takes the cake) but have never ever not once had a problem with security that even comes close to approach the outrage I read about daily.

    I’ve never been forced to go through the scanner, neve been groped, never been talked back to or treated rudely.

    But then again, i mostly mind my own business and dont make a scrne either

    Sorry folks, but I think (based on my considerable experience) much if this
    outrage is feigned or brought on by someone who was caught doing something and is looking for n excuse to get out of trouble.

    And on the Internet, at least, it always seems that the ones most outraged are the ones who don’t fly.

  5. Heather from AK says:

    Well the gropage just started this month, I believe, so you might get your chance yet, Countertop.

  6. irish red says:

    outlines don’t change the radiation aspect any

  7. Sebastian says:

    Yes.. but it’s a relatively minor amount of radiation.

  8. Reloader says:

    As an amputee with a oak walking stick, I will not fly. The temptation is too great to deposit the stick where the sun don’t shine if I am groped. There should be a class action suit initiated, if one has not been yet.

  9. Larry says:

    Here’s a suggestion that may help: Equal Justice Under Law

    When each TSA worker starts work at any checkpoint, they should be required to be scanned and have their scan printed 8×10 and posted on a bulletin board at the entrance to the scanner. This permits passengers who are about to be scanned access to same information about the agents as the agents are are given about the passengers.

    – If the scanners really are safe, the agents shouldn’t be concerned about undergoing frequent scans.

    – If the scans are not invasive, the agents shouldn’t be concerned about passengers seeing the results of their scans.

    – If a passenger, after viewing the agents’ scans decides that they would rather not be scanned, they can opt-out at that time.

    Similarly, after an agent performs a pat-down, that agent should be required to offer the passenger the opportunity to pat-down the agent. If the passenger is a child, the opportunity passes to the child’s parent.

    This represents a simple, cheap, and probably effective system of checks and balances.

  10. Wyatt Earp says:

    We need the scanners they had in Total Recall. Just skeletons and the weapons they may be concealing.

  11. Countertop says:


    Perhaps your right and I’ve just been lucky so far (I’ve flown twice since this crap started). Got to work today and our staff meeting descended into a discussion on how two different people got the full on pat down (one a very very very attractive nordic blonde 26 year old who couldn’t be nicer or more genuinely Minnesota, ie: not a terrorist).