Thursday, December 14, 2006

TSA to Peep at Airline Passengers

The Transportation Security Administration is deploying a new scanner that uses "backscatter" x-ray technology to peer through clothing. Naturally this has caused an uproar because, well, truthfully I don't know why.

Frankly, I could care less.

Search for "backscatter" images using Google or Yahoo and you will likely find the one at left.

You'll have to hunt a while for it, too. At least I did when I looked for it.

Those opposing the scanners seem to be chiefly worried about pervy TSA workers getting off on the images they see with the scanner. I guess seeing something that vaguely resembles a naked person might give you a rise. But if I were a TSA worker, looking at 4,000 images like this over a shift would make me downright nauseated. And the woman pictured here actually rates pretty well compared to most of the passengers I see when flying.

Then, you have to consider what's really in the balance here. On one hand, you have some overly prudish people worried that someone else might briefly see their corporeal outline in freakish blue and purple tones, causing at most moment or two of embarassment. On the other hand, you have a very real possibility that someone will sneak weapons on to a plane and use them to hijack the plane or blow it up entirely.

Well, I put my safety above others' embarassment. That's just how it is. And if I were embarassed about my own body, I'd put that below their safety. Alternatively, if I really minded it, I'd take the train.

By the by, this is the ONLY remotely detailed backscatter pic I could find. Try searching for "x-ray beach" images and you will discovery that the pervs aren't working for TSA, they are hanging out at the local beach or YMCA using ordinary videocameras to take voyeuristic photos of unsuspecting teens. At least the airline passengers know when they are being peeped.

This story linked at Outside the Beltway.

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