Over at The Daily Beast, I argue that TSA should be more explicit about the obvious fact that passengers are responsible for their own safety once they’re aboard a commercial flight. Since it’s a related subject, I want to address the controversy about full body scan machines.
…the technology has raised significant concerns among privacy watchdogs because it can show the body’s contours with embarrassing clarity. Those fears have slowed the introduction of the machines.
Jay Stanley, public education director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Technology and Liberty Program, said the machines essentially perform “virtual strip searches that see through your clothing and reveal the size and shape of your body.”
In a world of ceramic knives and plastic explosives, these machines make a lot more sense than the current system of metal detectors, and I must say that I’m unsympathetic to the argument that they’ll prove to embarrassing for people who bashful about the size or shape of their body parts. Get over it! That some anonymous TSA employee sees an x-ray image of your body for 15 seconds, in a stream of hundreds of other people everyday, will have not the slightest impact on your life, whereas every alternative is either significantly less safe or significantly more burdensome and time consuming.
Admittedly, I’m an outlier here: my hatred for lines is such that I’d gladly walk a gauntlet of TSA employees completely naked were it offered as a speedy alternative to arriving at the airport two hours early and standing in line for 45 awful minutes. But don’t the people who are apparently uncomfortable with this get checkups at the doctor? Didn’t they take showers after gym class? Shouldn’t ‘t be far easier for the modest person to stay dressed while passing through a scanner being viewed by a TSA employee they’ll likely never see again? So long as faux-nudity isn’t irrationally fetishized, I don’t understand what the big deal is here.