If you read my blog postings semi-often, you know that I'm very, very critical of problems with airport security. Nicole Wong of the Boston Globe reported that Boston's Logan International Airport will become the next airport to implement full-body scanners (thanks for the link from the LiquidMatrix guys!) that can see through clothing to detect whether travelers are concealing objects. Nicole states:
The TSA plans to outfit the airport in October or November with more than one of these so-called whole-body imaging machines, which have raised privacy concerns where they have been tested. The scanners produce three-dimensional images of people's naked bodies, but the agency says procedures have been modified to protect passenger privacy.
The technology "allows us to screen passengers for any prohibited items quickly and unobtrusively," said George Naccara, the TSA's federal security director for Logan. "Efficiency and effectiveness will improve with whole-body imaging."
[See Video Here]
[Image courtesy of LeatherneckM31 blog]
My favorite part is where it says it has "been modified to protect passenger privacy". What does it do? Black out my naughty bits? You know, I went to Japan last October, and you can see all over the electronic district of Tokyo that the porn has the naughty bits blacked out. Funny, they still consider it porn. So, I guess I feel like even if this device blacks out peoples' naughty bits, it's still showing a naked picture of them.
George Naccara, the TSA's federal security director for Logan claims that the process is quick and unobtrusive. I challenge George then, if it's so unobtrusive, how about giving us a screenshot of yourself going through the scanner? Seriously, I don't really want that, but think it through before you make a claim like this.
Why don't they just cut to the chase and order full-blown strip searches?
The article continues:
"They've turned down the intensity a bit so some of the images under the clothes will be fuzzy," he said. "They've also remotely located the person viewing the images so that person can't associate the image with the passenger. We don't have any capability to store or to print any of these images."
Remotely located? Guess what that means... images sent over network. Hmm... funny, I seem to remember a story where I talked about the wireless networks by the security lines. Just a theory, but it's certainly possible. The madness continues:
The machines can detect nonmetallic objects hidden under clothing, such as explosives, and will replace pat downs of travelers who trigger a metal detector or are flagged as a "person of interest."
So, are they saying the current machines can't detect explosives? That's certainly how it reads. Also, it mentions it replaces patting people down. You know, maybe the people should have the choice, naked pictures streaming over networks, or a pat down?
The article continues, saying that passengers could refuse the scan, opting for a pat down, but I think we all know what this means. It's not simply refuse it and get patted down, it's refuse it and get a pat down and a nice hour long conversation with TSA officials (if not the police/FBI), and possibly a full body cavity search.
I'm not sure if I'm more upset about the ridiculous restrictions on toothpaste, deodorant, and bottles of water, or the invastion of privacy. Either way, I'm going to start taking Amtrak whenever I can.