Thursday, July 10, 2008


Airport Fun

If you have traveled recently , you will notice that some airports have installed a new security contraption. I first saw one of these when I visited Toronto a few years ago and went to the CN Tower. You have to love the vague descriptions given when asking “ What is that?”

I stood , watching other visitors walk into what looked like an open space craft of some sort, while sounds of high pressured air hissed from several valves attached to this device.

“It’s a body scanning machine.”

“What does it do?”

“ It checks for explosive residue. Please proceed madam’ just step in and pass through to the other side.”
I never gave it another thought. I figured it’s safe, and if it’s just ensuring that people can’t take explosives into the tower, it’s a good thing, right?

Now, in the past year or so, I’ve seen these machines at various airports. Great idea. It’s a perfect device to assist the security process at the airports. Random travelers are asked to pass through and off they go. BUT.. they actually scan the body and show images of people underneath their clothing. Now I don’t have to focus on setting off the security alarm in the metal detectors with my underwire bra, hoping to pass through without having to rip it off, hand it to the agent and then “bounce” back through.

A TSA screener in a nearby room views the black-and-white image and looks for objects on a screen that are shaded differently from the body. Finding a suspicious object, a screener radios a colleague at the checkpoint to search the passenger.
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. There’s been talk that other details are visible, such as sweat on a person’s back. Ok.. I really don’t have a problem with all the efforts put forth to ensure my security while onboard an aircraft. I’ve been listening to the radio, television and some conversations with people who find this to be an invasion of privacy. Jokingly, the radio host says

“Oh great, I’ll look for my ass to appear on Youtube.”

And the females on the radio show chime in with “ Shit, now we need to select great underwear for travel.”

Callers on the air complain that this is absurd. They don’t think it’s right to be scanned and have their body image being recorded to a disc. Mind you, I think I’d be more offended by not being selected. Think about it. You have your regular security line. The TSA agents all carry two way radios. You just know there are some agents in a back room, watching the line and sending their “Random” selections to the gate , hand picking the ones they wish to “view” .. so what I want to know is.. WHY NOT ME!!!!!