Airport scanners reduce threats
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The latest thing in airport security is the full body scanner.
It will be a formidable force to fight against terrorism. This new technology takes a robotic image of fliers and shows security personnel exactly what a passenger may or may not be hiding.
It detects metallic and nonmetallic items, but at the same time, it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. As one of the privacy precautions, the
face on the scan is blurred out to protect the identity of the person.
The system is operated by two individuals: one is operating the scanner, while the other is in a separate room viewing the image. Once the passenger
is cleared and waved through, the picture is immediately deleted, and the worker viewing the photo never sees the flier.
Cameras, cell phones or any other device used to store information are not permitted in the room where the photos are being viewed. In fact, the only way an image could be saved is if the machine was in “test mode.” Airport
personnel do not have the ability to initiate test mode though, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
In light of the nation’s history with air attacks, one would think the public would be receptive to the new technology. But some people
believe the scanners are an invasion of privacy.
Fliers don’t like the idea of an image being taken that basically reveals everything about their physical shape.
To be honest, it is a bit of a privacy issue, and the TSA is taking the necessary steps to ease the minds of passengers.
However, the war on terror is constantly evolving and so should we. The scanners are for the greater good.
Just this Christmas, there was an attempt to detonate a bomb on Northwest Airlines Flight 253. It had the potential to rip a hole in the side of the plane, killing everyone on-board.
Luckily, the bomb was defective, and it didn’t ignite. But if he had gone through one of these scanners, the explosive that was sewn into his
underwear would have been detected.
Face it. This is the next step in airport security. The Netherlands and Nigeria are just a couple of other countries that are putting the scanners into use. Many more are soon to follow.
Right now about 19 airports in the U.S. have full body scanners, and TSA is
expecting to set up 150 more this year.
Most people just have the wrong idea and attitude toward the scanners. They’re meant to make fliers feel safe and not violated, to catch potential terrorists, not take risqué photos.
In order to keep passengers out of harm’s way, it’s necessary to get a little personal. If that leaves some people feeling a bit uncomfortable, so be
it. Feeling safer on the flight greatly outweighs the awkward feeling of being scanned.
Travelers do, however, have the option to decline the scan and get a pat-down from airport security, which can take two to four minutes.
The scan only takes seconds and does not involve a complete stranger putting their hands all over you. It’s easy to see which is the more uncomfortable of the two.