January 7, 2010

Boycott Airport Bodyscanners?

Say “Cheese!”

Violate Privacy or Protect against Terrorism? Is there a Middle Way?

Update: Judging by this Reuters video, seems there’s no violation. But this video really seems to show more detail being exposed.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Ben Franklin.

Airport Body Scanners, already getting installed, are being touted as a reasonably un-invasive means to virtually strip search airline passengers. But there’s fears they’re radioactive, that they “tear apart” DNA, and that they’re a bit…perverse—showing private parts and ghostly naked bodies.

Excerpt and image below via Bild:


The German government is seriously considering installing the machines following the US attack, which saw Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab try to blow up a plane with explosives he had smuggled on board in his underwear.

Although he failed when other passengers overpowered him, experts say the scanners would help prevent a repeat by identifying hidden weapons and explosives.

How does the scanner work?

With the best-known model, passengers are flooded with microwaves which are reflected by the body and then analysed to produce a pale image.

A scan – which produces a low humming – takes about six seconds and an analysis can be made in 30 seconds.

How intimate are the pictures?

Security advisor Hans-Detlef Dau (54, Hamburg), who sells the scanner, said: “Unlike with a complete X-ray examination, the rays do not go deeply under the skin. They see only the things which lie over it, so bladed weapons and firearms as well as ceramics.

“Beyond that, they show intimate piercings, catheters and the form of breasts and penises.

“But newer devices can automatically distort intimate areas in the picture.”

What remains hidden?

Dau added: “Things which lie under the skin cannot be seen.

“So for instance implants, cardiac pacemakers, artificial joints, tumours, tampons or coils.

“Scars are at most difficult to recognise, tattoos cannot be at all.”

Pregnancy cannot be recognised either...for the rest, go to Bild, it’s a good summation.

So, they’re an invasion of our privacy. But privacy is a sacrifice we have to make in times of war, right?

“He who trades liberty for security deserves neither, and will lose both.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

It’s a tough balance: fight terrorism? Protect our freedoms, our rights? Can we do both?

If only we had Superman (or Superboy) to protect us.

The Boycott Bodyscanners group says:

Please sign the International Boycott of Body Scanners (IBBS) http://www.petitiononline.com/IBBS/petition.html



With thanks for the heads up on the Facebook boycott group (photoshopped photos, below) to Evan Ravitz.
“A group of ppl book a cheap flight. like a $99 Jet Blue. Then when we are about to go thru the body scanners refuse.. take off all of our clothes and unfurl a soft material banner and hold it up for a cameraman stationed nearby who will film to catch airport security reactions etc. This is a bold protest, and possibly dangerous. But a stunt like this will garner national attention. Especially if we can get groups to do it all over the country.”
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