Essay about Airport Body Scanners and Personal Privacy

Words: 1811
Pages: 8

Airport Body Scanners and Personal Privacy Believe it or not, there was a time when passengers showed up an hour before their flights and walked directly to their assigned gates without taking off their shoes at a security screening station or throwing away their bottles of water. There was even a time when friends and family met passengers at the gate and watch their flights take off or land without having a ticket or identification…and that was only ten years ago. Air travel safety precautions changed dramatically after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that targeted passenger planes in the United States and killed well over 1,000 people. Precautions continue to evolve as new threats are detected and passengers are now concerned …show more content…
The passenger may then continue through the security process.” (2010). The images are not stored; they are deleted after being viewed. “Advanced imaging technology cannot store, print, transmit or save the image, and the image is automatically deleted from the system after it is cleared by the remotely located security officer. Officers evaluating images are not permitted to take cameras, cell phones or photo-enabled devices into the resolution room.” (Privacy 2010). Also, in many cases, the scanners have a special feature that blurs faces so distinguishing facial characteristics are not seen. “To further protect passenger privacy, millimeter wave technology blurs all facial features and backscatter technology has an algorithm applied to the entire image,” (Privacy 2010).
Privacy measures have also been taken with the pat-downs. Passengers have the right to request a private area for the pat-downs, out of view from other passengers. The TSA Pat-Down procedure states, “You have the right to request the pat-down be conducted in a private room and you have the right to have the pat-down witnessed by a person of your choice. All pat-downs are only conducted by same-gender officers. The officer will explain the pat-down process before and during the pat-down.” (2010). While officials are unable to do anything about the intrusive nature of the pat-down, the TSA says, “Pat-downs are one important tool to help TSA detect