Monday, March 8, 2010

Newsy: Full Body Scanners: Safety vs. Privacy

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Looks like modesty is not the best policy when flying. Full body scanners are coming to an airport near you and they see everything. The TSA announced nine more U.S. airports are getting the scanners for better security. But critics are quick to point out its not foolproof. 
On CNN, a TSA official says the system isn't perfect but its an improvement: "Our offices are identifying objects on the body that are comparable to what that threat was.
-Every time? 
-Our officers are doing a very good job.
-Every time? 
-I'd have to get back to you."

But privacy watchdogs say passengers would rather not bare all for the scanners. On PBS a congressman from Utah argues the x-rays are not only invasive but unnecessary:  "We don't need to look at naked 8-year-olds and grandmothers to secure airplanes. Are we really going to subject 2 million people per day to that? I think it's a false argument to say we have to give up all of our personal privacy in order to have security."

For many Americans, the value of safety heavily outweighs the right to privacy. CBS2 in New York talked to a passenger who says that after recent terrorist attempts, fliers cant afford to be shy:  "We're already checked all the way up and down, so what's one more thing really? I think we've seen already that what we're doing is not enough. "

But for Muslims looking to travel, the scanners could make for some indecent exposure. One of the groups concerned, The Fiqh Council of North America, urged Muslims to boycott the scanners: "It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women. Islam highly emphasizes modesty and considers it part of faith." 

With terror tactics continually evolving, On MSNBC, a representative for the ACLU warns we should be cautious on giving up our privacy for the governments latest toy: "The idea that we should just trust the government and there's some magic bullet out there that will protect everything isn't true." "Let's invest in technology that doesn't have this huge privacy impact." "They need to do that rather than  throwing money at new technology that is completely unproven and may not solve the problems we are facing today. "

So what do you think of full body scanners? Are they an invasion of privacy?

Writer: Marlena Kopacz


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