Full Body Scanners, Meet NYC Airports

Sometimes, it really is a gun in someone's "pocket," and nobody wants to touch that. So LaGuardia and JFK Airports are upping the security ante in the coming months with new $170,000 full-body scanning machines that X-ray or use radio waves to detect weapons on a 3-D screen, the New York Post reports. Implementation of such scanners has caused controversy nationwide, but so far, all the scans we've seen just look like the naked ghosts of an old, touristy Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation.

Like this one:

Still, not everyone enjoys these glamour shot sessions, and some claim they are a breach of personal privacy. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told the L.A. Times last January, "We don't need to look at naked eight-year-olds and grandmothers to secure airplanes," when talk of the scanners first erupted. Exactly, because terrorists can't just be anybody.

Reportedly, the system will be operated in a back room, far from the scanner, with Transportation Security Administration employees the only ones able to view the images. After a scan is complete, the air traveler's image will be deleted. The New York Times explained recently that the "machines provide a clear image of passengers under their clothes and are meant to find threats that existing metal detectors cannot, like ceramic knives and bomb components," while also protecting the "identity, modesty, and privacy of the passenger."

But Rep. Chaffetz is not so trusting: "This is in direct contradiction to multiple assurances that they could not capture nor would they store these images. Obviously, they have a capability of doing both, and the intention of doing both."

Still, would you rather save yourself from a few seconds of middle school-driven personal insecurity, or have a better chance at preventing airplane hijacks and getting to your destination safely?

This girl doesn't seem to mind:

[awerner@villagevoice.com]


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