New Airport Full-Body Scans: Addresses Privacy Concerns, or Still Worrisome?

The Boston Globe reports that the Transportation Security Administration unveiled new body scanners that show less details to TSA screeners. Does this cool the debate over the scanners, or are they still worrisome?

When full-body scanners at airports became prevalent at airports in recent years, it stoked a debate over whether the scanners are too invasive.

Yesterday, however, the Boston Globe reported that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) unveiled new body scanners that show less details to TSA screeners. Instead of detailed images viewed in a private room by security personnel, the scanners initially only produce generic outlines of passengers, while still picking up on weapons or suspicious objects on a would-be traveller's body. 

When full-body scans were introduced, some protested that the images were too intrusive and that the scans themselves would be ineffective because they would not detect "low-density" materials like plastics, chemicals and liquids. Others argued over health risks. Passengers were not required to go through the full-body scanners and could opt out for a pat-down.

Those in favor of the scanners argued that they reveal metallic and non-metallic items, are less instrusive and more effective than pat-downs, and that they do not produce naked images of travellers—a concern seemingly rendered moot by the new scanners, which use electromagnetic waves instead of X-rays.

With yesterday's announcement by the TSA, we want to know: Has your opinion of full-body scanners at the airport changed? Did you opt-out before and won't anymore, or do you still have concerns over the full-body scans? Or did you not have any problem with the scanners in the first place? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Charles St. Meow November 20, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Melissa, you're kidding yourself if you think that the TSA doesn't profile passengers.
sean November 20, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I say, we can't do anything about it.... So why complain about it! just opt out of flying. There are other means of transportation. Train, car, bus, boat.
paul surette November 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
to Mplo, would you rather be slightly inconvenienced and breathing, or dead? Seems to me the choices are pretty clear. I long for the day when people stop their whining about airports. Go live in Tel Aviv, then tell me how bad you really have it here! Jesus
Melissa Gleaton November 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Again, no one should feel secure when they are not screening EVERYONE at ALL US airports uniformly. And if they ever were to implement that, it would be more than a "slight" inconvenience.
Joe Veno November 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Melissa, What airports are they not screening everyone at? I have not heard this.
Melissa Gleaton November 21, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I wore the same outfit flying out of boston and then flying home from washington dc. In Boston, I went through the scanner and on my way. In Washington, I went through the scanner and was patted down because my clothes were "too baggy". Who makes that decision? How can it be evenly applied?
peter lucci November 21, 2012 at 01:07 AM
How are you doing Joe? Have you gotten over your prediction of a GOP sweep?
paul surette November 21, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Melissa, you HAVE travel choices. If you don't like the screenings at the airport, then I suggest you take a train, or drive. After 911, we live in a different world now, so you're going to need to adapt, and stop complaining. Jesus!
Joe Veno November 21, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Melissa, That does not answer my question. You stated all airports are not screening everyone. I asked which airports are not screening everyone. Because you were patted down in one airport and not in the other does not mean they are not screening everyone. You still went throgh the metal detector in both airports correct?
david mokal November 21, 2012 at 02:11 AM
@Mike.. Do they have trains and busses that go across the Atlantic to Europe? I must have missed somthin?
paul surette November 21, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Mike, agreed noticed, and Polaroid taken :)
mplo January 10, 2013 at 04:14 PM
The United States has acted extremely stupidly regarding security since 9/11. We are not Israel, and Israel isn't the United States. Israel has had to beef up their security at airports/airliners for a reason. The United States has had no such reason for that, and I'll also add that, as much as I, too love the United States (which is my homeland and place of being born and raised.), I can still criticize what my government does and speak out when it acts irresponsibly, which, unfortunately, even now, it does most of the time. This is a good example. It won't make us any safer. If you think it will, you're kidding yourself, imho.
Bob January 10, 2013 at 06:19 PM
mplo - exactly what the assault weapons ban will do. Won't make anyone safer but the nanny state can say they did something. Israel profiles but they do so with agent throughout the terminals not at the gates. They make eye contact and if they suspect something they go and start a conversation. If you are fidgeting and nervous they ask questions. Very affective, less costly and much less restrictive.
Bob January 10, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Really Paul? Are you that much of a lamb that you give all your freedoms to Uncle Sam and accept what ever they say? Jesus in deed!
mplo January 13, 2013 at 04:09 PM
It'll get to be more than a "slight inconvenience" when they start randomly searching, screening and scanning everybody who gets on an airliner at any airport. Also, unlike the United States, Israel is a very small country, and, unlike the U. S. A., they've had very serious security problems, so suggesting that I go and live in Tel Aviv is irrelevant, as far as I'm concerned.
Donald Mei January 14, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Paul, I bet you happily comply with DUI and VIPR checkpoints also. After all, its for the children.
paul surette January 14, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Lol, Donald Mei.....I have been subjected to TWO police checkpoints...twice I was told I needed to comply with a search. Twice I had to recite what the Supreme Court said about 'reasonable & warantless ' searches. I am THE last guy to comply with anything. Nice try, cupcake! I submitted to NOTHING, and walked away with my rights STILL intact! And your welcome! You've been served, sir!
david mokal January 14, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Most of your TSA workers are politially put in in which many are Perves. They love that job cause they get to see what you own. Wear lead undies.
david mokal January 14, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Geesh Paul they must have been broken hearted. They didnt get to look at your Thingy. Now an old geezer like me would have eaten a box of prunes and when I had to bend over I would have crapped on them. FUN !! :>)
david mokal January 14, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Why..Why..Why everytime Evil Hits us we all have to suffer and change our lives. Never fails. To travel we have to have strange people look into our bodies who never had any background checks. Why because we are they prey for the Government. The easy way out. Country runs out of money? Lets grab the Geezers paychecks their gonna die anyway. City,Feds,State all the same. They all have licences to steal from we the Americans. Not me Ive had enough X Rays from medical reasons Im not standing in front of no machine so some perve can look at my MoJo for anyone. Boycott the airlines. Train ..Bus..Taxi..Hitchike..Automobile Freighter...
mplo February 12, 2013 at 05:55 PM
That's absolutely and totally beyond stupid, Dave! You're willing to give up your liberty for a modicum of supposed safety and security? That's a bunch of BS, imho. Why should people be profiled indiscriminately when they get on any form of long-distance public transportation? They shouldn't, and such a policy would make already-bad situations worse, not better.
mplo February 12, 2013 at 07:37 PM
The fact that they've implemented such screenings in many places here in the United States is strongly indicative of a third-world mentality, not the other way around.
paul surette February 13, 2013 at 01:16 AM
MIke, where do people like mplo come from?
paul surette February 13, 2013 at 01:17 AM
I think the TSA should just search Diana....then maybe they will find my hot apple pie :(
paul surette February 13, 2013 at 01:20 AM
I'm sorry, Mr. Mokal...but that last post has to be the most convoluted remark you've made to date.
Donald Mei February 13, 2013 at 02:50 PM
All of this screening might be more tolerable if it weren't for the fact that it doesn't do any good. Does anyone really think terrorists are going to try to sneak stuff through security? Why would they when one of them could simply get a job working at the airport and plant weapons and explosives on the aircraft for the others to use. Or simply put a remote controlled or altitude controlled bomb in checked luggage. They are not stupid. They know that if they try to take over an aircraft, it will nto be the same as on 9/11. People will not comply. We complied on 9/11 because 40 years of hijacking experience showed that if you did what they said, the plane would fly somewhere then everyone would get off. 9/11 was a fundamental shift. Experience then has shown that people will challenge hijackers. Weapons being smuggled onboard carry on luggage or on someone's person will not be how the next terrorist act against aircraft is done. Shoot - look at the huge lines queued up waiting to get through security. The lines themselves are attractive targets.
paul surette February 13, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Again, Donald.....quite simply, don't fly! Then your problem is solved. Now quit your whining!
paul surette February 13, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Donald, Reynolds Wrap called....they said your tin foil hat is ready to be picked up :)
EL Landers February 13, 2013 at 11:46 PM
One can't always just NOT fly. In an emergency, in order to get there in a timely manner, one often HAS to. It's not really a choice. I just love when someone says there's a choice....just don't fly. They obviously have never faced an emergency where one absolutely has to fly. Donald is right. I'm familiar with Logan Airport and there are dozens of other ways someone can get nearly anything through security.
quasimodo February 14, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Like always, it’s all about money, and these controversial x-ray scanners are apparently here to stay! Back in Oct, 2012, TSA signed a $245 million contract with American Sciences & Engineering (AS&E), although, at present, the TSA has about 250 mothballed such machines, which cost the government $40 million. It now intends to have these machines installed in federal government buildings in order to justify their being purchased. At the same time, these x-ray scanners being removed from major airports are being moved to smaller airports all over the country. The fact remain that the probability of dying in a terrorist attack is the same as the probability of getting cancer when passing through the x-ray scanner just one time.


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