There are a handful of the so-called full body scanners in the nation’s airports, and according to the Washington Post, we can expect to see another 150 scanners in airports across the country in the next few months.
In the meantime, we’ve heard every kind of dire predition about their use from, “My naked body will end up on YouTube” to “Could this be used as kiddie porn?”
Let’s look at the myths — and lay out the facts about people’s fears.
Myth #1 — You Must Submit to a Body Scan
False. This techonology is optional for everyone. If you decline to submit, however, you will undergo a pat-down procedure (and according the the TSA, most prefer the scan).
Myth #2 — Everyone Will See Me Naked
False. First of all, facial features are blurred, so chances are no one could connect you to your scan image. Second, the TSA screener who actually sees the scan picture is “remotely located” in a separate room and never sees the actual passenger being screened; likewise, the TSA officer assisting the passenger never sees the scan picture.
Keep reading — we have more body scan myths to bust…
Myth #3 — My Naked Body Will Turn Up on YouTube
Unlikely. According to the TSA, the officers who see the images in that separate room are not allowed to have cameras, cell phones, or anything that can take a picture. Also, “each image is automatically deleted from the system after it is cleared by the remotely located security officer.” By the way, I just did a quick scan of YouTube, looking for body scan pictures and found nothing.
Myth #4 — Body Scans of Children are Illegal
Unclear, in the UK. According to the Guardian, a children’s rights group claims the scans violate the British “Protection of Children Act” which makes it illegal to create an “indecent” image of a child. Government officials have not said exactly what passengers will undergo the scans. In the U.S., scans are optional (see Myth #1).
Myth #5 — Scan Pictures Might Inflame Viewers
Unlikely. True, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but as a former Dept. of Homeland Security official told CBS news, body scan pictures are not the kind of thing “that is going to make a thirteen year old boy very excited.”
Myth #6 — Body Scans will Solve All Our Security Problems
False. No technology is foolproof and people who wish to do harm are inventive — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use all the tools at our disposal.