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25 Reasons To Reject Airport Full Body Scans
Note: Scroll down for
11/18/10 update or
By "Former Flier"
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It's sickening that many television
personalities have been so willing to violate the privacy of honest
Americans over fear due to the recent foiled terror attempt. On the matter
of full body scans, they are wrong, not to mention terribly shortsighted.
They have one - and ONLY one - supposed argument in favor of full body
scans; that is, such scans MAY make airline travel safer. But will it?
Certainly there is no guarantee that this will occur. Rather, it is their
"hope" or "belief" that this will result. But it is wrong - immoral even -
to subject innocent people to this degrading procedure.
The following are my 25 reasons to reject
these full-body scans...
1. These scans are a total violation of
privacy! (Have you seen the full body scan images on TV? You can see
everything, and I mean EVERYTHING!)
2. This procedure is immodest and will further
a sense of immodesty as people become accustomed to allowing strangers to
examine images of their body.
3. It is wrong to allow strangers who are not
doctors to examine images of your private parts and the private parts of
your family members. You wouldn't dream of allowing this to occur in any
4. The people who will be viewing every single
nook and cranny of your body are government employees. Think of that,
government agents viewing full body images of you. Did such privacy
violations even occur in Communist Russia on such a wide scale?
5. Most likely you won't be allowed to know,
see, or give your consent to the individual chosen by the government to
analyze your body scan from head to toe. You will not be given their resume
or information on their criminal record (if any) or about their mental
health or any past transgressions involving others' scans. For all you know,
the person who views images of your entire body and the entire bodies of
your loved ones will be a pervert. The person viewing the images will be
able to focus on any part of your body they want, free from any objection of
yours and with your knowledge & consent. (If you go through the scanners,
you are consenting to this.)
6. I wouldn't allow my 13 year-old daughter's
body to be viewed in the nude by a stranger - would you allow your
daughter's to be? So why would you allow a revealing full body scan of your
teenage daughter to be viewed by a stranger at the airport?
7. When this becomes widespread, EVERYONE who
flies will be subject to this invasion of privacy - be they minor,
grandparent, man, woman, priest, nun, or bishop. This is plain wrong.
8. When viewers of the full body images can't
make out certain details on their screen, people will be subject to even
more evasive, exploratory searches. Watch out if you have a safety pin,
underwire, fancy zipper, unique button, or unusual growth!
9. Americans are supposed to be
constitutionally protected from unreasonable searches. If revealing full
body scans of INNOCENT people who simply want to visit relatives doesn't
count as an unreasonable search, what does?
10. It is impossible for full body scans to be
a foolproof security measure. Obviously they are only as good as the
equipment and the (probably overworked) government employee viewing them.
Eventually something will get through. People aren't perfect.
11. Full body images will eventually be
stored. How would you like yours or your loved one's to turn up on the
Internet? It WILL happen sometime, somewhere, to someone, especially to
celebrities or "controversial" persons (e.g. pro-life activists). Do you
bring forth the argument that they aren't saving the images? Maybe they
aren't now, but after the first security breach, people will call for
storing body scan images to see "what went wrong".
12. There can be no guarantee that these full
body scans are safe. We often discover long after the fact that procedures
that were supposed to be "safe" were more dangerous than first thought. Just
recently, ubiquitous CT scans were shown to be much more dangerous than
previously believed. Ironically, although CT scans may be used to detect
cancer, they have been found to cause cancer in some patients. In contrast
to CT scans done with "meticulous care" in medical facilities, full body
scans in airports will be conducted by non-medical personnel on people in a
rush. Even though a different technology is used in airport scans vs. CT
scans, rushed patrons combined with non-medical government personnel in a
public setting is not an especially good combination for personal safety.
Plus, who will control any settings on the machines? Who will make sure all
emissions are always within proper limits? How often will the equipment be
tested for dangerous leaks? And what about the effect of these scans on
pregnant women and their babies? What about the cumulative effects of
exposure to this equipment on frequent fliers or airport personnel who will
be standing next to the machines for hours at a time, day in and day out?
The extent of the effects may be unknown for decades.
13. Some persons involved in the scanning
process may use the opportunity to harass people (e.g. subject them to more
searches, spend more time on "beautiful" bodies, force persons to engage in
immodest postures, etc.). Once people are in the scanner, airline ticket in
tow, with a booked hotel, car rental, and waiting relatives, most will
probably just consent to whatever they are told to do. They may not have the
will to complain or they may be embarrassed to do so. Even if they did, it
will be one person's word against another's.
14. On one hand, certain body images may tempt
some scan viewers to lust (Jesus says a person who looks at another person
with lust has committed adultery with the person in their heart). On the
other hand, body images of some persons will probably become the "butt of
screeners' jokes" (pun intended). The job of airport scanner has got to get
boring after a while and an unusual body shape here and there may provide
the employees with some "comic relief"
15. This practice will further a loss of
respect for the dignity of the human body, especially for operators who will
view nude images all day
16. Since these revealing scans put bodies on
display for strangers, they may be a violation of one's right over a
spouse's body. In fact, strangers viewing full body scans that expose every
crevice of someone's body may view more of that person's body than their own
17. Conducting full body scans won't solve the
terrorist threat. Terrorists will just get more creative - and we will keep
trying to play catch up - spending endless sums of money and giving up more
of our freedoms. Eventually they may require people to remove false teeth to
look for contraband or force us to strip nude, all for the "privilege" of
flying. If you think terrorists will just give up because we implement full
body scans, you're sadly mistaken.
18. Full body scans are just one more example
of the government punishing many good people for the crimes of a few bad
people. The good people will be hurt by lost freedom & violations of
privacy. The terrorists will be undeterred in their plans, and they will
probably be happy to see the disruption & harm they have caused the good
19. What effect do you think the revealing
full-body scans will have on rape survivors or others who have been
violated? Wouldn't it be reasonable for them to feel as though they've been
20. If we allow full body scans at airports,
we'll soon be forced to undergo them in other public places - schools,
office buildings, sporting events, and the like. In many places, the scans
will not be optional because people will not be allowed to avoid them. In
time, police may start carrying portable versions of the scanners when the
technology becomes available. Allowing this practice at airports is likely
to unleash a slew of new privacy violations against innocent Americans.
21. Full body scanning at airports may give
passengers a false sense of security. Recent events prove that it is
dangerous to be complacent with regard to airport security.
22. Full body scans are unnecessary and may be
overcome. We already have (non invasive) metal detectors in place for metal
objects. At this point, the most feared items may be powder or liquid. While
full body scans thoroughly expose the naked body to the gaze of the scan
viewer, it is questionable whether the machines will be able to clearly
indicate the presence of small amounts of powder or liquid, especially when
you factor in a creative terrorist. For example, how can the scanning
equipment differentiate stuffing in a jacket from stuffing plus powder? Talk
about looking for a needle in a haystack! And certainly even the zealous
airport workers may hesitate to make passengers cut open their jackets so
they can inspect the stuffing inside them.
23. Full body scans focus on the external part
of the body. They would not show items taken orally or other items hidden
internally (e.g. in feces). As drug enforcement agents might tell you,
criminal persons don't refrain from using such unsavory tactics if they
24. Full body scans are incapable of solving
the problem. Even if a terrorist is prevented from hiding items on their
person by a full body scan, they can still keep items in their bags (who
would question a prescription medicine bottle which appeared to contain real
pills or a sealed shampoo bottle which seemed to actually contain shampoo?).
The scans also won't prevent terrorists from recruiting insider employees
who can help them evade the procedure.
25. This practice will harm the airline
industry. Some people (myself included) will stop flying altogether. Costs
will go up to pay for the new equipment and the additional personnel
required to operate it. Airport delays will increase.
This is not a case of sacrificing "a bit of
privacy for the good of the many". This practice will bring harm to many -
in fact, all of us! Even if we don't fly, we should be concerned for our
bothers and sisters who do and who will either, unfortunately, agree to the
procedure or be involuntary pressured into it. And, as time goes by, this
precedent will spill into other areas and we will ALL suffer invasions of
our privacy because "new threats" have been found.
Let's not allow this to happen. Those who
support this practice have only one argument in their favor - that the scans
MAY make airline travel safer. But this is not the case. It will NOT be a
security panacea. Rather, it is a harmful and dangerous road that we should
not go down. God Himself made Adam & Eve garments after the fall. Let's not
allow the government to force us to "shed" ours.
Update To Article: "25 Reasons To Reject Airport Full
Author was 'prophetic'
It's been almost a year since I wrote "25
reasons to reject airport full body scans" (see above). The intervening
months have clearly vindicated me in my concerns & validated my
predictions. Did you see the image of the nun in her habit being
'groped' by an airport worker wearing a burqa as the nun stood
there helpless? Did you also hear about these reports in the news?...
* So much for claims that scan images
"cannot be stored or recorded" - it has been revealed that "tens of
thousands" of body scan images have been both stored and saved. Further,
one article reports that: "The Transportation Security Administration
has promised not to store or transmit nude images of airline passengers
made by whole-body scanners, but when it asked manufacturers to submit
bids for such machines, it required that the scanners have exactly those
capabilities, according to agency documents obtained in a lawsuit." The
machines may allow wireless transmission of the nude scan mages and the
nude images may also be saved to USB devices
* So much for the supposed "safety" of
scans - Experts have demonstrated that the scanners may pose a health
risk to all persons, but particularly to children & pregnant women, not
to mention frequent fliers. The radiation from scans apparently
concentrates on the skin and may result in skin cancer. It may also be
"20 times higher than first estimated". One agency report recommended
not screening pregnant woman and children, but you may never hear about
* So much for claims that the scans would
not be a "primary" means of screening. Not only are they being used as a
primary means of screening, but those who opt out may be "punished",
"treated as examples, or "treated like criminals". Even pregnant women
have been forced to go through the x-ray emitting scanners (some
discover later they could have opted for the humiliating - but safer for
the unborn child - 'pat down'). If you refuse the 'pat down' as well,
you can be ejected from the airport, and possibly even sued & fined
thousands of dollars! Apparently, travelers can't refuse to be fondled &
viewed naked after a certain part of the process has been started
without risking a lawsuit and fine (not to mention intimidation from
* Body scanners may be a boon to airport
thieves since persons being scanned may not be able to keep an eye on
their belongings. An increase in thefts has already been reported (one
article says "dozens of travelers...have had valuables stolen while
going through TSA screening checkpoints at JFK in just the past 8
months"). Stolen items may include cash, credit cards, identification,
boarding passes, wallets, keys, expensive jewelry, computers, hand held
electronics, carry on luggage, and prescription medication. Even if you
don't end up being a victim of identity theft or have your home
burglarized as a result of airport theft, just try continuing on your
trip without these items!
* Those who object to body scans, those
whose scan leaves airport workers with questions, those who can't
sufficiently lift their arms or spread their legs, those who tremble too
much during the scan, those who return false positives, and assorted
other travelers must now undergo a humiliating, offensive, degrading -
and certainly immodest - "enhanced pat-down" wherein a government worker
touches ("probes and pushes") one's breasts, thighs, buttocks, and
genitals ("head to toe, it does not miss an inch") either publicly or
privately. If the pat down is done privately, they may ask you to remove
all your clothes and there may be no witnesses. Even in public, however,
there has already been an allegation that a young woman's top was pulled
down and her chest was exposed in full view of the flying public.
Whether in public or private, the offensive procedure "seems designed to
drive you to the naked strip search machine", says one traveler. 'Pat
downs' may take a long time to complete and may be conducted in close
proximity to the scanning machines (forcing persons to stand near the
radiation emitting scanners for long periods of time). The delay may
also keep persons from their belongings for a long time (again,
incidents of theft have already increased). And don't forget that many
of those persons listed above will be forced to undergo both a nude body
scan AND an invasive 'pat down'
* Parents are now facing the dilemma
whether to force their children to be "radiated or molested". If they
opt for radiation, they allow strangers to view naked images of their
children, risk that their children suffer health effects, and possibly
find out later that nude images of their children have been saved and
are circulating online. If they opt for 'molestation' (the pat down),
they force their child to go through a traumatic experience (in public)
which is immodest, indecent, and invasive. The procedure makes some
children scream & cry and also risks confusing children regarding their
parents' instruction that strangers should not touch certain areas of
their body. How will a child know when it is "okay" to be touched or not
if their parents allow any old stranger at the airport to touch and
probe their private parts - in full view of the public?
* Naked body scan images are routinely
viewed by those of the opposite sex (who, by the way are free to "zoom"
in for a closer view of any area of your body). Intimate 'pat downs' may
be performed by homosexual males or lesbian women on persons of the same
* The scanners have already contributed to
sexual harassment at work. A female airport worker claims she was
"ogled" by a male worker after she "mistakenly strayed into the
scanner". A male worker got into a fight after being teased over the
size of his private parts. Yet these may be the types of "professionals" viewing nude pictures of passengers and their children
* Nude body scans and 'pat downs' have
completely removed all limits of propriety from the minds of many
passengers. Women have reportedly been asked by airport workers to look
down their underwear. The women apparently "dutifully" complied with the
request in the name of "security". Frequently less assertive than men,
women may be especially ripe for victimization at the hands of uniformed
airport personnel who insist they "must" physically see or inspect a
passengers' most intimate body parts in the name of "airport security".
Remember that good persons are generally taught to obey requests of "law
enforcement personnel" and many persons may be unaware of their rights
or be too afraid or timid to assert their rights
* There has already been talk that the
scans and pat downs don't go far enough since they cannot reveal
contents in men's private cavity or in females' two private cavities.
The future "solution" may be higher radiation levels or more invasive
body cavity searches
* Predictably, "attractive" women have
been "singled out" for scans. Husbands, parents, and the women
themselves are given no option to object
* So much for medical privacy - Various
marks on nude scan images (scars, implants, etc.) may result in
passengers being forced to reveal private medical information to
strangers in public. This information may further be repeated loudly
over walkie-talkies to persons viewing the images in remote locations.
Also, the scanners are said to reveal if a woman is on her menstrual
* So much for any form of privacy really -
Besides the obvious violation of personal privacy, the scan may also enable
airport workers to retain your nude image along with your medical
history information, your address, your name, your travel plans...
And despite the recent uproar over the scanners, many of your fellow travelers are,
unfortunately, still quite willing to
sacrifice your privacy and the privacy of your loved ones so they can
"feel safe" while flying, even though you were probably never a threat
to them to begin with. Won't someone scream: It is not me and my loved
ones who want to hurt you and you have no rights over my body! But
privacy rights in this country seem only operable when they permit
killing of the helpless unborn infants in their mothers' wombs. The
persons who are willing to sacrifice your privacy may claim that air
travel is optional. This is true to a point, but a man may be forced to
fly to support his family, and that may not be optional. Also, attending
to a far-away dying or deceased family member is hardly optional -
clearly there is not always a reasonable alternative to arrive on time
without airline travel. So, this is a rather unfair argument other
people make to sacrifice your right to privacy so they can "feel safe"
* Scans and other security procedures are
only as good as the personnel involved (clearly, some of these people
have been rude, insensitive...even 'horrible'). According to online reports, the
qualifications for certain airline workers who may 'grope' adults &
children and view their nude images are very low (they may not even need
a high school diploma). Some joke that it is a good job for unemployed
perverts. Even for healthy persons, it can be a desensitizing experience
to be 'immersed' in nude scan images. Although 'media celebrities' may
offer unqualified praise for airport workers (who are assuredly on their
best behavior when they encounter such celebrities), it seems clear that
some airport workers have not always acted properly when encountering
the general flying public. Also, difficult as it may be, airport workers
could have resigned rather than agree to 'grope' and x-ray innocent
adults & children
* Businesses in this country spend
countless sums of money trying to prevent sexual harassment at work, but
our government now spends billions of dollars 'sexually harassing
passengers in the name of security'. Travelers are forced to submit to
offensive, humiliating 'pat downs' and nude scans by strangers against
their will even though the same strangers would be arrested for
performing the same procedures on them against their will outside the
* Scans won't protect us from foreigners
who want to harm us since various countries - including Islamic
countries - have refused to use the scanners. If persons flying from these
areas arrive in this country, they will not have undergone a scan.
Likewise, Muslims living in this country try to avoid the scans.
Although it may drive the p.c. crowd into a frenzy, I can't help but
believe that a fair number of persons who are honest in their hearts
will likely feel more secure in a plane full of non-scanned non-Muslims
who had merely been observed by trained personnel & had gone through a
metal detector than in a plane full of fully scanned and patted down
Muslims in their garb. [Tip: If you work for NPR, don't admit to this
* Scans won't protect us from many risks,
as some have now admitted. Even the 'underwear bomber' may not have been
detected by the scans. Note that scanners may be incapable of detecting
plastic or liquid explosives. Risks also exist in luggage. A few months ago, a
USA Today article said that lithium-ion batteries may be the "next
threat to airline safety" - yet no one seems to be calling for a ban on
batteries in cell phones & laptop computers. Apparently these batteries
can "burst into flames" during travel. Despite the body scanning &
invasive 'pat downs', potentially explosive batteries are still be
allowed on planes without hindrance.
I believe I was somewhat "prophetic" in my
original article listing 25 reasons to reject body scans, however, there
is one area I seriously underestimated. In reason #20, I said...
"If we allow full body scans at airports,
we'll soon be forced to undergo them in other public places - schools,
office buildings, sporting events, and the like. In many places, the
scans will not be optional because people will not be allowed to avoid
them. In time, police may start carrying portable versions of the
scanners when the technology becomes available. Allowing this practice
at airports is likely to unleash a slew of new privacy violations
against innocent Americans."
Well, I was wrong to limit the first
sentence above to public places and the other sentence to police. A
report came out this year which revealed that, unbeknownst to many,
government agencies have already deployed a portable version of the full
body scanners in street roving vans in the U.S. The scanners "see
through clothes, cars, and even walls - bouncing x-rays off unknown &
unsuspecting persons (including pregnant women and the elderly) who
never consented to the scanning or to the saving of scanned images."
They do not even know it happened.
So what's left for Americans in terms of
privacy? Persons can be 'groped' by strangers in airports and even
viewed 'naked' in the 'privacy' of their own homes by government workers
in street roving vans emitting x-rays. Pretty much everything that is
done online leaves a trail. When outdoors, it seems we are recorded by
the state on every street corner in the nation. And this is in a country where we
are supposed to have a right to privacy and be protected from
unreasonable searches. Since when does a "free" nation force law abiding
citizens to appear naked before strangers and have their genitals
fondled by these strangers for the 'privilege' of getting to a desired
I think this invasion of privacy is
demonic. It not only risks harming us physically (via the x-rays), but
also makes us further lose our sense of modesty and propriety - and it
therefore poses a threat to our souls. Like I said before, nude body
scans will NOT be a security panacea. It is a harmful and dangerous road
that we should not have gone down. God Himself made Adam & Eve garments
after the fall. We should not allow the government to force us to "shed"
Please consider joining me in refusing to
fly and prohibiting your children from flying. This commitment may spare
yourself and your children from possible physical harm, trauma &
embarrassment, loss of privacy, theft of property, victimization of your
person, and even danger to your soul. Decades down the road, won't you
be glad you preserved your modesty & privacy and avoided risks to your
health? You might also discover joy in long car rides with your family
and in making use of alternate forms of transportation (e.g. trains).
And if you choose not to protest this
invasion of privacy, are you not essentially aiding society in
continuing down this path? Can you not see where this will lead if
people don't stand up and protest? Please don't voluntarily relinquish
hard won freedoms that many Americans have lost their lives to secure.
In the long run, losing these freedoms will serve only to harm the
innocent - threatening our health, privacy, and even our souls - yet who
doubts that those determined to hurt us can't find a way around our
'security' procedures? So who are these procedures really harming?
By "Former Flier"
+ + +
"Then the eyes of both of them were
opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves
together and made loincloths for themselves." (Gen. 3:7)
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