Homeland Security Wants More 'Naked Scanners'

Contributing Writer

Thanks to the Detroit-bound crotch bomber pretending to be a terrorist on Christmas Day, Homeland Security now wants to beef up security by installing more "naked scanners." It's either that, Homeland says, or getting a thorough "pat-down" before getting onto an airplane. Homeland, so it seems, would rather choose the former (and who can blame them--some people refuse to shower or use deodorant).

The problem with naked scanners, as the unofficial label obviously reveals, is that passengers are subject to digital strip searches of sorts, exposing areas best kept behind bedroom doors or within adult magazine covers. The Electronic Privacy Information Center is of course all over the possibility, literally stating that the whole-body imaging technology violates privacy rights. The group also claims that the devices "capture, record, and store detailed images of individuals undressed."

Currently the Transportation Security Administration has 40 full-body scanners installed in 19 airports nationwide: 6 use the machines for primary screenings, while the other 34 machines are used in 13 airports for follow-up searches. According to Wired, the TSA has forked over a $25 million contract to Rapiscan Security Systems this past October. The contract is for an additional 30 scanners.

The TSA is also ordering more backscatter x-ray scanners, devices that send out low-intensity beams. Apparently this type of device is excellent in imaging organic material. But despite what privacy advocates claim, the TSA naturally claims that there's no privacy issue. In fact, the agency said that the images could be pinned up in preschool classrooms. Thanks, but I'll just drive.