Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Ban Whole Body Imaging

radar image of naked woman

Congressman Jason Chaffetz has introduced legislation seeking a ban on Whole-Body Imaging machines installed by the Transportation Security Administration in various airports across America. Describing the method as unnecessary to securing an airplane, Congressman Chaffetz stated that the new law was to “balance the dual virtues of safety and privacy.” The TSA recently announced plans to make the scanners, which capture a detailed picture of travelers stripped naked, the default screening device at all airport security checkpoints. Whole Body imaging (Backscatter X-Ray) technology was introduced as a tool for screening some air travelers.

Read “Congressman Seeks End of Whole Body Imaging at Airports” for the links.

These scanners won’t make us more secure. Our wallets and our dignity can’t afford these scanners. Kudos to Congressman Chaffetz.

As an aside, searching for this image (which we’ve used before) required turning off Google’s “SafeSearch.” If Google won’t show that image, why should you be forced to pose for it?

Previously: “TSA to Look Through Your Clothes” and “TSA Violates Your Privacy, Ties themselves in Little Knot of Lies

3 comments on "Ban Whole Body Imaging"

  • Chris says:

    Chaffetz may have done something sensible in this instance, but he’s not exactly a defender of privacy rights. The D.C. city council took a vote to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states, and the honorable Mr. Chaffetz (a Utah Republican) was quoted in the Post thusly:
    “Some things are worth fighting for, and this is one of them,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), the ranking Republican on a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the District. “It’s not something I can let go softly into the night. . . . I recognize the Democrats are in the majority, but I represent the majority of Americans on this issue.”
    As a matter of fact, he is dead wrong. The majority of Americans support marriage equality. In any case, equality before the law is not something about which a plebiscite needs to be conducted.

  • Andy says:

    Well done Jason Chaffetz — on both counts!

  • allan says:

    It seems to me that this needs to be Bork’d.
    Recall that the leak of Judge Bork’s video rental record revealed little of prurient value, but congress panicked for fear of their own privacy.[1] We need to find an intrepid reporter who will spread the rumor that they have images from the whole-body scanning machines of a few key party leaders. Make it convincing–find out what airports they’ve tested it in and choose from those districts.
    It seems that we’d get a hearing on this fairly quickly.
    [1] Unfortunately, this strategy is less useful today for large databases like medical records because it’s easier to set up a celebrity-based access control system than an real one.

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