“Virtual Strip Searches” [3:45 pm]
A very interesting exploration of a very weird concept — and a call for the kind of care about privacy that is needed in many more contexts that just this one: Invasion of the naked body scanners (Note that the NYTimes article cited in the piece can be found here — New Airport X-Rays Scan Bodies, Not Just Bags)
Are you up for this? Are you ready to get naked for your country?
This is no joke. The government needs to look under your clothes. [...]
The main stumbling block has been privacy. The ACLU and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have fought backscatters at every turn, calling them a “virtual strip search.” It’s a curious phrase. The purpose of a strip-search is the search. Stripping is just a means. Virtual inspections achieve the same end by other means. They don’t extend the practice of strip-searching. They abolish it.
[...] Hallowell volunteered for this notoriety. But what happened to her mustn’t happen to others. In the age of body scans, privacy means keeping your name, your face, and your nude image apart. That job doesn’t end at the security gate; it begins there. Will your scan leak? “Images will not be printed, stored or transmitted,” TSA swears on its Web site. Directly above that assurance, the agency has posted four nude picturesâ€””actual images shown to the Transportation Security Officer during the backscatter process.” And you thought airport screeners had no sense of humor.
Enough with the fairy tales. We lost our innocence when the planes hit the towers. Now we’re losing our modesty. If we’re going to be ogled, at least protect us from being Googled.