I flew out of Atlanta, Georgia today. While waiting to go through the TSA checkpoint, I was directed into a special waiting line. The line was special for two reasons. The first was that it was about five times longer than the normal lines. The second was that instead of just having a metal detector at the end, it also had a new millimeter wave body scanner, which is part of the TSA’s Advanced Imaging Technology.
When I had gotten close to the scanners, I saw that a government agent was directing each person to either go through the metal detector or the body scanner. I loudly asked another TSA agent, the manager, if the second machine was “one of those nudo-scanners”. It laughed and said that the machine was a “nudo-scanner”. Then I turned to some teenage girls behind me and asked them if they were going to go through it. They stared at me blankly.
I loudly asked the manager if there was an alternative to going through the body scanner. It told me that I could choose get a pat down instead, an answer I received enthusiastically. Yet when it was my turn the manager signaled that I should be directed through the metal detector.
The manager smiled at me. It said, “next month we’re going to have a lot more of these things.” I replied, “Just don’t make them mandatory — I am rather fond of flying.”
Here is the example image of what a government agent sees when someone is scanned.
The TSA must have a good PR department, since they decided not to use scans of children in the example. Though, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a lawsuit to suspend use of body scanners anyway.
Update: Michelle Nemphos knows what it is like to have naked scans of her child created without her consent. Her story has been in the news recently, after the TSA scanned her 12 year old daughter. Michelle contacted us with the following:
It makes me sick what happened to our daughter. The ACLU felt the same way, but is unable to file a lawsuit.
I really feel like I don’t want this issue to drop just because the initial hype has subsided. I am trying to continue to bring awareness to people regarding the truth about these scanners. I have read the bipartisan senate bill that will make the scanners mandatory for every person flying in 2013, and there are several loopholes in it that will give the government cart blanch to invade our privacy even more than they already do. My next step is to contact the congress people and senators in my district.
Good luck Ms. Nemphos, you have our support.