Decision to Expand Full Body Screening Concerns Many Americans

In its ongoing efforts to terrorism, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is choosing to increase its most controversial screening method. The administrations carte blanche usage of this method, known as a full body screen, has many Americans in an uproar. The reason for the public’s indignation seems justified. Ranking first among the people’s concerns is its violation of privacy as well as its potential for health risks. There’s also some hesitation about its effectiveness when weighed against costs.

Health Risks?

First and foremost, many are concerned about the health risks associated with full body screens. In announcing its rollout the TSA claims that there are no health risks associated with the screens. Even so, common sense contradicts these claims. Depending on the type of machine used, these screens either send radiation or radio waves directly toward passenger’s bodies. Some experts claim these levels are too low to do any harm. The sticking point here is, there are no known risks now. How many times throughout history have we learned that something wasn’t safe after the fact? Many Americans would like to error on the side of safety and see if this technology is truly safe. 

Privacy Concerns

Americans take personal freedoms very seriously. We like to live life privately and unhindered. That’s why so many are upset that simply taking a plane trip could now result in a virtual strip search. Full body screen technology shows TSA staff very detailed images of areas underneath our clothes. No matter how discreet TSA agents claim to be, no one wants to be seen naked by any professional outside of the medical profession. What’s even more worrisome to some is the fact that the same government who is protecting us is putting passengers through this ordeal. 

Is it Worth it?

The final concern is whether or not all of this is worth it. At a price of $150,000 per unit, can we be sure that the machines will do a good enough job to justify the costs, delays, health problems, and privacy violations. It appears apparent to most that the scans will simply do a good job of scanning underneath our clothes but not in less obvious places that a trained terrorist is likely to hide a weapon. It seems that a better method would be to use the money available to beef up current screening methods. 

In its support of full body screen expansion, the United States government is simply making a knee jerk reaction to recent terrorist scares. By trying to appease the public and appear as though they are making big steps in monitoring practices, the TSA has simply stirred up a hornets’ nest. In short, it would be better for the agency to look inward and see what it could have done better in this last situation. Instead, they’ve opted to use it as a reason to add some new gadgets to its arsenal. 

 

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