Joking comments on a foreign TV talk show last Friday were either exaggerations designed to self-inflate a Bollywood star’s ego or they might signify — as an ACLU blogger sees it — that “the future is now.”
Civil libertarians have argued that if airports use full body scans on travelers, then it will eventually result in naked images of celebrities being released to the public.
After passing through a full body scan at a London airport, “My Name Is Khan” star Shahrukh Khan claims he was presented with a nude image of himself.
“I’m always stopped by the security, because of the name. And I think its okay: the western world is a little bit worried, paranoid and touchy, I guess — and feely when they’re frisking you,” Khan explained to BBC host Jonathan Ross.
“I was in London recently going through the airport and these new machines have come up, the body scans. You’ve got to see them. It makes you embarrassed — if you’re not well endowed,” said a blushing Khan. “You walk into the machine and everything — the whole outline of your body – comes out.”
The policy of the British government is to immediately discard the scans but — if this story is true — then apparently those instructions are not always followed.
When Khan emerged from the scanner he was approached by several young women. “They had these printouts. I looked at them. I thought they were some forms you had to fill. I said ‘give them to me’ – and you could see everything inside. So I autographed them for them,” he said.
The ACLU has called for a ban on reproducing the images. They insist that the law must provide for a way to victims to recover damages if the scans are released.
We admire Khan’s ability to make the best of a bad situation — recall his experience at Newark last year — but we doubt he is too happy about the government allowing perfect strangers to take and keep naked images of his body. All of this points to the need for laws that ban the copying and other misuse of these images as well as a legal right to recover damages if they are.
This video is from BBC’s Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, broadcast Feb. 5, 2010.