I blogged about the Transportation Security Administration's invasive screening devices back in 2006, but they are in the news again because the technology is being deployed in even more airports.
The booths close around the passenger and emit "millimeter waves" that go through cloth to identify metal, plastics, ceramics, chemical materials and explosives, according to the TSA.
While it allows the security screeners -- looking at the images in a separate room -- to clearly see the passenger's sexual organs as well as other details of their bodies, the passenger's face is blurred, TSA said in a statement on its website. The scan only takes seconds and is to replace the physical pat-downs of people that is currently widespread in airports.
...The installation is picking up this month, with machines in place or planned for airports in Washington (Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington International), Dallas, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Miami and Detroit.
...The ACLU said in a statement that passengers expecting privacy underneath their clothing "should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies such as evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane."
Richard at All Spin Zone:
I’m sure that every one of the TSA security screeners at any given airport are dedicated, highly trained individuals. But I’ve seen some pretty creepy dudes (and dudettes) manning the checkpoints. There is no way - no way - that I want one of these folks randomly pulling me out of a line and checking out my, errrr, details. But I’m just a middle aged man, not remarkable in my appearance, so I wouldn’t expect to be pulled out of line to satisfy some pornophile security screener’s prurient curiosity.
But I can see it happening to a young, buxom woman. Or a strapping, physically ripped gentleman. And I can already hear the stories being told in the TSA screener breakroom.
~~~~~The following note was added by one of the Blend's contributors, Autumn Sandeen:~~~~~
These scanners mentioned above are real concerns for traveling male-to-female, pre-operative/non-operative transsexuals due in large part to a variation of the perpetrator discussion we've been having at PHB related to public restrooms.
Law enforcement officers are trained to look for things that are unusual and out of the ordinary -- when transgender people's outward appearance doesn't match the genitalia that's visible on a scanner screen, that will be out of the ordinary. Going back to September 04, 2003's DHS Advisory to Security Personnel:
Previous attacks underscore Al-Qaeda's ability to employ suicide bombers - a tactic which can be used against soft targets and VIP's. Terrorists will employ novel methods to artfully conceal suicide devices. Male bombers may dress as females in order to discourage scrutiny.
Male-to-female transgender people, under that model, are presumed to be perpetrators...terrorists. Given the perpetrator presupposition of the DHS's unrescinded memorandum, I know I'd be very concerned about having a genitalia related, airport backroom talk with government agents.