Friday, January 25, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #92 - Part 2

Good news: "Strip scanners" are going away

A quick bit of good news: Those airport scanners with their all-too revealing body images, the ones dubbed "strip scanners," are going bye-bye.

The Transportation Security Administration says the scanners will be gone by June.

The idea behind them was that by using them security workers could spot hidden objects, including both metallic ones like guns and non-metallic ones like plastic explosives. The problem was, they also showed everything else you normally want to keep secret.

In the wake of persistent and large-scale complaints about invasions of privacy and a number of occasions when women passengers were told things like, as one was told, that she needed to be scanned more than once because she had "a cute figure," the feds told the two companies providing the machines that they had to fix them. One was able to change its software so that it now produces only a generic outline as an image. Its machines are staying. The other was not able to fix the privacy issues. Its machines are going.

So, one small victory for privacy. Unfortunately, the overall record on that particular issue is still well into the negative, which is a topic I need to spend more time on very soon.


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